Blog of Rights

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (5/25/2012)

By Anna Salem, ACLU of Northern California at 3:02pm

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.

Are the police tracking your calls? [CNN – Catherine Crump]

"Do you know how long your cell phone company keeps records of whom you text, who calls you or what places you have traveled?"

            See Also Is That a Spy in Your Pocket? [Reason – Jacob Sullum]

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case on Surveillance [New York Times – Adam Liptak]

"The justices will decide whether a challenge to a 2008 federal law that broadened the government’s power to monitor international communications may proceed."

            See Also Supreme Court to Hear ACLU Case Challenging Warrantless Wiretapping Law[ACLU]

Reopen Google Wi-Fi Investigation, Say Lawmakers [Information Week – Mathew J. Schwartz]

“Two U.S. Congressmen have called on the Department of Justice to reopen its investigation into Google, after revelations that the company's Street View vehicles recorded large amounts of unencrypted Wi-Fi data.”

Facebook Settles Suit Over Ad Product [Wall Street Journal - John Letzing]

"Facebook, of Menlo Park, Calif., agreed in principle to a settlement with users angered over alleged privacy violations in the company’s so-called Sponsored Stories service, according to court filings."

            See Also Facebook Settling ‘Sponsored Stories’ Privacy Lawsuit [Wired – David Kravets]

ACLU Sues As DOJ Ignores Surveillance Transparency Law [ACLU - Avinash Samarth]

[Yesterday] the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to force the government to release statistics about its use of powerful electronic surveillance tools that law enforcement can use against any American simply by stating to a judge that it’s relevant to an investigation. The Department of Justice is required to disclose these statistics to Congress each year, yet routinely fails to do so. Today’s suit is an effort to compel the DOJ to follow the law (here are our complaint and our FOIA request).

Pot Prosecution Goes Up in Smoke Due to Warrantless GPS Tracking [Wired – Kim Zetter]

"A federal judge in Kentucky has ruled that 150 pounds of marijuana collected from a drug suspect’s car is not admissible evidence in court because investigators illegally used a GPS tracker without a warrant to uncover it."

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