iOS app Android app

Fourth Amendment

Constitutional Rights in the Digital Age

Nancy Leong | Posted 07.19.2014 | Technology
Nancy Leong

Just as cell phones are different from ordinary physical objects, the Internet is dramatically different from earlier speech mediums. And the Court should acknowledge those differences in determining the scope of First Amendment protection for speech.

Big Data Policing in the Big Apple

Andrew Guthrie Ferguson | Posted 07.15.2014 | Technology
Andrew Guthrie Ferguson

What is predictive policing and how does it work? Predictive policing works by taking regularly recorded crime data -- location, time, and crime -- and inputting it all into sophisticated computer models that predict places of expected criminal activity.

Will Supremes Apply Cell Phone Privacy to Metadata Collection?

Marjorie Cohn | Posted 06.30.2014 | Politics
Marjorie Cohn

This decision may well presage how the Court will rule on the constitutionality of the NSA metadata collection program when that issue inevitably comes before it.

Friday Talking Points -- Courtin' Season

Chris Weigant | Posted 06.30.2014 | Politics
Chris Weigant

The end of June is an important time on the political calendar, but it is one which most Americans don't really think about all that much. It's hard to fault this, so let's take a quick run through the important decisions handed down in the past week.

The Supreme Court Rules With a Caveat in the Wings: Is Your Smartphone Public or Private?

Mark Weinstein | Posted 06.27.2014 | Technology
Mark Weinstein

It appears that Chief Justice Roberts feels that if a social media company states that they have access to view and analyze your posts, content, and relationships, then that ought to be fair game for the government (and law enforcement), too.

Shredding the Fourth Amendment in Post-Constitutional America

Peter Van Buren | Posted 06.26.2014 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

Previously unreasonable searches become reasonable ones under new government interpretations of the Fourth Amendment. Traditional tools of law, like subpoenas and warrants, continue to exist even as they morph into monstrous new forms.

One Court, Indivisible, Votes Liberty and Justice For All

Robert Scheer | Posted 06.26.2014 | Politics
Robert Scheer

This week's unanimous Supreme Court decision affirming a robust Fourth Amendment protection for cellphone data is an enormously important victory for privacy rights in the digital age.

Digital Privacy Rights Upheld in Landmark Cell Phone Case

Brian Levin, J.D. | Posted 06.25.2014 | Crime
Brian Levin, J.D.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that police may not search information on an arrested suspect's cell phone without an additional search warrant. In two cases from both coasts, consolidated into a single opinion the Court held that the privacy interests in protecting the tremendous amount of personal information stored on cell phones outweighs the government's interest to its immediate access by police, even after a suspect is lawfully arrested. The cases decided today forced the Court to analyze a centuries-old constitutional amendment in light of modern technological advances.

Stung: Government Disappears Stingray Spying Records

Peter Van Buren | Posted 06.19.2014 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

We've heard variations on the phrase "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" from the government for quite some time. It appears this may be true, at least if you are the government.

Rebooting Electronic Privacy Rights

Rep. John Conyers | Posted 06.13.2014 | Politics
Rep. John Conyers

The Email Privacy Act would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act for the digital age by requiring the government to get a warrant in order to access private online communications. This is practical reform every American can stand behind.

Court Revives Case Against SFO Police for Terrorizing Driver

Larry Bodine | Posted 05.29.2014 | Crime
Larry Bodine

Denise Green, a 47-year-old African-American woman with no criminal record, was driving her Lexus on Mission Street in San Francisco at 11:15 p.m. one night, when she passed a police "camera car" with an automatic license-plate reader.

TV News & Upworthy Are Transforming Us All Into Dumb, Ill-Informed, Simple-Minded Sheep

Michael Shammas | Posted 05.29.2014 | Media
Michael Shammas

For the first time in my life, I can confidently say that most news is not making us smarter -- it is making us dumber.

Democrats Need to Stop Dragging Feet On Email Privacy Reform

Sam Tracy | Posted 07.13.2014 | Politics
Sam Tracy

President Obama has still not responded to the 100,000+ Americans who signed the We the People petition demanding ECPA reform (it's been 152 days -- for comparison, a petition to build a Death Star got a response within 29 days.).

Snapchat's Big Lie to Americans

Mark Weinstein | Posted 07.12.2014 | Technology
Mark Weinstein

Which is worse: pursuing a scorched earth policy towards online privacy while claiming to "do no evil" or blatantly lying about yourself as an important online privacy application? I would vote for the latter.

Once Searched, Forever Seized: Why Cell Phone Searches Need a Warrant

Michael Price | Posted 07.05.2014 | Politics
Michael Price

How private is the data on your cell phone? That was the big question before the Supreme Court last week in a pair of cases, Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, with the potential for huge consequences for the future of information privacy.

Donald Sterling and Privacy

Peter Scheer | Posted 06.29.2014 | Politics
Peter Scheer

If the rules of fundamental decency, privacy and fairness can be suspended for Sterling, they can be suspended for all of us.

Hedges v. Obama: The Supreme Court Digs Its Head Deeper Into the Sand

Shahid Buttar | Posted 06.29.2014 | Politics
Shahid Buttar

On Monday the Supreme Court declined to consider Hedges v. Obama, a constitutional claim challenging a law that could enable the indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens -- within the U.S. -- without trial, charge, or evidence of crime. The decision is remarkable both for its implications for fundamental rights and for its reflection on judicial independence.

Federal Court: The Police Can Stop and Search You for Behaving Innocently

Larry Bodine | Posted 06.28.2014 | Crime
Larry Bodine

The police can now stop you for no reason at all. Law enforcement just needs to add a sinister context to your behavior, and off you go to jail.

I Have Nothing to Hide: Government Surveillance Does Not Concern Me

National Council of La Raza | Posted 06.09.2014 | Latino Voices
National Council of La Raza

By Irasema Garza, J.D., Policy Advisor, NCLR Policy Analysis Center The old adage that nothing is certain in life except for death and taxes is no lo...

Teach Law Outside of Law Schools

Michael Shammas | Posted 06.04.2014 | College
Michael Shammas

What if I told you that the most pertinent social science subject -- one that affects every single one of us every single day -- is taught to only a select few? That would be absurd, right? Well, unfortunately this is no fiction. It is the state of legal knowledge in America, and it is profoundly troubling.

'Just Salute and Follow Orders': When Secrecy and Surveillance Trump the Rule of Law

John W. Whitehead | Posted 06.01.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

Unfortunately, with so much of the public attention focused on the NSA's misdeeds, there is a tendency to forget that the NSA is merely one of a growing number of clandestine intelligence agencies tasked with spying on the American people.

Dissecting Obama's Proposed NSA Reforms

Peter Van Buren | Posted 05.28.2014 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

The reforms, even if enacted exactly as proposed or even slightly strengthened, only alter the security state in some minor and superficial ways. Our Fourth Amendment rights against unwarranted search and seizure remain jackbooted.

The Snowden Effect: A Web of Conflict

Brandi Andres | Posted 05.24.2014 | Technology
Brandi Andres

Should we punish whistleblowers when their best efforts are directed toward ensuring that our own government acts within the Constitution? Must we sacrifice liberty for safety? These questions lie at the heart of the argument at the center of the web.

Open Diplomacy, Wartime, and the Modern Surveillance State

Christopher McKnight Nichols | Posted 05.23.2014 | Politics
Christopher McKnight Nichols

The amorphous nature of wars since at least the dawn of the Cold War in the mid-1940s has meant that the U.S. has more or less been at war for generations. This, in turn, has precipitated the ever-burgeoning war-industrial-intelligence complex.

We Need a 'Do Not Track' List

Chris Weigant | Posted 05.12.2014 | Politics
Chris Weigant

Americans are now being tracked as they've never been tracked before. What is normal and accepted these days sounds like a tinfoil-hatted paranoiac's delusion from just a few decades ago, in fact.