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, December 8, 2011
The Washington Department of Transportation announced today that tolling will start on the SR 520 bridge on December 29. This will be Washington’s first all-electronic toll bridge—meaning there will be no toll booths—and by far the highest volume all-electronic toll facilities in the country. There are lots of advantages to eliminating toll booths (e.g., less congestion, greater safety), but there are also drawbacks, potentially including a loss of privacy. 
Friday, October 28, 2011
One disturbing consequence of the Patriot Act, which just marked its ten-year anniversary, is how it has been used for law enforcement actions not related to combating terrorism -- the rationale for the Act's passage. A glaring example can be seen in the use of "sneak and peak” searches for drug crimes.
Friday, October 21, 2011
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.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The United States Supreme Court soon is going to consider a case involving warrantless use of a GPS tracking device, in a case the New York Times has called “the most important Fourth Amendment case in a decade.”
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Our colleague Harvey Grossman from Illinois was in Seattle yesterday to present the ACLU’s arguments at a federal appeals court hearing seeking to hold telecoms accountable for aiding the National Security Agency in its illegal spying program.  Here’s the ACLU of Illinois press release explaining the lawsuit and why it matters. 
Friday, August 19, 2011
Too often, user privacy is an afterthought in the design of computer software and online services.  For companies, the costs in lost consumer confidence, fines, and corrective measures can be substantial. Everyday users pay a price as well, and for victims of domestic violence, political protesters, whistleblowers, and others whose safety and livelihood could hinge on their privacy, those costs can be devastating.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
The ACLU-WA is seeking to learn when, why and how local law enforcement agencies are using cellphone location data to track Americans.  We’ve started with public records requests today to the cities of Bellevue, Tacoma, Yakima, and Spokane.
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! 
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.  
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.