Street-Level Surveillance

Street-Level Surveillance

EFF’s “Street-Level Surveillance” project shines light on the advanced surveillance technologies that law enforcement agencies routinely deploy in our communities.Every day, the threats to our rights expand as police use surveillance technologies to compile enormous databases filled with our personal information.

Can the Government Buy Its Way Around the Fourth Amendment?

Can the Government Buy Its Way Around the Fourth Amendment?

If you’ve been following privacy issues at all in recent years, you know that websites and smartphone apps are sharing your detailed location information with data brokers and advertisers.

Man who refused to decrypt hard drives is free after four years in jail

Man who refused to decrypt hard drives is free after four years in jail

Francis Rawls, a former police officer, had been in jail since 2015, when a federal judge held him in contempt for failing to decrypt two hard drives taken from his home.

U.K. Police Will Soon be able to Search Through U.S. Data Without Asking a Judge

U.K. Police Will Soon be able to Search Through U.S. Data Without Asking a Judge

If it isn’t stopped, the worst parts of this deal will likely come standard on future agreements, and Americans will be subject to more and more searches by foreign police.TELL CONGRESS TO STOP THE U.S.-U.K. CLOUD ACT DEAL.

EFF Report Shows FBI Is Failing to Address First Amendment Harms Caused By National Security Letters

EFF Report Shows FBI Is Failing to Address First Amendment Harms Caused By National Security Letters

Today, EFF is publishing “The Failed Fix to NSL Gag Orders,” a new report based on an in-depth analysis of records EFF obtained after we won a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit earlier this year.

Suspect can’t be compelled to reveal “64-character” password, court rules

Suspect can’t be compelled to reveal “64-character” password, court rules

Writing for the majority in a ruling handed down on Wednesday, Justice Debra Todd wrote: Based upon these cases rendered by the United States Supreme Court regarding the scope of the Fifth Amendment, we conclude that compelling the disclosure of a password to a computer, that is, the act of production, is testimonial.

Victory: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Police Can’t Force You to Tell Them Your Password

Victory: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Police Can’t Force You to Tell Them Your Password

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a forceful opinion today holding that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being forced to disclose the passcode to their devices to the police.

Federal court rules that the Fourth Amendment protects your laptops and smartphones from suspicionless searches at the border

Federal court rules that the Fourth Amendment protects your laptops and smartphones from suspicionless searches at the border

This court decision comes as a result of years of hard work by the ACLU, the ACLU of Massachusetts and the EFF on behalf of eleven international travelers who had been the recipient of suspicionless device searches when entering the United States.

Cops Need a Warrant to Access Your Car's Data, Court Rules

Cops Need a Warrant to Access Your Car's Data, Court Rules

The court’s ruling is the first time a state Supreme Court has recognized the potential danger to privacy and constitutional rights created by allowing access to car data without judicial oversight.

Secret Court Rules That the FBI’s “Backdoor Searches” of Americans Violated the Fourth Amendment

Secret Court Rules That the FBI’s “Backdoor Searches” of Americans Violated the Fourth Amendment

After the government appealed, the FISC allowed the FBI to continue to use backdoor searches to invade people’s privacy—even in investigations that may have nothing to do with national security or foreign intelligence—so long as it follows what the appeals court called a “modest ministerial procedure.” Basically, this means requiring FBI agents to document more clearly why they were searching the giant 702 databases for information about Americans.

Another Federal Court Allows Warrantless Cellphone Searches at U.S. Border

Another Federal Court Allows Warrantless Cellphone Searches at U.S. Border

Unlike probable cause, which is the standard required for obtaining a search warrant, reasonable suspicion is a more lenient rule that lets law enforcement officials conduct searches without getting a warrant first.

Victory: Oakland City Council Votes to Ban Government Use of Face Surveillance

Victory: Oakland City Council Votes to Ban Government Use of Face Surveillance

On the same day that Oakland’s City Council voted to ban government use of the technology, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 3494) that would require the Director of National Intelligence to report on the use of face surveillance by intelligence agencies.

The Lofgren-Amash Amendment Would Check Warrantless Surveillance

The Lofgren-Amash Amendment Would Check Warrantless Surveillance

Specifically, their amendment would withhold money [PDF] intended to fund Section 702 unless the government commits not to knowingly collect the data of people communicating from within the U.S. to other U.S. residents, and who are not specifically communicating with a foreign surveillance target.

We just got a chance to finally force Congress to do something about the NSA surveillance programs that Edward Snowden exposed -- and maybe even facial recognition too -- but we have to act fast

We just got a chance to finally force Congress to do something about the NSA surveillance programs that Edward Snowden exposed -- and maybe even facial recognition too -- but we have to act fast

Tlaib-Pressley Amendment #91: States none of the funds in this Act available to the Department of Housing and Urban Development may be used to purchase, lease, or otherwise utilize facial or other biometric recognition software, hardware or system.

Opinion | He Won a Landmark Case for Privacy Rights. He’s Going to Prison Anyway.

Opinion | He Won a Landmark Case for Privacy Rights. He’s Going to Prison Anyway.

But under the good-faith exception to violations of the Fourth Amendment, the court said the agents acted reasonably and in “good faith” — and so whatever they gathered could still be used at trial.

America Under Watch

America Under Watch

African Americans are simultaneously more likely to be enrolled in face recognition databases and the targets of police surveillance use.

Reddit Commenter's Fight for Anonynmity Is a Win for Free Speech and Fair Use

Reddit Commenter's Fight for Anonynmity Is a Win for Free Speech and Fair Use

Accordingly, Watch Tower’s subpoena could not pass the well-established “Doe” test, which allows a party to use the courts to pierce anonymity only where they can show that their claims are valid and also that the balance of harms favors disclosure.

Privacy researchers push back on judge’s order to destroy NYPD public records

Privacy researchers push back on judge’s order to destroy NYPD public records

Privacy researchers obtained documents about the New York City Police Department’s use of facial recognition technology through a public records lawsuit. Any time a government agency orders documents that were obtained legally to be returned or destroyed is a threat to freedom of information and constitutional rights of reporters everywhere.

A court ruling ‘chalking’ illegal could make way for more privacy-invasive tech

A court ruling ‘chalking’ illegal could make way for more privacy-invasive tech

The city initially won but the U.S. Sixth Circuit Appeals Court reversed the decision, said that chalking is a form of trespass that requires a warrant, similar to attaching a tracker to a car to monitor its real-time location, according to the court’s ruling.

Court Says Using Chalk On Tires For Parking Enforcement Violates Constitution

Court Says Using Chalk On Tires For Parking Enforcement Violates Constitution

"Trespassing upon a privately-owned vehicle parked on a public street to place a chalk mark to begin gathering information to ultimately impose a government sanction is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment," Taylor's lawyer, Philip Ellison, wrote in a court filing.

Utah Bans Police From Searching Digital Data Without A Warrant, Closes Fourth Amendment Loophole

Utah Bans Police From Searching Digital Data Without A Warrant, Closes Fourth Amendment Loophole

Under the Electronic Information or Data Privacy Act (HB 57), state law enforcement can only access someone’s transmitted or stored digital data (including writing, images, and audio) if a court issues a search warrant based on probable cause.

23 Tech Companies Back CCPA Amendment to Make It Stronger: Privacy for All Act of 2019

23 Tech Companies Back CCPA Amendment to Make It Stronger: Privacy for All Act of 2019

The pro-privacy law sets a new standard of trust online in the U.S., requiring companies doing business in California with revenues over $25 million or who process information from over 50,000 residents a year to comply with a new set of personal information rights.

Net Neutrality Bill Passes Crucial Committee Vote

Net Neutrality Bill Passes Crucial Committee Vote

The Save the Internet Act would lock into law the protections for net neutrality that came in the 2015 Open Internet Order and require the FCC to take action when ISPs give unfair preferential treatment to certain types of content or content sources.

ACLU: Apple employee was illegally harassed by U.S. Customs over company devices

ACLU: Apple employee was illegally harassed by U.S. Customs over company devices

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California filed a complaint Tuesday on behalf of top Apple employee Andreas Gal, who says he was illegally harassed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials when he asked to speak to a lawyer before they could search his company devices.

Google Helps Government Conduct Warrantless Searches, Alleges EPIC

Google Helps Government Conduct Warrantless Searches, Alleges EPIC

EPIC argues that Google or other companies could use similar algorithms to scan not just for images of exploited children, but also for other purposes such as determining if files contain religious views, political opinions, or “banned books.”.

Nevada considers technology to scan cellphones after crashes

Nevada considers technology to scan cellphones after crashes

(AP) — Most states ban texting behind the wheel, but a legislative proposal could make Nevada one of the first states to allow police to use a contentious technology to find out if a person was using a cellphone during a car crash.

Germany considers amendment to law which makes it illegal to run a Tor node or website

Germany considers amendment to law which makes it illegal to run a Tor node or website

PIA believes this proposed amendment to the German Criminal Code is not just bad for Tor, which was named specifically, but also for online privacy as a whole – and we’re not the only ones.

The Government Cannot Force E-mail Companies to Copy and Save Your Account ‘Just in Case’

The Government Cannot Force E-mail Companies to Copy and Save Your Account ‘Just in Case’

Section 2703(f) takes advantage of the stored nature of digital communications by requiring providers to actively copy and store communications and other account data, interfering with the owner’s privacy and property rights and creating a database of private information kept just in case law enforcement decides to come back with a warrant later.

Highest Court in Indiana Set to Decide If You Can Be Forced to Unlock Your Phone

Highest Court in Indiana Set to Decide If You Can Be Forced to Unlock Your Phone

It’s well settled that the privilege protects against “testimonial” communications, which a 1957 Supreme Court case describes as those that require a person to disclose “ the contents of his own mind .” It’s also clear that nonverbal acts can be testimonial, such as being forced to respond truthfully to police questioning with a “ nod or headshake ,” or to produce a gun that police believe was used in a crime.

Rep. Gabbard Earns A+ Rating for Protecting Civil Liberties, Open Internet

Rep. Gabbard Earns A+ Rating for Protecting Civil Liberties, Open Internet

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was recognized on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, as a champion for protecting a free and open internet and civil liberties, earning an A+ rating from Restore The Fourth and Fight for the Future .