Blog of Rights

My Dad Will Never Come Home

My Dad Will Never Come Home

By April Anderson, Daughter of Dicky Joe Jackson at 1:23pm
Dad usually suggests we leave a little early because leaving is the 'elephant in the room' that we're all trying to avoid. "Ya'll go on and head home and get some rest. Don't worry about me, I'm fine." It's the same stuff every time.

“Fixing” Citizens United Will Break the Constitution

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 7:21pm

Originally posted on The Huffington Post.

In “Fixing Citizens United,” Professor Geoffrey Stone—usually a friend to the First Amendment—argues for a constitutional amendment to “fix” the Citizens United Supreme…

This Secret Domestic Surveillance Program Is About to Get Pulled Out of the Shadows

This Secret Domestic Surveillance Program Is About to Get Pulled Out of the Shadows

By Julia Harumi Mass, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California & Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 4:32pm

The federal government will have to produce information on a vast and secret domestic surveillance program and defend the program's legality in open court. That's the result of a decision issued Friday by the federal judge presiding over our lawsuit…

Just Hope You Don't Have to Pee in Florida

Just Hope You Don't Have to Pee in Florida

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 3:23pm

Getting arrested for using the bathroom could become the law in Florida.

Using a public restroom is something most people have done. For many non-transgender people, the experience might be gross or inconvenient, but most people don't have…

Cell phone tower

Cell Phone Records Can Show Where You Sleep and Where You Pray

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:29am

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has become the latest federal appeals court to consider the question of whether law enforcement needs a warrant before it obtains cell phone location data. We have (with allies) filed an amicus brief in this case,…

SPOT Off

SPOT Off

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:58pm

Lost in all the news about the NSA program this week was the release of a devastating report by the DHS Inspector General on the TSA’s SPOT program (first reported by the New York Times on Sunday). The new report underscores what a waste of money that program has been. After hiring 2,800 full-time staff and spending an estimated $878 million since FY 2007, the program remains deeply misguided not only in its very concept, but also in how it has been implemented.

SPOT (which stands for Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) is the program that places “Behavior Detection Officers” (BDOs) near airport security lines, where by intrusively chatting with fliers, they will supposedly be able to detect “something amiss” that might suggest a passenger is planning a terrorist attack.

The program has always been ludicrous. In testimony at a 2011 congressional hearing on SPOT, psychologist Dr. Maria Hartwig summarized the decades of empirical research on the detection of deception, which is basically

Burn the Flag or Burn the Constitution?

Burn the Flag or Burn the Constitution?

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:53pm

Sadly, Congress is once again considering an amendment to the U. S. Constitution banning desecration of the American flag and, in doing so, testing our political leaders' willingness to defend what is arguably one of America's most sacred principles — protecting political speech.

Burglar "cracking" computer-screen "safe"

Feds Refuse to Release Documents on “Zero-Day” Security Exploits

By Sonia Roubini, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project & Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 1:09pm

Federal agencies served with a Freedom of Information Act request are refusing to release documents related to their purchase, use and disclosure of zero-day exploits, keeping the American public in the dark about a practice that leaves the Internet…

School Principals: Students Have Privacy and Free Speech Rights Too!

School Principals: Students Have Privacy and Free Speech Rights Too!

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:05am

One of the technology-related civil liberties battles that ACLU affiliates around the country have been fighting in recent years involves defending students’ rights to privacy and free expression in the new electronic media that are becoming…