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This Week in Civil Liberties (10/24/2013)

Rekha Arulanantham,
Litigation Fellow,
ACLU National Prison Project
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October 25, 2013

Which government whistleblower responsible for revealing the NSA’s massive spying program released a statement encouraging Americans to rally against pervasive surveillance?

According to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, what must law enforcement obtain before attaching a GPS device to a car to track its movements?

In which state did a court rule that law enforcement has a duty to enforce anti-harassment orders to protect victims of domestic abuse?

What data broker recently allowed individuals to view certain parts of their profile (a profile generated by the data broker mining public records and secretly following individuals around the web)?

True or false: retro prudery is a hot new trend. (See: new ACLU comic by Jen Sorensen.)

Edward Snowden: This Saturday, Demand an End to the Surveillance State

This Saturday, you can join the growing movement calling on the government to get out of our private lives, at the biggest protest yet against NSA spying. Organized by the StopWatching.Us coalition – a group of 100 organizations, companies, and public figures – the rally has received the support of celebrities, politicians, and the whistleblower responsible for the robust public debate that has come out of his disclosures. In a statement Snowden provided the ACLU, he writes: “Now it’s time for the government to learn from us. Join us in sending the message: Stop Watching Us.

VICTORY! Federal Appeals Court Rules Warrant Required for GPS Tracking

Yesterday the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that law enforcement agents must obtain a warrant based on probable cause to attach a GPS device to a car and track its movements. The case, United States v. Katzin, is the first in which a federal appeals court has explicitly held that a warrant is required for GPS tracking by police. The ACLU submitted an amicus brief in the case (joined by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) and presented oral argument to the court in March.

Domestic Violence: Police Have a Duty to Protect Victims

Last week, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington took an important step forward in the fight to ensure the rights of victims of domestic violence. The Court ruled unanimously in favor of the daughters of the late Baerbel Roznowski, Carola Washburn and Janet Loh, who had filed a lawsuit against the City of Federal Way for police negligence that led to their mother’s death.

How Do I Get Out of This Relationship?

Acxiom—one of the largest data brokers in the country—recently allowed individuals to view certain parts of their profile and edit or delete some details. Although the ACLU believes that strong laws are necessary to ensure people have access to this information at all times, we appreciate Acxiom’s nod to transparency.

The ACLU’s Sandra Fulton blogs on the privacy implications of being in an unwanted “relationship” with a data broker.

STEALTH ATTACK: Don’t Let it Fool You!

If it weren’t for the serious life-altering implications of the anti-abortion bills passed this year all over the country, it would be downright comical. From legislators in North Carolina tacking abortion legislation onto a motorcycle safety bill, to politicians in Texas insisting that shutting down abortion clinics because of the size of their parking lots is really an attempt to protect women’s health, the lengths politicians have gone to deny women their basic constitutional rights is nearly laughable. Politicians must think we’re stupid.

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