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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: 
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The United States Supreme Court on Monday unanimously decided that law enforcement needs a warrant to place a GPS tracking device on a vehicle. We applaud the Supreme Court for ruling correctly that warrantless installation of a GPS device violates the Fourth Amendment.
Published: 
Thursday, December 8, 2011
The Washington Department of Transportation announced today that tolling will start on the SR 520 bridge on December 29. This will be Washington’s first all-electronic toll bridge—meaning there will be no toll booths—and by far the highest volume all-electronic toll facilities in the country. There are lots of advantages to eliminating toll booths (e.g., less congestion, greater safety), but there are also drawbacks, potentially including a loss of privacy. 
Published: 
Friday, October 28, 2011
One disturbing consequence of the Patriot Act, which just marked its ten-year anniversary, is how it has been used for law enforcement actions not related to combating terrorism -- the rationale for the Act's passage. A glaring example can be seen in the use of "sneak and peak” searches for drug crimes.
Published: 
Friday, October 21, 2011
In the early months of 1986, my parents bought my sister and me our first computer, an Apple IIe, and all of a sudden I was playing Oregon Trail at home, in color no less! That summer, I watched in awe as Ferris Bueller effortlessly hacked his way into the school computer to change his absences. He was indeed a righteous dude, and thus began my ill-fated campaign to acquire a modem.
Published: 
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The United States Supreme Court soon is going to consider a case involving warrantless use of a GPS tracking device, in a case the New York Times has called “the most important Fourth Amendment case in a decade.”
Published: 
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Our colleague Harvey Grossman from Illinois was in Seattle yesterday to present the ACLU’s arguments at a federal appeals court hearing seeking to hold telecoms accountable for aiding the National Security Agency in its illegal spying program.  Here’s the ACLU of Illinois press release explaining the lawsuit and why it matters. 
Published: 
Friday, August 26, 2011
The Washington Supreme Court issued a great and unanimous ruling for disabled students this Thursday in a case (Dowler v. Clover Park School District)  in which the ACLU-WA submitted a friend-of-the-court brief.  The facts in the case were horrendous, and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was being used to stop the students from getting relief. 
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
The ACLU-WA is seeking to learn when, why and how local law enforcement agencies are using cellphone location data to track Americans.  We’ve started with public records requests today to the cities of Bellevue, Tacoma, Yakima, and Spokane.
Published: 
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
There are some people who claim to never forget a face.  Now, what if that person was actually a government computer using advanced facial recognition technology?  Say Cheese!  Your picture has now been reduced to data and is being cross-referenced with databases across the world that can identify your face from the Internet before you’ve even finished smiling! 
Published: 
Thursday, February 3, 2011
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently released a report on Patterns of Misconduct:  FBI Intelligence Violations from 2001 – 2008 that details the gross number of violations made during FBI investigations. Through a Freedom of Information request, EFF received nearly 2,500 pages of documents that include FBI reports to the Intelligence Oversight Board. Its analysis has revealed three categories of violations that occur with the most frequency. 

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