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Technology Surveillance

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 »

State Supreme Court: Work messages on a public employee’s cell phone are public record

Work-related text messages on a public employee’s personal cell phone are public records subject to disclosure, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled Aug. 27. Read More »

State Legislature Acts to Regulate Stingrays

Apr 17, 2015
In a bipartisan action, the Washington Legislature has approved legislation to regulate government use of cell site simulator devices, better known as Stingrays. The bill, HB 1440 – “Prohibiting the use of a cell site simulator device without a warrant,” passed the House by a unanimous vote yesterday after the Senate also had passed it unanimously. It now awaits Governor Inslee’s signature to become law. Read More »
Police officer getting aggressive with protester

Balancing Police Oversight and Privacy: ACLU Offers Recommendations for Body Cams

Police departments across the state have adopted or are looking to buy on-officer recording systems, or “body cameras,” to provide oversight for law enforcement. These cameras can be very beneficial for accountability to prevent or identify police misconduct. But, they also pose risks to privacy for those captured in the recordings. Read More »
Spokane  skyline

Surveillance: Spokane Acts to Protect Privacy and Provide Transparency

The Spokane City Council has passed an ordinance that will require Council approval to acquire and use some new surveillance equipment, such as drones and camera networks. We hope that more communities throughout Washington will consider passing similar oversight mechanisms with even stronger provisions and protections. Read More »
Image of a Washington license plate that says privacy

"You Are Being Tracked": ACLU Report Finds the Government Knows Where You Are Driving

A national ACLU report on license plate tracking by law enforcement confirms that the problems we identified locally are reflected in communities throughout the U.S. Our study found that few police departments in Washington place any substantial restrictions on how the location information may be used. Read More »
Don't spy on me graphic

Why the NSA’s gathering of metadata matters

Goverment power that operates unchecked behind closed doors is inevitably abused. The recent disclosures about the secret NSA surveillance programs prove this maxim. Read More »

GPS Tracking: The Supreme Court Takes a Step for Privacy

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. Read More »

25 Years Old and Time to Grow Up: The Electronic Communications Privacy Act

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. Read More »