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We can be pretty sure that each new day will bring two things: new threats to our civil liberties, and new stories of people standing up for their rights and winning. Behind every court ruling is a person. Behind every landmark law is a movement. Read the stories and hear the voices that ground our work.

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Blog

Microsoft Says it Supports Racial Justice. Will it Refuse to Power Discriminatory Police Surveillance?

Jun 10, 2020
As major tech companies rush to claim solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, they’re being rightfully called out for the ways their products and workplace conditions actively undermine the rights and safety of Black people. IBM has listened and stopped development of face recognition, a technology that supercharges police surveillance and has repeatedly been shown to disproportionately m... Read More
facial recognition
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Hey Clearview, Your Misleading PR Campaign Doesn’t Make Your Face Surveillance Product Any Less Dystopian

Feb 10, 2020
In the last few weeks, a company called Clearview has been in the news for marketing a reckless and invasive facial recognition tool to law enforcement. The company claims the tool can identify people in billions of photos nearly instantaneously. And Exhibit A in support of their claim to law enforcement that their app is accurate? An “accuracy test” that Clearview boasts was modeled on the ACLU’s... Read More
Police body cam
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California Just Blocked Police Body Cam Use of Face Recognition

Oct 11, 2019
The state of California just made it clear: Face recognition surveillance isn’t inevitable. We can — and should — fight hard to protect our communities from this dystopian technology. Building on San Francisco’s first-of-its-kind ban on government face recognition, California this week enacted a landmark law that blocks police from using body cameras for spying on the public. The state-wide law... Read More
Traffic Cameras
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Records Reveal ICE Agents Run Thousands of License Plate Queries a Month in Massive Location Database

Jun 05, 2019
On February 27, 2018, at 4:54 p.m., a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent typed a query into a database of driver locations collected by automated license plate readers across the United States. The license plate database returned nine results. As an explanation for why ICE was searching the database, the agent gave the following reason: "ADMINISTRATIVE SPOUSE OF TARGET" This was ... Read More
Family Photo Face Surveillance Pic
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Your Personal Information is Yours, Not the Raw Material for Surveillance Technology

May 09, 2019
The information that you share with a company should not be repurposed or sold without your consent. But companies are building algorithms from massive repositories of personal information, collected from people who are not told about how the company will use their information. A recent report revealed a troubling example of this invasive practice. A Silicon Valley-based company called Ever app... Read More
Global entry kiosks at airport
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No One Should Have to Travel in Fear

Apr 02, 2019
I’ve worked for Silicon Valley companies for more than a decade and international travel is a necessary part of my job. I’ve had my fair share of delays and missed connections, but one thing I’ve never experienced while traveling in airports is fear. That changed last December when I returned from a business trip to Europe. Going through customs is usually routine for me. I signed up for the Gl... Read More
 Graphic - 94% of Californians Support Privacy for All
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Will California lawmakers vote to protect Californians’ privacy or tech industry profits?

Mar 27, 2019
Last year, California lawmakers passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a new law to strengthen consumer privacy protections. A few weeks ago, newly-elected Oakland Assemblymember Buffy Wicks introduced AB 1760: Privacy for All, to add critical improvements to current law and ensure privacy is a right we can all exercise in California – and pave the way for other states to do the same –... Read More
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Facebook Settles Civil Rights Cases by Making Sweeping Changes to Its Online Ad Platform

Mar 19, 2019
The ACLU, along with our client Communications Workers of America and other civil rights groups, announced a historic settlement agreement with Facebook that will result in major changes to Facebook’s advertising platform. Advertisers will no longer be able to exclude users from learning about opportunities for housing, employment, or credit based on gender, age, or other protected characteristics... Read More
police camera
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Documents Reveal ICE Using Driver Location Data From Local Police for Deportations

Mar 13, 2019
UPDATE: The Union City Police Department informed the ACLU that it does not operate license plate cameras and has no license plate detection data to share with ICE. Union City provided a recent sharing report and screenshots showing that ICE is not listed as a sharing partner and that Union City has not contributed “detections” data to the LEARN database. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcemen... Read More
security camera on a ceiling
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Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Are at Odds on the Dangers of Face Recognition. One of Them Is on the Right Path.

Jan 25, 2019
A top Google executive recently sent a shot across the bow of its competitors regarding face surveillance. Kent Walker, the company's general counsel and senior vice president of global affairs, made it clear that Google — unlike Amazon and Microsoft — will not sell a face recognition product until the technology's potential for abuse is addressed. Face recognition, powered by artificial intell... Read More
FBI Building
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The FBI ‘Can Neither Confirm nor Deny’ That It Monitors Your Social Media Posts

Jan 17, 2019
In recent years, the federal government has significantly ramped up its efforts to monitor people on social media. The FBI, for one, has repeatedly acknowledged that it engages in surveillance of social media posts. So it was surprising when the bureau responded to our Freedom of Information Act request on this kind of surveillance by saying that it “can neither confirm nor deny the existence of r... Read More