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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.

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Topic Resources

News Release, Published: 
Friday, April 4, 2014
The ACLU-WA is deeply disappointed that the Governor has vetoed a carefully considered bill to regulate government use of drones. The action was a missed opportunity to uphold the state’s strong tradition of privacy, and protect all Washingtonians from government surveillance. 
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
EHB 2789, legislation that puts reasonable regulations in place for government use of drones in Washington state, has passed the Senate with a 46-1 vote, and the House has concurred with a bipartisan 77-21 vote.  The bill has gone to the Governor to be signed into law.
Published: 
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The ACLU has long been concerned about the use of facial recognition systems and the broad fishing expeditions for which they can be used.  That’s why the ACLU of Washington worked hard to change the Seattle Police Department’s proposed policy for the Booking Photo Comparison Software (BPCS).
Published: 
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Ben Wizner is director of the ACLU’s national Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, and is a legal advisor to Edward Snowden.  He has visited Snowden in Moscow and communicates with him over encrypted channels.  Wizner was in Seattle recently and spoke to KUOW host David Hyde on “The Record” about privacy in the digital age.
News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
The Washington State House has passed HB 2789, a bill which puts reasonable regulations in place for government use of drones in Washington state. The measure passed overwhelmingly with strong bipartisan support by an 83-15 vote.
Published: 
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
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.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, July 29, 2013
The ACLU of Washington is urging that the Spokane City Council strengthen a proposal for City acquisition of surveillance equipment.
Published: 
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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.
Published: 
Monday, June 17, 2013
Goverment power that operates unchecked behind closed doors is inevitably abused. The recent disclosures about the secret NSA surveillance programs prove this maxim.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, March 18, 2013
The ACLU of Washington welcomes the proposal to establish a process for the acquisition of surveillance technology by the City of Seattle. Transparency and opportunities for public input are essential , as we have seen recently with controversies generated by the City’s acquisition of drones and  also a system of surveillance cameras and a mesh network.

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