Yes, the civil liberties group is divided. What else is new?
The justices had been asked to decide whether one of the last sex-based distinctions in federal law should survive now that women can serve in combat.
An organization that has defended the First Amendment rights of Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan is split by an internal debate over whether supporting progressive causes is more important.
Rental applications will no longer ask about criminal convictions, and landlords’ use of background checks will be limited.
Many of the decisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court have not seen the light of day. That’s irreconcilable with the Constitution.
As a senator, he backed legislation that led to mass incarceration and long drug sentences. Now his administration is signaling that he could use clemency to address inequities.
A.C.L.U. attorney Chase Strangio on the coordinated strategy behind the more than 100 anti-transgender bills introduced this year.
Boston Dynamics’ robot “dogs,” or similar versions thereof, are already being employed by police departments in Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York. Partly through the veil of experimentation, few answers are being given by these police forces about the benefits and costs of using these powerful surveillance devices.
The American Civil Liberties Union, in a position paper on CCOPS (community control over police surveillance), proposes an act to promote transparency and protect civil rights and liberties with respect to surveillance technology. To date, 19 U.S. cities in have passed CCOPS laws, which means, in practical terms, that virtually all other communities don’t have a requirement that police are transparent about their use of surveillance technologies.
For many, this ability to use new, unproven technologies in a broad range of ways presents a real danger. Stuart Watt, a world-renowned expert in artificial intelligence and the CTO of Turalt, is not amused.
Even seemingly fun and harmless “toys” have all the necessary functions and features to be weaponized.
“I am appalled both by the principle and the dogbots and of them in practice. It’s a big waste of money and a distraction from actual police work,” he said. “Definitely communities need to be engaged with. I am honestly not even sure what the police forces think the whole point is. Is it to discourage through a physical surveillance system, or is it to actually prepare people for some kind of enforcement down the line?
“Chunks of law enforcement have forgotten the whole ‘protect and serve’ thing, and do neither,” Watts added. “If they could use artificial intelligence to actually protect and actually serve vulnerable people, the homeless, folks addicted to drugs, sex workers, those in poverty and maligned minorities, it’d be tons better. If they have to spend the money on AI, spend it to help people.”
The ACLU is advocating exactly what Watt suggests. In proposed language to city councils across the nation, the ACLU makes it clear that:
The City Council shall only approve a request to fund, acquire, or use a surveillance technology if it determines the benefits of the surveillance technology outweigh its costs, that the proposal will safeguard civil liberties and civil rights, and that the uses and deployment of the surveillance technology will not be based upon discriminatory or viewpoint-based factors or have a disparate impact on any community or group.
From a legal perspective, Anthony Gualano, a lawyer and special counsel at Team Law, believes that CCOPS legislation makes sense on many levels.
“As police increase their use of surveillance technologies in communities around the nation, and the technologies they use become more powerful and effective to protect people, legislation requiring transparency becomes necessary to check what technologies are being used and how they are being used.”
For those not only worried about this Boston Dynamics dog, but all future incarnations of this supertech canine, the current legal climate is problematic because it essentially allows our communities to be testing grounds for Big Tech and Big Government to find new ways to engage.
Just last month, public pressure forced the New York Police Department to suspend use of a robotic dog, quite unassumingly named Digidog. After the tech hound was placed on temporary leave due to public pushback, the NYPD used it at a public housing building in March. This went over about as well as you could expect, leading to discussions as to the immediate fate of this technology in New York.
The New York Times phrased it perfectly, observing that “the NYPD will return the device earlier than planned after critics seized on it as a dystopian example of overly aggressive policing.”
While these bionic dogs are powerful enough to take a bite out of crime, the police forces seeking to use them have a lot of public relations work to do first. A great place to begin would be for the police to actively and positively participate in CCOPS discussions, explaining what the technology involves, and how it (and these robots) will be used tomorrow, next month and potentially years from now.
Lawyers’ request to conduct additional DNA testing before Ledell Lee was executed had been denied.
Some parents are opting to try, once again, the dangerous trek north to rejoin the children who were kept in the U.S. by the Trump administration.
A handful of parents from Mexico and Central America who were deported under the Trump administration’s family separation policy will be reunited this week with their children.
The justices struggled to determine how the First Amendment applies to public schools’ power to punish students for social media posts and other off-campus speech.
If you live in a community with a homeowners association, chances are good that you may be limited to just the Stars and Stripes.
Deployed at a public housing building, the device drew condemnation as a stark example of police power and misplaced priorities.
Advocates and Biden administration officials say finding their families is difficult with each passing day.
The plaintiff, a Lebanese-American, says he was barred from flying after refusing to become an F.B.I. informant.
The episode highlighted how murky new guidelines toward past use are, particularly for a White House that has pledged to embrace progressive positions.
There have been 25 state bills introduced this year that would prohibit transgender athletes, mainly women, from competing on teams matching their gender identity. Here’s what we know.
Activists are pushing President Biden to uphold a campaign promise to add the nonbinary designation “X” to federal IDs.
Restitution, mental health services and legal permanent residency are among the demands for compensation to families harmed by the Trump-era border policy.
In a video of the 2018 incident in Havre, Mont., a Border Patrol agent is heard telling the two American women he detains that speaking Spanish in the small city is “very unheard-of.”
Voters approved a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis in New Jersey, putting pressure on neighboring states like New York.
President Trump and his allies say they intend an aggressive challenge to how the votes are counted in key states, and Democrats are mobilizing to meet it.
An update to California’s groundbreaking privacy law falls short.
At least 2,000 law enforcement agencies have tools to get into encrypted smartphones, according to new research, and they are using them far more than previously known.
The first episode of of our four-part series, Stressed Election, focuses on voter suppression in Georgia, where a growing Black and Latino population is on the precipice of exercising its political voice, if they get the chance to vote.
In the early 1970s, a law professor named Ruth Bader Ginsburg took on a case that paved the way for a 15-year-old girl in New Jersey to play on a boys’ high school team.
As TikTok’s existential rollercoaster ride continues to rattle on, the company is trying to sway regulators and the public with a flood of dollars and arguments wrapped in free enterprise and free speech to ensure that its parent company Bytedance can retain control of its operations.
The push to validate its business comes as reports swirl around a potential Presidential ban and bid from Microsoft to take over the company’s business in the U.S.
As it confronts domestic competitors and political attacks, TikTok and its parent company Bytedance have picked up some defenders from the American civil rights movement.
“With any Internet platform, we should be concerned about the risk that sensitive private data will be funneled to abusive governments, including our own,” the ACLU wrote in a subsequent statement. “But shutting one platform down, even if it were legally possible to do so, harms freedom of speech online and does nothing to resolve the broader problem of unjustified government surveillance.”
Even as ownership of the service remains an open question, the company moved quickly to reassure its users that TikTok would continue to operate in the U.S.
The company is also redoubling its efforts to appeal to creators even as it faces defections over its potential mishandling of user data.
Founded in 2015, two years before TikTok began its explosive rise to prominence, Triller is backed by some of the biggest names in American music and entertainment including Snoop Dogg, The Weeknd, Marshmello, Lil Wayne, Juice WRLD, Young Thug, Kendrick Lamar, Baron Davis, Tyga, TI, Jake Paul and Troy Carter.
Now, TikTok stars Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, Noah Beck and Anthony Reeves are joining their ranks as investors and advisors. Richards, Johnson, Beck and Reeves are also being compensated by Triller, but the reason they cited for leaving the service are the security concerns from governments.
Triller is compensating Richards, Johnson, Beck, and Reeves, though the details of the deals are undisclosed. Despite that, the creators say they’re leaving TikTok because they’ve grown wary of the Chinese-owned company’s security practices.
“After seeing the U.S. and other countries’ governments’ concerns over TikTok—and given my responsibility to protect and lead my followers and other influencers—I followed my instincts as an entrepreneur and made it my mission to find a solution,” Richards, who’s assuming the title of chief strategy officer, told the LA Times.
TikTok has responded by announcing a dramatic increase in the company’s creator fund. Initially set at $200 million, in a blog post earlier this week, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer announced that the fund would reach $1 billion over the next three years.
TikTok’s charm offensive may stave off the assaults, but the company will need to address concerns around user data. It’s the most pressing threat to the company and the one it’s least equipped to deal with.
The Trump administration sent the stateless man who had served his sentence to an undisclosed country rather than defend never-before-used executive authority to keep holding him.
Adham Hassoun had completed a 15-year sentence in the United States on terrorism-related charges. Unable to deport him, the government sought to keep him in open-ended custody.
The new approach finds unlikely allies among some feminist scholars, who say colleges and universities were failing to sufficiently protect the rights of young men accused of sexual misconduct.
The case concerned a member of Sri Lanka’s Tamil ethnic minority who said he feared persecution and sought to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
The Supreme Court developed the doctrine that serves as a shield for officers. A half-century later, it is at the center of the debate over policing.
A new rule narrows the legal definition of sex discrimination in the Affordable Care Act. Major health care providers actively oppose it.
In a surprise blog post, Amazon said it will put the brakes on providing its facial recognition technology to police for one year, but refuses to say if the move applies to federal law enforcement agencies.
The moratorium comes two days after IBM said in a letter it was leaving the facial recognition market altogether. Arvind Krishna, IBM’s chief executive, cited a “pursuit of justice and racial equity” in light of the recent protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis last month.
Amazon’s statement — just 102 words in length — did not say why it was putting the moratorium in place, but noted that Congress “appears ready” to work on stronger regulations governing the use of facial recognition — again without providing any details. It’s likely in response to the Justice in Policing Act, a bill that would, if passed, restrict how police can use facial recognition technology.
“We hope this one-year moratorium might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules, and we stand ready to help if requested,” said Amazon in the unbylined blog post.
But the statement did not say if the moratorium would apply to the federal government, the source of most of the criticism against Amazon’s facial recognition technology. Amazon also did not say in the statement what action it would take after the yearlong moratorium expires.
Amazon is known to have pitched its facial recognition technology, Rekognition, to federal agencies, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Last year, Amazon’s cloud chief Andy Jassy said in an interview the company would provide Rekognition to “any” government department.
Amazon spokesperson Kristin Brown declined to comment further or say if the moratorium applies to federal law enforcement.
There are dozens of companies providing facial recognition technology to police, but Amazon is by far the biggest. Amazon has come under the most scrutiny after its Rekognition face-scanning technology showed bias against people of color.
In 2018, the ACLU found that Rekognition falsely matched 28 members of Congress as criminals in a mugshot database. Amazon criticized the results, claiming the ACLU had lowered the facial recognition system’s confidence threshold. But a year later, the ACLU of Massachusetts found that Rekognition had falsely matched 27 New England professional athletes against a mugshot database. Both tests disproportionately mismatched Black people, the ACLU found.
Investors brought a proposal to Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting almost exactly a year ago that would have forcibly banned Amazon from selling its facial recognition technology to the government or law enforcement. Amazon defeated the vote with a wide margin.
The ACLU acknowledged Amazon’s move to pause sales of Rekognition, which it called a “threat to our civil rights and liberties,” but called on the company and other firms to do more.
Half a decade after a spate of officer-involved deaths inspired widespread protest, many police unions are digging in to defend members.
Chaos in the streets and the ubiquity of cellphones have created a disturbing array of videos reflecting violent police behavior.
The organization filed the suit on behalf of a reporter who said he was hit in the face with a projectile shot by police as he was covering a protest.
The facial recognition start-up violated the privacy of Illinois residents by collecting their images without their consent, the civil liberties group says in a new lawsuit.
Newly released documents show U.S. immigration authorities have used a secretive cell phone snooping technology hundreds of times across the U.S. in the past three years.
The documents, obtained through a public records lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and seen by TechCrunch, show that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deployed cell site simulators — known as stingrays — at least 466 times between 2017 and 2019, which led to dozens of arrests and apprehensions. Previously obtained figures showed ICE used stingrays over 1,885 times over a four year period between 2013 and 2017.
The documents say that stingrays were not deployed for civil immigration investigations, like removals or deportations.
Although the numbers offer a rare insight into how often ICE uses this secretive and controversial technology, the documents don’t say how many Americans also had their phones inadvertently ensnared by these surveillance devices.
“We are all harmed by government practices that violate the Constitution and undermine civil liberties,” said Alexia Ramirez, a fellow with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “ICE’s use of cell site simulators affects all people, regardless of their immigration status.”
“When cell site simulators search for an individual, they necessarily also sweep in sensitive, private information about innocent bystanders,” said Ramirez. “This is part of the reason courts have said there are serious Fourth Amendment concerns with this technology.”
Stingrays impersonate cell towers and capture the calls, messages, location and in some cases data of every cell phone in their range. Developed by Harris Corp., stingrays are sold exclusively to law enforcement. But their purchase and use are covered under strict non-disclosure agreements that prevent police from discussing how the technology works. These agreements are notoriously prohibitive; prosecutors have dropped court cases rather than disclose details about the stingrays.
The newly released documents are heavily redacted documents and offer little more about what we know of how stingrays work. One document did, however, reveal for the first time the existence of Harris’ most recent stingray, Crossbow. An email from 2012 refers to Crossbow as the “latest, most technologically up-to-date version of a Stingray system.”
But the civil liberties group said its public records lawsuit is not over. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not yet turned over any documents sought by the ACLU, despite spending $2.5 million on buying at least 33 stingrays, according to a 2016 congressional oversight report.
“We are deeply skeptical of CBP’s assertion that they do not possess records about cell site simulators,” said Ramirez. “Given public information, the agency’s claim just doesn’t pass the sniff test.”
CBP has until June 12 to respond to the ACLU’s latest motion.
When reached, a spokesperson for CBP was unable to comment by our deadline. ICE did not respond to a request for comment.
A report by the civil liberties group contends that reliance on thermal cameras and temperature-sensing guns to resume work at factories and offices and to encourage travel is flawed and intrusive.
Like jails, ICE facilities are faced with tough decisions as to how to keep their dense populations safe.
Ms. Stephens, who was fired from her job in 2013 after she announced to her colleagues in a letter that she would begin living as a woman, won her case in the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Some conservative nonprofit groups are seeking financial help to weather the coronavirus crisis. Some liberal organizations are putting aside different qualms to make the same request.
Flattening the curve is now one of the most contentious issues in politics.
A federal appeals court had found that the policy, which was put in place early last year, violated federal and international law.