Blog of Rights

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (12/16/2011)

By Caitlin O'Neill, Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Associate, ACLU of Northern California at 5:18pm

In the digital age that we live in today, we are constantly exposing our personal information online. From using cell phones and GPS devices to online shopping and sending e-mail, the things we do and say online leave behind ever-growing trails of personal information. The ACLU believes that Americans shouldn’t have to choose between using new technology and keeping control of your private information. Each week, we feature some of the most interesting news related to technology and civil liberties that we’ve spotted from the previous week.

Prep for Facebook's Timeline Layout: 6 Must-Do Privacy Tweaks [PC World]
“If Timeline's debut has you wondering whether you can hide the embarrassing bits of your Facebook life before your new profile goes live, the good news is you can.”
See also: Your Life on Facebook, in Total Recall

Civil liberties group calls for privacy protections involving domestic drones [CNN]
“In a report released Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union recommends drones not be deployed indiscriminately unless there are grounds to believe the unmanned aerial planes will collect evidence about a specific crime, adding government power ‘needs to be subject to checks and balances.’”
See also: ACLU Report on Domestic Drones Finds Need for New Privacy Protections

New Justice Department unit to fight tech crimes, identity theft [LA Times]
“California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris announced the creation of a unit within the state Department of Justice that will fight technology crimes and identity theft.”
Press release: Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Creation of eCrime Unit Targeting Technology Crimes

FBI using Carrier IQ info for "law enforcement purposes," refuses to release records [ars technica]
“An enterprising advocate for openness in government has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the FBI for all information the agency uses related to Carrier IQ, the company under fire for monitoring user activity on smartphones—and his request was flatly denied.”
See also: Carrier IQ opens up about its service, but can it quell the unrest?
Some Facts About Carrier IQ

The OPEN Act: significantly flawed, but more salvageable than SOPA/PROTECT-IP [ars technica]
“Unlike SOPA's disgustingly blatant rent-seeking, which was such an over-the-top abuse of the legislative process that it did not (and could not) support a principled or even intelligent conversations about it, OPEN provides a useful starting point for a sensible conversation that could actually lead to acceptable compromises.”

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