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Surveillance

The advance of technology presents both opportunities for and challenges to liberty. As new technologies are implemented, their impacts on civil liberties must be considered. The ACLU supports uses of technology that enhance privacy and freedom while opposing those that undermine liberty and move us closer to a surveillance society.

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Topic Resources

Published: 
Friday, July 1, 2016
The public is entitled to know far more about the FBI’s use of surveillance cameras on utility poles.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, April 22, 2016
A federal judge in Spokane said that he would allow a lawsuit against the two psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA program to move forward. The ruling is unprecedented for a case seeking to bring accountability for the CIA’s torture program.  
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, March 3, 2016
The ACLU-WA has launched “They Are Watching,” a website providing information about cutting-edge surveillance technologies and the threats they pose to privacy, free speech, and other civil liberties.
Published: 
Thursday, February 11, 2016
The ACLU-WA is suing the Tacoma Police Dept. for failing to disclose records related to its use of a highly intrusive stingray surveillance device. The suit seeks information vital to holding police accountable to the public it serves.
Published: 
Monday, December 21, 2015
Most of us use cell phones and email every day. As our communications make their way from sender to recipient, they expose information about their contents and our interactions with others. The technologies we rely on thus come with inherent risks to our privacy and security. Thanks to disclosures made by whistleblower Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies, we have a better sense of the extent to which surveillance pervades American life.
Published: 
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
The ACLU of Washington would love to hear from organizations that have or are planning to roll out either Tor relays or the Tor Browser. Supporting Tor is part of our work advocating for privacy, access to information, and free speech.

Letter to SPD regarding request for public records considering Black Lives Matter protests

Document, Published: 
Friday, August 21, 2015
On February 23, 2015, we sent your office a public records request for records related to the Ferguson/Black Lives Matter protests that occurred on November 28, 2014. We received no production from your office until May 20, 2015. This response was only a partial response, and you indicated that we would be receiving the second installment of records on or about July 1, 2015. This date has now been moved out to August 12, 2015. The responses we have received from your office thus far have raised some concerns, which our office finds very troubling.
Published: 
Friday, August 21, 2015
The Seattle Police Department has repeatedly failed to meet its own deadlines for producing records we requested seven months ago related to the SPD’s handling of Black Lives Matters/Ferguson protests held in November 2014.
Published: 
Friday, May 15, 2015
For decades, local law enforcement has used aviation for specific and limited purposes, such as search and rescue, high-speed chases, and traffic control. Helicopters require costly equipment and fuel and risk loss of life, so law enforcement has used them sparingly.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, May 11, 2015
Governor Inslee today signed into law a bill restricting the use of cell site simulator devices (popularly known as “Stingrays”). The measure (HB 1440) requires that a judge find there is probable cause that use of a Stingray will lead to evidence of criminal activity, and it includes judicial education and data retention provisions that are the first of their kind in the nation.

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