Government Surveillance Icon


The advance of technology presents both opportunities for and challenges to liberty. As new technologies are implemented, their impacts on civil liberties must be considered. The ACLU supports uses of technology that enhance privacy and freedom while opposing those that undermine liberty and move us closer to a surveillance society.
Seattle has passed the strongest surveillance transparency and accountability protections in the country!
Judge fines Tacoma Police Department for withholding public records about invasive surveillance device
Seattle City Council adopts nation’s strongest law to protect utility customer personal data
Amazon Should Stop Selling Face Surveillance Technology to the Government


Thursday, May 26, 2016
The ACLU has filed a motion seeking to join Microsoft’s lawsuit challenging gag orders that prevent the company from telling its customers when the government has ordered it to turn over their data.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, April 22, 2016
A federal judge in Spokane said that he would allow a lawsuit against the two psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA program to move forward. The ruling is unprecedented for a case seeking to bring accountability for the CIA’s torture program.  
Thursday, March 3, 2016
New surveillance technologies and the problems associated with them are complex and have a cost to our privacy and security, as well as to public budgets. Without privacy protections, clearly defined operating procedures, enforcement provisions, and audits, communities should rightly fear that government will use these systems in ways that infringe upon their civil liberties, now or in the future.
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, March 3, 2016
The ACLU-WA has launched “They Are Watching,” a website providing information about cutting-edge surveillance technologies and the threats they pose to privacy, free speech, and other civil liberties.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
The ACLU-WA is suing the Tacoma Police Dept. for failing to disclose records related to its use of a highly intrusive stingray surveillance device. The suit seeks information vital to holding police accountable to the public it serves.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Most of us use cell phones and email every day. As our communications make their way from sender to recipient, they expose information about their contents and our interactions with others. The technologies we rely on thus come with inherent risks to our privacy and security. Thanks to disclosures made by whistleblower Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies, we have a better sense of the extent to which surveillance pervades American life.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
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.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
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.
Friday, August 28, 2015
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.

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

Document, Published: 
Friday, August 21, 2015
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.