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Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (5/11/2012)

Anna Salem,
ACLU of Northern California
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May 11, 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.

Government asks: when can we shut down wireless service? [ars technica]
“Here was a regional government agency blocking wireless access in response to a public protest. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed complaints.”

Twitter Stands Up For One Of Its Users [ACLU Blog of Rights]
Twitter has filed a motion in state court in New York seeking to quash a court order requiring it to turn over information about one of its users and his communications on Twitter. This particular case involves a Twitter user, Malcolm Harris, who is being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan for disorderly conduct in connection with the Occupy Wall Street protest that occurred on the Brooklyn Bridge last year.
See Also Twitter Stands Up to Court Order for Occupier’s Data [Mashable]
See Also Twitter Hits Back at Court, Prosecutors Over ‘Occupy’ Order [Wired]
See Also Twitter Fights Prosecutors Seeking Occupy Protester’s Data Without Warrant [Forbes]

F.T.C. Charges Myspace With Breaking U.S. Law in Sharing Users’ Personal Information [New York Times]
“Continuing its crackdown on Internet privacy violations, the Federal Trade Commission charged Myspace on Tuesday with violating federal law by breaching its promise not to share users’ personal information, including their Web browsing habits, with advertising companies.”
See Also FTC Slaps Myspace for Privacy Breaches [Wired]
See Also The Swift Hand of Justice Rebukes Myspace for Shattering the Sanctity of Privacy [Read Write Web]

Democrats to employers: Stop asking for Facebook passwords [CNET]
“A new bill introduced yesterday in the U.S. Senate would seek to stop employers from requesting passwords or access to an employee’s account on Facebook and other social networks.”
See Also Password Protection Legislation Introduced In House And Senate [ACLU]
See Also Password Protection Act of 2012: A Good Start Against Employer Snooping [ACLU Free Future]

Senator seeks DOJ cellphone tracking data [Computer World]
“U.S. Senator Al Franken has in a letter asked the Department of Justice for information on its practices in requesting location information from wireless carriers, following reports that law enforcement agencies are requesting such information sometimes without warrants.”
See Also DOJ Cell Phone Tracking: Excellent questions, Senator [ACLU Free Future]

Oops! Air Force Drones Can Now (Accidentally) Spy on You [Wired]
“In other words, if an Air Force drone accidentally spies on an American citizen, the Air Force will have three months to figure out if it was legally allowed to put that person under surveillance in the first place.”

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