Back to News & Commentary

This Week in Civil Liberties

The text, "Week in Review."
The text, "Week in Review."
Share This Page
April 29, 2011

The ACLU butted heads with big companies this week: Wal-mart and medical marijuana. Apple and privacy. Sony and privacy. Signal and human trafficking. In other news, Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU and Larry Siems of PEN American Center gave us a new perspective and a timely reminder in a New York Timesop-ed: Torturers and their apologists are not heroes, men and women who stand up for what’s right are heroes. And more…

ACLU Appeals Medical Marijuana Case on Behalf of Cancer-Stricken Wal-Mart Employee
The ACLU filed a brief urging a federal appeals court to reinstate a 2010 lawsuit about the wrongful firing of Wal-Mart employee Joseph Casias for using medical marijuana in accordance with state law. In February, a U.S. district judge dismissed the case, but the ACLU is appealing.

Sony Learns that Protecting Privacy Is Not a Game and Apple’s Inadequate Response
Less than a week after the revelation that Apple’s iPhones and iPads keep location data logs, Sony announced a security breach resulting in the loss of 77 million customers’ records. Sony failed to use established best practices to protect user data before the breach and failed to respond quickly and effectively after the breach. And Apple has finally responded to the revelation that iPhone and iPads keep records of their users’ whereabouts and has promised to change. But this dust-up is no overblown quirk or mere bug; this incident should be a wakeup call to Americans that we need to demand greater transparency and accountability from the companies that collect and use our personal information.

Honoring Courage Seven Years After Abu Ghraib
An ACLU/PEN American Center op-ed in the New York Times points out that “The Bush administration repeatedly honored those who approved torture, but the Obama administration should honor those … who rejected it.Send a personal message of thanks to the American heroes who stood up against torture >>

Want a Passport? Remember the Addresses of Everywhere You’ve Ever Lived?
No passport for you unless you remember everywhere you’ve ever lived, the names of all the bosses you’ve ever had, the name and address of your mother’s employer at the time of your birth, who provided her with pre- and post-natal care, and more.

Anti-Abortion Group Sued Over Controversial Billboard
Tricia Fraser, the mother of the young girl depicted in an anti-abortion billboard has sued the organization behind the ad. The billboard depicts Fraser’s daughter Annisa in a pink dress and a bow in her hair with the words: “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb” above her photo. Tricia Fraser charges the use of her daughter’s image was defamatory and racist.

U.S. Government Lawsuit Supports Indian Guestworkers’ Claims of Discrimination and Abuse
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against Signal International, LLC, charging that the company violated “federal law by subjecting a class of approximately 500 Indian employees to human labor trafficking and a hostile work environment.” The EEOC also said that the Indian workers’ “living facilities, food and overall living conditions were intolerable, demeaning and unsanitary.”

This is your week in civil liberties. Let us know if this is useful or if you’d like to see changes. Share your thoughts:

Learn more about your rights: Subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Learn More About the Issues on This Page