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Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (3/16/2012)

Anna Salem,
ACLU of Northern California
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March 16, 2012

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.

PayPal Changes Its Digital Book Policy [ACLU of Northern California]
“After hearing from the ACLU of California and its members and other free expression suporters, PayPal has revised its plans to cut off booksellers who sell certain types of erotic content, stating that it will only request that booksellers who use its services take down books that contain images of child pornography or ‘obscene’ content that are not protected by the First Amendment rather than prohibiting the sale of broad categories of legitimate content.”

New York City Subpoenas Twitter For Occupy Wall Street Protester Data [Read Write Web]
“The New York District Attorney’s Office has begun sending subpoenas to Twitter seeking data on protesters arrested during the Occupy Wall Street protests last year.”

DOJ Asks Court To Keep Secret Any Partnership Between Google, NSA [The Blog of Legal Times]
“The Justice Department is defending the government’s refusal to discuss—or even acknowledge the existence of—any cooperative research and development agreement between Google and the National Security Agency.”

Note to Self: Siri Not Just Working for Me, Working Full-Time for Apple, Too [ACLU of Northern California]
“It came as a surprise to some folks at a recent SXSW talk that Apple’s Siri ‘personal assistant’ isn’t just working for us, it’s working full-time for Apple too by sending lots of our personal voice and user info to Apple to stockpile in its databases.”

Congress Presses Apple on App Privacy [New York Times]
“Two congressmen sent Apple a followup letter Wednesday asking Timothy Cook, Apple’s chief executive, to provide questions about privacy problems within the company’s iTunes App Store.”

Google in New Privacy Probes [Wall Street Journal]
“Regulators in the U.S. and European Union are investigating Google Inc. for bypassing the privacy settings of millions of users of Apple Inc.’s Safari Web browser, according to people familiar with the investigations.”

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