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Surveillance

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
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Resources

Published: 
Friday, August 21, 2015
The Seattle Police Department has repeatedly failed to meet its own deadlines for producing records we requested seven months ago related to the SPD’s handling of Black Lives Matters/Ferguson protests held in November 2014.
Published: 
Friday, May 15, 2015
For decades, local law enforcement has used aviation for specific and limited purposes, such as search and rescue, high-speed chases, and traffic control. Helicopters require costly equipment and fuel and risk loss of life, so law enforcement has used them sparingly.
Published: 
Monday, May 11, 2015
Governor Inslee has signed into law a bill restricting the use of cell site simulator devices (popularly known as “Stingrays,” after a particular model).  Stingrays are emblematic of the threats to privacy posed by new technologies and expanding government surveillance activities. The new law makes Washington state a leader in regulating Stingrays and includes judicial education and data retention provisions that are the first of their kind in the nation.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, May 11, 2015
Governor Inslee today signed into law a bill restricting the use of cell site simulator devices (popularly known as “Stingrays”). The measure (HB 1440) requires that a judge find there is probable cause that use of a Stingray will lead to evidence of criminal activity, and it includes judicial education and data retention provisions that are the first of their kind in the nation.
Published: 
Thursday, April 30, 2015
For years, with seemingly little to no oversight, the Naval Criminal Investigative Services has been monitoring vast amounts of non-military U.S. Internet traffic and communications, looking for evidence of criminal activity.
Published: 
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
The past few years have seen numerous attempts to reform the notorious Patriot Act and its problematic provisions which the NSA has interpreted to permit unprecedented dragnet surveillance. None have been successful, thanks in large part to the continued fearmongering of the “war on terror.”
News Release, Published: 
Friday, April 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.
Published: 
Friday, March 20, 2015
The ACLU-WA hosted a talk at Town Hall Seattle on March 11th on Reining in the Surveillance Society. 
Published: 
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Recent public outcry for police accountability and reform has been sparked by an epidemic of police violence targeted disproportionately at people of color. Advocacy groups, the public, and the president alike have touted body worn cameras as a potential cure for police misconduct.  If officers wear cameras, runs the thinking, we would have a clear visual record of what actually happened and who was at fault in disputed encounters with civilians.
Published: 
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
By the end of the summer, the Spokane Police Department (SPD) will begin using officer-worn cameras as part of a pilot program. While the ACLU-WA has supported the use of body cameras for accountability purposes, we recently expressed concern that the SPD’s draft policies do not adequately protect individual privacy or ensure effective oversight.

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