Blog of Rights

President Barack Obama

What Does It Take To Truly Be "My Brother's Keeper"

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:38pm
A year ago, Kyle Thompson a young, Black, freshman was led away from his school in handcuffs and ultimately expelled from school. His offense? Mistakenly thinking that his teacher's attempt to take a note for him was a joke and playfully trying to get the note back. When he realized this wasn't play, he immediately let her have the note. That misunderstanding left Kyle out of school and facing criminal charges. His harsh punishment is a reflection of zero tolerance discipline policies; policies that all too often disproportionately impact young people of color.
In South Dakota, The Wolf Has Lost Its Clothes

In South Dakota, The Wolf Has Lost Its Clothes

By Shivana Jorawar, Esq., National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum at 2:32pm

Next week, the South Dakota legislature is expected to pass HB 1162, a bill that stereotypes Asian immigrants and restricts access to abortion. Supporters of the measure are using racially inflammatory language, invoking nativism and warning of the…

Protest sign and american flag

Discrimination Is Bad for Business. Worse, It’s Bad for People.

By Eric Crown at 1:25pm

I’m an Arizona businessperson and, yes, profits are important to me. A thriving business needs solid financials but I believe it also needs something else: respect and a culture that encourages the fair treatment of all people.

I’m thrilled…

What Does a Soviet Submarine Have to Do With U.S. Government Secrecy?

What Does a Soviet Submarine Have to Do With U.S. Government Secrecy?

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:54am

It is the height of the Cold War. A nuclear-missile-equipped Soviet submarine sinks in the Pacific Ocean, in suspicious circumstances. The CIA commissions reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes to secretly build a massive ship capable of lifting the submarine…

Media Protection Rule Helpful, But Not a Panacea

Media Protection Rule Helpful, But Not a Panacea

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:50pm

The new rule released yesterday governing when the Department of Justice can investigate journalists seems like a dollop of progress with a sizeable helping of potential concern. The attorney general does, however, deserve credit for some progress…

Aerial view of the U.S. Patent Office building; Image source: Cliff/Flickr

Is the "Patent Happy" Patent Office Violating the First Amendment?

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 2:43pm

Last April, during the Supreme Court oral arguments in our case challenging patents on human genes, Justice Kagan remarked, "The PTO seems very patent happy." Her comment, and the unanimous decision invalidating gene patents, clearly expressed the…

Nothing to See Here! Censoring 'The Innocence of Muslims'

Nothing to See Here! Censoring 'The Innocence of Muslims'

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:32pm

It's likely you haven't escaped the roiling controversy generated by the film The Innocence of Muslims. This "film" has alternately been described as: a deliberate provocation of Muslims, a launching point for a conversation about free speech, a trigger…

Crop of image by Arlo Bates via Flickr

When Big Data Becomes a Civil Rights Problem

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:06am

My colleague Jay Stanley just wrote about an invasive new police tactic employed by the Chicago Police Department. Using software created by an engineer at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the city developed a “’heat list’ — an index of…

Finger pressing security button on keyboard

Protect our Privacy – Protect our Metadata

By Chris Conley, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California Technology and Civil Liberties Project at 10:05am

Imagine bringing a date home for dinner. You put the laptop away and mute your phone. You prepare a gourmet home-cooked meal for two, queue up a selection of romantic songs and pick out a movie to watch after dinner. As the evening winds down, your…

Rapid Improvements in Lidar Technology Could Have Surveillance Implications

Rapid Improvements in Lidar Technology Could Have Surveillance Implications

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:25am

Technology Review has an article out on advances in lidar technology. The article is a reminder of just how many fronts there are where we’re seeing large technological advances with possible implications for surveillance.

Lidar is like radar…