Privacy

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Privacy

Privacy enables us to form close relationships with other people, build alliances, share information, and consider new and unpopular ideas. Because every human being needs a place where they can be free from the scrutiny of others— including the government— privacy is a fundamental part of a dignified life.

Technology has created unprecedented ways to glean, store, and utilize personal information without our consent, or even our knowledge. The ACLU-WA works to increase the control every individual has over their personal information, expand the right to privacy, and ensure civil liberties are enhanced rather than compromised by technological innovation.

Resources

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 10, 2011
Mozilla, the makers of the FireFox web browser, and Google have recently announced plans to incorporate “Do Not Track” features into their browsers.  What this means is that users are finally afforded a simple opportunity to opt out of having their Internet activities tracked by marketers.   While it is great to see these companies finally start to take consumer’s privacy seriously, these are by no means the only tools available to consumers. We’ve compiled a list of free or mostly free tools that are to install, either as an add-on to your current browser or as stand-alone software.  We’ve also included tools that you can use to privatize you mobile computing experience, regardless of whether it is an iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or Windows Phone 7 device.  
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
The final settlement of a lawsuit in which the ACLU intervened will protect the privacy of what customers read, view, and listen to via their purchases on Amazon.com.  
News Release, Published: 
Friday, February 4, 2011
The ACLU-WA is co-sponsoring a new competition for mobile application developers to address privacy concerns surrounding mobile phones and other portable devices. The Develop for Privacy Challenge aims to show that privacy should be a fundamental building block in new technologies, not just an afterthought.
Published: 
Friday, February 4, 2011
    With all their convenience, smartphones can also collect and share vast amounts of data that can paint a detailed picture about someone’s life: your current location, where you have been, who you know, what you search for online, and more. Without strong privacy protections, smartphones and other mobile devices can pose a real threat to your privacy.
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. 
Published: 
Friday, January 28, 2011
Imagine this scenario.  You walk up to a fast food counter for lunch and, before you say anything, the cashier asks if you'd like to order the same thing you ordered the last three times you visited.  The cashier then asks if you'd like to try a new dessert item, because she knows how much you like a similar item at a different restaurant.  While you are eating, you receive a phone call from a local gym suggesting you might be interested in a free personal trainer workout based on all the fast food you eat.  Then, just before you leave, your phone notifies you that you have received a new email offering a free cholesterol and heart disease screening from a clinic that is "concerned" about your fast food eating habits.     If this sounds creepy, it should.  But this sort of data sharing and behavioral marketing is taking place right under your nose every time you browse the web.  As explained on the National ACLU blog of rights, protecting your online privacy is exactly why we need a "Do Not Track" list for the internet.    
Published: 
Thursday, December 23, 2010
  Big Brother is watching, and you might not even realize that you are the one being watched!  A recent story on Wired.com revealed that:  “Federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations” without the subscriber ever finding out – when the administrative subpoena is served with a Court Order for Non-Disclosure. That’s right: the government is keeping tabs on your credit card purchases.
Published: 
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Next month, the King County District Court will hold an inquest into the August 30, 2010, fatal shooting of First Nations carver John T. Williams by Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk.  An inquest looks like a trial, so you might imagine that we will soon learn whether Officer Birk committed a crime or will be found civilly liable for killing Mr. Williams, right?  Well, probably not.  The one thing that inquest juries cannot do is to determine liability.
Published: 
Friday, December 10, 2010
As an attorney who graduated from both Gonzaga (J.D.) and the University of Washington (LL.M.), I recently joined the ACLU-WA staff as a government surveillance fellow.  I’d like to introduce myself and let you know why I care about the impact of technology on civil liberties.

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