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, October 20, 2010
  Public disclosure laws play a vital role in keeping governments in check.  Documents released to the ACLU via public records requests served as the catalyst for many of our efforts, including our ongoing project on government surveillance.  We encourage all of our activist members to file records requests to learn more about what the government “knows.”  Washington has a robust public records law that requires government agencies to disclose all records, subject to a list of specific exemptions for privacy, law enforcement and security reasons.   Additionally, the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts require all federal government agencies to disclose, upon request, a great deal of existing records. Learn more about requesting government records. You might be surprised what you can discover, if you simply ask.  
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, October 14, 2010
In a victory for privacy and free speech on the Internet, a federal court emphasized  that government officials cannot watch over our shoulders to see what we are buying and reading.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, October 11, 2010
A federal court in Yakima has quashed a subpoena that demanded the medical information of 17 medical marijuana patients, citing the need to protect their privacy. The ACLU represented the medical clinic that holds the patients’ records.
Published: 
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
In 2008, when the City installed the police surveillance cameras at Cal Anderson Park, the ACLU warned of the dangers of government cameras recording the activities of law-abiding citizens, and noted that without safeguards for privacy, inappropriate uses of such cameras likely would result. Sure enough, the cameras were misused to zoom in on park users and were not used by the police to prevent or solve any crimes. Thankfully, last week the City Council passed legislation to remove the cameras – but only from Cal Anderson Park. The City now needs to remove the cameras from the Garfield Community Center as well. Email the Seattle City Council today. Read more
News Release, Published: 
Monday, August 30, 2010
The ACLU of Washington has told the Oak Harbor School Board that a proposed policy for searching student cell phones goes too far. It violates privacy to allow school administrators to search student cell phones without the permission of students or their parents.
Published: 
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Outrage erupted in Utah last week after an anonymous group delivered a detailed list of 1300 alleged undocumented immigrants to media outlets and law enforcement, with a demand that these individuals “be deported immediately.“ The immigration hit list contained birth dates, workplaces, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, names of children and the exact due dates for several pregnant women. All of the names appeared to be Hispanic.
Published: 
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Recently obtained documents show that the University of Washington Police Department authorized an officer to spy on, collect information about, and participate in meetings of the UW Student Worker Coalition, without any suspicion of criminal activity. The ACLU of Washington is working with the SWC to uncover the extent of surveillance, and to encourage the University to take the steps necessary to prevent suspicionless surveillance in the future.   Read more
Published: 
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Well, that settles it – government surveillance without suspicion is a costly endeavor. The case surrounding the false arrest of Phil Chinn –the Olympia activist targeted for surveillance based on his political associations – has come to a close. Unfortunately, a new ACLU report on political spying shows that coordinated efforts to target political activists for surveillance persist not only throughout Washington, but throughout the country.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Standing up for consumer rights, the ACLU says that individuals have the right to read books, view films, and buy other items without the government keeping tabs on what they choose to read, watch, or purchase.
Published: 
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Government surveillance of political activists without any suspicion of wrongdoing is unfortunately all too familiar, but recent events and evidence show that the problem is increasingly widespread. The ACLU-WA is working to keep its fingers on the pulse of the surveillance state and ensure that laws and policies are in place to safeguard our civil liberties. To help you see the big picture, we’ve created a new feature on our website highlighting what we've learned so far. Read more

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