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: 
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.
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

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