Blog of Rights

ACLU at DEFCON 20!

By Ateqah Khaki at 5:04pm

The ACLU will be out in force at DEFCON – one of the largest annual hacker conventions in the country – later this week and weekend! 

We will have a table at the vendor area all weekend (with super awesome ACLU t-shirts for anyone who signs up to become a member!). In addition to trying our hardest not to end of up on the Wall of Sheep, here’s a rundown of what we’ll be up to in Las Vegas.

Can You Track Me Now? Government And Corporate Surveillance Of Mobile Geo-Location Data

Friday, July 27, 2012, 11:00 a.m. 

Our mobile phones and apps systematically collect and store comprehensive historical lists of our locations and our travels. Advertising and marketing companies extract and interpret these lists for use in their information-gathering networks, effectively turning our phones into 24/7 location tracking devices. Because this information is readily available to the government, law enforcement agencies now have unparalleled access to knowledge of where you are, where you've been, and through inference, who you are.

In this panel, tech experts Christopher Soghoian and Ashkan Soltani, alongside Catherine Crump, staff attorney with the ACLU's Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology, will present a briefing on the current technological and legal landscape of location data tracking. The panelists will explore how consumer location tracking efforts weave a story about the systemic privacy vulnerabilities of smart phones and the legal ways in which law enforcement has been able to hitch a ride. The panel will be moderated by the Director of the ACLU's Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology, Ben Wizner

 

Bad (and Sometimes Good) Tech Policy: It's Not Just a DC Thing

Saturday, July 28, 2012, 1:00 p.m. 

Efforts at the federal level to pass laws like SOPA and CISPA and require that tech companies build backdoors into their services for law enforcement use have attracted widespread attention and criticism, and rightly so. But DC is far from the only place that officials are making decisions that impact the privacy and free speech rights of tech users. State and local officials are jumping into the fray as well, passing laws or creating policies that have immediate impact without the spotlight that accompanies federal action.

In this talk, Chris Conley, Technology and Civil Liberties Policy Attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, will survey several areas where state and local officials have recently been active, including warrantless location tracking, searches of student and employee devices and online accounts, automated license plate recognition, and DNA collection. The talk will highlight some of the best and worst policies coming from state and local officials in an effort to convince attendees that keeping an eye on and helping to educate local law enforcement and state legislatures may be just as important as protecting your freedoms at the national level.

 

Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains: The National Security Agency and the Constitution

Saturday, July 28, 2012, 2:00 p.m. 

The National Security Agency, the largest, most powerful spy agency in the world, has taken in an estimated 15 to 20 trillion communications since 9/11, often in defiance of the Constitution and Congressional statutes. The NSA’s goal, some say, is to collect virtually all of our electronic communications to allow mass data mining reminiscent of the notorious and now reportedly-defunct program, Total Information Awareness. The limits on the agency’s authority to sweep up and analyze this information are critical to our safety and our privacy. The NSA is investing vast amounts in increasing its data storage, code-breaking and analysis capabilities, frequently claiming the investments are for foreign intelligence or “cybersecurity” purposes. However, instead of keeping its equipment trained on terrorism suspects or foreign governments, the NSA is increasingly monitoring the communications of innocent people. Longtime NSA official and whistleblower Bill Binney will join investigative journalist and NSA expert James Bamford and ACLU lawyer Alex Abdo to explore the NSA’s goals, reach, and capabilities, and the legality (or illegality) of its actions. The panel will be moderated by the Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, Jameel Jaffer.

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