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Government Surveillance

Government Agencies to Pay $418,000 in Political Surveillance Case

Jun 28, 2010
Three law enforcement agencies in Washington are paying a total of $418,000 to resolve a lawsuit over the wrongful arrest and covert surveillance of an Olympia activist who was prevented from participating in a lawful demonstration. Read More »

Seattle’s New Crime Analytics Program Threatens to Perpetuate Racism in Policing

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has announced a new “Real Time Crime Center” that would use historical crime data in decisions about deploying police officers. Although this may sound like a smart move to incorporate analytics technology in law enforcement, in practice it would perpetuate existing institutional racism in policing. Read More »
Tor logo

Organizations Supporting Tor: Help Us Help You!

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. Read More »

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

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. Read More »

Seattle Police Department

Seattle Police Admit Mishandling ACLU's Black Lives Matter Request

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. Read More »
Police drone

Support Reasonable Regulations on Government Drones

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. Read More »
Stingray device photo

Washington Becomes a Leader in Restricting Use of Invasive Stingrays

Governor Inslee has signed into law a bill restricting the use of cell site simulator devices (popularly known as “Stingrays,” after a particular model).  Stingrays are emblematic of the threats to privacy posed by new technologies and expanding government surveillance activities. The new law makes Washington state a leader in regulating Stingrays and includes judicial education and data retention provisions that are the first of their kind in the nation. Read More »
Eye icon

Military Internet Surveillance of Civilians Must Be Excluded From Criminal Trials

For years, with seemingly little to no oversight, the Naval Criminal Investigative Services has been monitoring vast amounts of non-military U.S. Internet traffic and communications, looking for evidence of criminal activity. Read More »

Despite Broad Bipartisan Support, Bill to Regulate Government Drones Is Vetoed

Apr 4, 2014
The ACLU-WA is deeply disappointed that the Governor has vetoed a carefully considered bill to regulate government use of drones. The action was a missed opportunity to uphold the state’s strong tradition of privacy, and protect all Washingtonians from government surveillance.  Read More »
Drone Helicopter

Legislature passes bill to regulate government drone use

Mar 12, 2014
EHB 2789, legislation that puts reasonable regulations in place for government use of drones in Washington state, has passed the Senate with a 46-1 vote, and the House has concurred with a bipartisan 77-21 vote.  The bill has gone to the Governor to be signed into law. Read More »