Supreme Court: no government location tracking without a warrant

The Supreme Court has ruled in the closely watched Carpenter v. United States case, which questioned the constitutionality of warrantless location surveillance, a widespread practice among US law enforcement and surveillance agencies. Read the rest

Amazon has been quietly selling its facial recognition system to US police forces, marketing it for bodycam use

Amazon bills its Rekognition image classification system as a "deep learning-based image and video analysis" system; it markets the system to US police forces for use in analyzing security camera footage, including feeds from police officers' bodycams. Read the rest

Victory! Fourth Circuit rules that border officials can't subject electronic devices to suspicionless forensic searches

Back in 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Riley v California, holding that border guards do not have unlimited authority to search our personal electronic devices when we cross the border, requiring individualized criminal suspicion before a search can take place. Read the rest

Federal court will allow the ACLU to keep suing for the right to violate terms of service for legitimate purposes

Back in 2016, the ACLU and First Look (the publishers of The Intercept) sued the US government to force it to clarify that the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act -- the overbroad statute passed during over a panic sparked by the movie "Wargames" -- does not prohibit violations of terms of service. Read the rest

ACLU steps in to defend anti-Trump mural in New Orleans

A mural quoting a sexual assault comment made by the President of the United States led to a threat of jail time from the city of New Orleans. Neal Morris, owner of the property and commissioner of the work, got the ACLU involved. Read the rest

As students take the lead in the gun control fight, check the ACLU's resources for students and their First Amendment rights

The ACLU's Josh Bell just wrapped up a livestreamed training session for students on their free speech rights and then released the video and slides; these are a great complement to the ACLU's existing know your rights guide for public school students. Read the rest

Indiana's voter-purging software removes voters without notice, is wrong 99% of the time

The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program identifies possible duplicate voters by looking at registrations by people with the same name and birthdate; a joint study by researchers at Harvard, Yale, and Microsoft found that 99% of the people it identifies as duplicate voters are not duplicate voters -- that is, it has a 99% false positive rate. Read the rest

"Drug Recognition Experts" mistake sobriety for drug use

The Cobb County Police department has trained a number of its officers to be "Drug Recognition Experts." Apparently this training allows them to declare people under the influence without any actual proof. The ACLU is suing on behalf of several non-marijuana using victims.

Via the ACLU of Georgia:

The Cobb County Police Department has embraced the so-called “Drug Recognition Expert” (DRE) program, a program used nationwide but has never been independently and rigorously validated. The protocol requires officers to perform medical examinations to detect drug influence without having relevant medical training, and it leads officers to believe that they have a special ability to detect marijuana use without concrete evidence.

“The people of Cobb County should be outraged that their police department wasted scarce resources harassing and jailing innocent people,” said Sean J. Young, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia. “The Cobb County Police Department needs to be held accountable for these flagrant violations of constitutional rights.”

The lawsuit, filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, seeks to vindicate the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful seizures and obtain compensatory and punitive damages.

Read the rest

EFF and ACLU sue Trump administration over warrantless border device searches

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties just filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of 11 travellers whose devices were searched at the US border; they assert that warrantless device searches violate the constitutional restriction on searches without probable cause. Read the rest

Watch this lovely primer on America's transgender rights movement since the 1960s

The American Civil Liberties Union has released a brief overview of the transgender rights movement, focusing on the 1960s and 1970s, beautifully illustrated by Molly Crabapple. Read the rest

"Fuck Trump" and "Immigrant" hats benefit ACLU

My friend Gabe created these fun "Fuck Trump" and "Immigrant" hats! All profits go to the American Civil Liberties Union! Gabe says:

On a personal note, making these hats has been a profound and grounding exercise in connecting with others from across the world that I would not have connected with otherwise. I know that the issues we face are complex and that Trump represents much greater forces than just him alone. I also know that this is but a small way to make a difference, but I do believe that it's important to express our dissent and let people know where we stand; that we will not be bullied by him or his supporters.

(And yes, that's Helena Christensen rocking the "Immigrant" hat below.)

Buy "Fuck Trump" and "Immigrant" hats

And follow Fuck Trump on Instagram!

Read the rest

In Rhode Island, students and parents must let schools spy on them day and night through their laptops

A majority of the Rhode Island school districts with "1-1" programs where each student is issued a laptop have a blanket policy of spying on the students and everything they do on their laptops, during, before and after school hours, on or off school premises, without any evidence (or even suspicion ) of wrongdoing. Read the rest

Should police be able to access your cellphone location history without a warrant? Supreme Court to decide.

The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear an important digital privacy rights case that will determine if police have to get a warrant to access your cellphone location data, which is archived by wireless carriers. Read the rest

Seattle: Death Cab for Cutie and The Decemberists benefit for ACLU and Planned Parenthood

On June 9 in Seattle, our pals in Death Cab for Cutie are joining The Decemberists and Sera Cahoone for a benefit concert at the Paramount Theatre with all proceeds going to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and Planned Parenthood. Tickets go on sale Friday (5/12) at 10am PT.

“We as Death Cab For Cutie are appalled by the divisive, xenophobic and misogynistic agenda the Trump Administration is attempting to implement in our country," says Ben Gibbard. "We are proud to be joining our friends The Decemberists and Sera Cahoone in support of both the ACLU and Planned Parenthood at this pivotal time in our nation's history."

Buy tickets. Read the rest

The Humble Freedom Bundle: pay $30 or more, benefit charities fighting the #muslimban, get a preview of Wil Wheaton reading WALKAWAY

The Humble Freedom Bundle will take $30 or more and in return give you more than 50 games, ebooks audiobooks and comics, including two never-before-heard audiobook titles from me: a newly mastered edition of the audiobook of my book on copyright, the internet and artistic integrity, Information Doesn't Want to be Free, featuring both Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer reading their introductions; and, the first 18 minutes of the forthcoming audiobook of my novel Walkaway, read by Wil Wheaton (the full book also features many other fine readers, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Amber Benson and Amanda Palmer from the Dresden Dolls). Read the rest

Internal TSA files reveal that they have no evidence the $1B "behavioral detection" program works

In 2013, the TSA blew $1B on "behavioral detection," which would allegedly train agents to spot potential terrorists by looking for a hilariously stupid list of "tells" including "a bobbing adam's apple," "arriving late," "trembling," "yawning," "excessive throat clearing," "improper attire," "gazing down," and "wide open staring eyes," Also: "being in disguise." Read the rest

Make: a $5 ACLU-donation Dash button you can press every time Trump makes you angry

Nathan writes, "Wanting a more immediate and responsive way to do something about the outrage a friend and I felt every time we read about the latest assaults on civil liberties, I built an Amazon Dash button that sends $5 to the ACLU every time I press it. Repurposing the technology to do good, not just buy goods." Read the rest

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