Privacy & Technology

The bedrock of our democracy, the Constitution, guarantees the right to privacy and free speech. Unchecked government surveillance intrudes upon Americans' right to privacy, dangerously chilling speech and political dissent. We take pride in monitoring the interplay between technology and civil liberties, promoting uses of technology that enhance privacy and freedom, while opposing those that undermine freedoms and move us closer to a surveillance society.

Muskegon Joins Nationwide Push for Community Control Over Police Surveillance

Muskegon Joins Nationwide Push for Community Control Over Police Surveillance

2016-09-21 00:00:00

MUSKEGON—Muskegon city officials announced today that they are launching legislative efforts to bring transparency to the acquisition and use of local police surveillance technologies for the first time. The measures, which are influenced by a set of guiding principles released by a diverse coalition of 17 national organizations today, include mandating city commission approval and a public hearing process that maximizes community input into surveillance technology decisions.

ACLU Stands with Apple As Tech Company Resists Government Demand to Unlock iPhone

ACLU Stands with Apple As Tech Company Resists Government Demand to Unlock iPhone

2016-02-17 00:00:00

NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union said today that it would support Apple’s legal fight against a court order to help the government unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the people responsible for the San Bernardino shootings.

Alex Abdo, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, had this comment:

Campaign to #TakeCTRL of Online Privacy in Michigan, Nationwide

Campaign to #TakeCTRL of Online Privacy in Michigan, Nationwide

2016-01-21 00:00:00

What do Pennsylvania high school student Blake Robbins, Mississippi middle school student Richard Wade, Maryland Division of Corrections Officer Robert Collins, and Kim Kardashian-West all have in common? 

I suspect most people would guess nothing, but that would be wrong. It turns out they have a common affliction that impacts nearly everyone living in the digital age. Yes, that’s right, you probably have it too. Let’s take a look.

Local Government Transparency on Surveillance

Local Government Transparency on Surveillance

2015-03-24 00:00:00

Given the rapid pace of technological change, it can be hard for citizens to know what surveillance equipment is being used by their local governments, particularly police departments. Too often, new surveillance technologies are purchased and used without adequate consideration of the privacy implications, leaving policymakers scrambling to retroactively design limits when abuses come to light. To address these issues, the ACLU’s West Michigan Lawyers Committee worked with the City of Grand Rapids to develop a proactive city privacy policy. The policy, which was adopted in March 2015, requ

Cell Phone Location Tracking Without a Warrant

Cell Phone Location Tracking Without a Warrant

2016-04-13 00:00:00

In the age of smart phones, information that is automatically collected by cell phone towers has the potential to reveal an enormous amount of personal information about our whereabouts, including the types of doctors we see, how often we attend church, and whose houses we sleep in at night.  In March 2015 the ACLU led a coalition of public interest groups in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that such information should not be available to law enforcement unless it is obtained through a search warrant signed by a judge. 

State Police Using Cellphone Spy Gear to Catch Criminals

State Police Using Cellphone Spy Gear to Catch Criminals

2015-10-23 00:00:00

State police in Michigan have been secretly using hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of cell site simulator equipment to locate and track cell phones since at least 2006, according to records obtained by the ACLU and ACLU of Michigan. And although the agency justified its initial purchase of the surveillance gear as "vital to the war on terrorism," the records show that the department used its cell site simulators in 128 run-of-the-mill investigations last year—not a single one of which was for terrorism. The records also highlight the continuing problem of excessive secrecy about use of this invasive tracking equipment.

Cell site simulators, commonly known as Stingrays, can precisely locate and track phones by mimicking cell phone towers and forcing phones in the area to transmit their unique identifying information. Because these devices raise serious privacy concerns, the ACLU has been tracking their purchase and use by law enforcement agencies across the country.

The records show that the State Police spent more than $200,000 in 2006 to purchase a Stingray, Kingfish, and related cellular tracking equipment. That purchase was paid for by a federal Department of Homeland Security grant. In a document justifying the purchase, MSP asserted, "This equipment will allow the State to track the physical location of a suspected terrorist who is using wireless communications as part of their operation." Yet, according to a January 2015 breakdown of one year's worth of Stingray deployments, that's not how the technology is being deployed. Out of 128 investigations where MSP used Stingrays in 2014, 42 were related to homicides, 30 for burglaries and robberies, 12 for assaults, 11 for missing persons, and the rest for a mix of offenses including drug crimes, obstructing police, and fraud. Not a single terrorism investigation among them.

READ MORE: ACLU National

Campaign for a Modern Fourth Amendment

Technological innovation has outpaced our privacy protections. As a result, our digital footprint can be tracked by the government and corporations in ways that were once unthinkable.

This digital footprint is constantly growing, containing more and more data about the most intimate aspects of our lives. This includes our communications, whereabouts, online searches, purchases, and even our bodies. When the government has easy access to this information, we lose more than just privacy and control over our information. Free speech, security, and equality suffer as well.

Statement on Appointment of Bush Administration Attorney to Michigan Supreme Court

Statement on Appointment of Bush Administration Attorney to Michigan Supreme Court

2015-10-01 00:00:00

DETROIT – In a press conference today, Governor Rick Snyder officially announced his appointment of University of Michigan legal professor Joan Larsen to the Michigan Supreme Court. From January 2002 through May 2003, Larsen served as deputy assistant U.S. attorney general in the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel. During her tenure, the OLC weakened the rule of law by issuing several legal opinions authorizing torture, indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping, and other abuses of power.

Pages

PubPeer.com is an online forum for scientific discussion and critique of published research.  Many of its participants comment anonymously so that they need...
April 13, 2016
In the age of smart phones, information that is automatically collected by cell phone towers has the potential to reveal an enormous amount of personal...
March 24, 2015
Given the rapid pace of technological change, it can be hard for citizens to know what surveillance equipment is being used by their local governments,...
ANN ARBOR – In a letter to Ann Arbor Public Schools today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan threatened to sue the school district unless the...
July 06, 2007
CINCINNATI - In a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today dismissed a legal challenge to the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance...
August 19, 2006 Prisoner Rights
Detroit — In an American Civil Liberties Union case, a federal court today ruled that the Bush administration’s program to monitor the phone calls and e-mails...
Michigan lawmakers will return to the Capitol this week seeking to make the second and final year of this 98th legislature one in which both they and their...
April 10, 2014
The ACLU maintains a presence in Lansing that enables us to pass policies that expand civil liberties or prevent the passage of policies that are hostile to...
April 10, 2014
The ACLU maintains a presence in Lansing that enables us to pass policies that expand civil liberties or prevent the passage of policies that are hostile to...
April 10, 2014
The ACLU maintains a presence in Lansing that enables us to pass policies that expand civil liberties or prevent the passage of policies that are hostile to...
October 20, 2015 Privacy, surveillance, technology
Technological innovation has outpaced our privacy protections. As a result, our digital footprint can be tracked by the government and corporations in ways...
MUSKEGON—Muskegon city officials announced today that they are launching legislative efforts to bring transparency to the acquisition and use of local police...
February 17, 2016 Apple, iPhone, San Bernardino shooting
NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union said today that it would support Apple’s legal fight against a court order to help the government unlock an...
Michigan lawmakers will return to the Capitol this week seeking to make the second and final year of this 98th legislature one in which both they and their...
State police in Michigan have been secretly using hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of cell site simulator equipment to locate and track cell phones...
October 01, 2015 Flint Water Crisis
FLINT, Mich. - In response to the ongoing drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, a coalition of local citizens and national groups petitioned the...
October 01, 2015
DETROIT – In a press conference today, Governor Rick Snyder officially announced his appointment of University of Michigan legal professor Joan Larsen to the...
September 23, 2015 Flint Water Crisis
Despite complaints about the water by residents, Flint city officials have insisted that the city's water is safe. But when ACLU of Michigan investigative...
March 13, 2015 This Week Online
 The ACLU of Michigan is tracking hundreds of legal cases and pieces of legislation that impact your civil liberties at any given moment, covering all concerns...
March 10, 2015
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has become the latest federal appeals court to consider the question of whether law enforcement needs a warrant before it...
February 26, 2015 #TBT
With a history of civil liberties stretching back almost a century, the ACLU has got plenty of amazing cases for #TBT. Every Thursday, we'll be sharing updates...
February 13, 2015 This Week Online
Jacques: Michigan Laws Make Criminals of Us All (Detroit News) Because of Michigan's extensive penal code, however, many everyday activities can cross over...
February 12, 2015 #TBT
With a history of civil liberties stretching back almost a century, the ACLU has got plenty of amazing cases for #TBT. Every Thursday, we'll be sharing updates...
January 30, 2015 This Week Online
ACLU of Michigan to sue Detroit's Campus Martius Park for 'assault' on visitors' constitutional rights (MLive) The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan...
December 11, 2014
We are the founders of PubPeer.com, an online forum for scientific discussion of research scholarship. We and many of the users of our website are anonymous....
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office recently became the first in Michigan to purchase a Hailstorm device, an incredibly powerful surveillance tool typically...
July 25, 2013
So, you are walking down the block when you see a police officer arresting someone and pull out your phone to take a video of the scene. There’s nothing wrong...
June 14, 2013 Weekly Rights Review
From couples trying to adopt children and to people on hard times: we're fighting discrimination against innocent people in Michigan. This week, hear up-to-the...
June 09, 2013 Weekly Rights Review
Revelations about civil rights violations have been bountiful this past week. We have discovered that black people are arrested for marijuana possession at a...
March 29, 2013 Weekly Rights Review
Did all your Facebook friends turn into math fans this week? If you find the = sign all over Facebook profile pics this week, know that it’s a show of support...
August 28, 2012 Government Surveillance
LANSING, Mich. – In a comprehensive report released today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan asks the City of Lansing to remove all government...
October 20, 2011 Government Surveillance
NEW YORK – The FBI has been targeting American communities for investigation based on race, ethnicity, national origin and religion according to documents...
September 07, 2011 Privacy, surveillance, 9/11, CIA
Ten years after the devastating attacks that took place on September 11, 2001, the ACLU joins all Americans in remembering the unspeakable losses suffered on...
August 05, 2011 Weekly Rights Review
Our justice system should be a place where freedom has no price and equality prevails. Sometimes reality falls short of these lofty goals, and it's often the...
July 21, 2011
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan today sued the FBI and Department of Justice for records related to the FBI's use of race...
July 13, 2011
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a lawsuit today demanding that the government turn over...
June 27, 2011
DETROIT – In a victory for free speech, a Macomb County Court upheld the right of a blogger to remain anonymous and criticize the City of Warren’s assistant...
June 10, 2011 Weekly Rights Review
On this date in 1964, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law to address gender-based discrimination in the workplace. Now nearly 50 years...
May 27, 2011 Weekly Rights Review
Summer seems to have finally settled in just in time to soak up some sun in downtown Detroit's Hart Plaza. This weekend, be sure to come out and show your...
April 21, 2011 Weekly Rights Review
With incredible cases and an amazing amount of support from civil liberties fans, it seems like we've been working around the clock. This week we're trying to...
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan urged the Michigan State Police (MSP) today to release information regarding the use of portable...
April 11, 2011
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan demanded that school officials at John Glenn High School stop viewpoint-based censorship...
April 01, 2011 Your Weekly Rights Review
Spring has finally come to Michigan. Before we go bask in the warmth, let's take a look at the women of Wal-Mart, hear news from the medical marijuana front...
March 29, 2011
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan sent letters to Rochester High School and public high schools across the country today...
July 27, 2010
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today asked the FBI to turn over records related to the agency’s collection and use of race and...
March 31, 2010 Breast Cancer
Let’s liberate the breast cancer genes! I’ll bet you didn’t know that they needed liberating, but until this week, private corporations could actually patent...
March 30, 2010
DETROIT – Patents on genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are invalid, ruled a New York federal court yesterday. The precedent-setting...
June 16, 2009 Detroit
U.S. terrorism finance laws and policies unfairly prevent Muslims around the nation from practicing their religion through charitable giving and undermine...
September 14, 2008
DETROIT - The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan grieves with the rest of the nation, and world, over the devastating loss of life resulting from the...
July 03, 2008
DETROIT As the Senate debates a major overhaul of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan called on...
ANN ARBOR – In a letter to Ann Arbor Public Schools today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan threatened to sue the school district unless the...
December 12, 2007
DETROIT – Citing privacy concerns, the American Civil Liberties Union today released a report urging policy makers to closely monitor the expansion of new...
November 28, 2007 Privacy
ANN ARBOR — In an effort to stop the installation of 53 surveillance cameras at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, the American Civil Liberties Union of...
October 30, 2007
Detroit – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today applauded the State House of Representatives for passing a resolution that rejects participation...
October 03, 2007
Washington - The American Civil Liberties Union along with the ACLU of Michigan urged the U.S. Supreme Court today to review a legal challenge to the Bush...
September 05, 2007 Privacy
Today, most Michigan high school students and their parents are probably thinking about getting a new routine down pat, juggling work and school schedules, and...
August 10, 2007
Democratic “leaders” have crossed the line and betrayed the will of the majority who put them in power in 2006. This week, a timid Congress caved in to...
August 02, 2007
DETROIT -- President Bush has launched a “fear offensive” to pressure Congress into legalizing the warrantless wiretapping program of the National Security...
July 24, 2007
The supporters of Real ID are making a last ditch effort to save the embattled program. As part of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, to...
July 06, 2007
CINCINNATI - In a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today dismissed a legal challenge to the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance...
May 17, 2007
DETROIT -- The American Civil Liberties Union today welcomed the introduction of two state resolutions to oppose REAL ID authored by Representative John...
January 31, 2007
CINCINNATI - At a federal appeals court hearing, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan argued that the president broke the law by...
December 07, 2006
Detroit — The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today filed a lawsuit against two Lansing police officers on behalf of a Lansing resident who was...
November 14, 2006
DETROIT - The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan today urged a federal appeals court to uphold a lower court ruling declaring the...
October 27, 2006 Patriot Act
Citing Improvements to Law, ACLU Withdraws Section 215 Case and Vows to Fight Individual Orders DETROIT — Citing improvements to the law, the American Civil...
September 28, 2006 Due Process
Detroit — The Michigan Public Service Commission in Lansing will hear oral arguments tomorrow on the phone companies’ request to dismiss the American Civil...
July 18, 2006
The American Civil Liberties Union and over forty other non-governmental organizations appeared today to monitor testimony delivered by the United States...
June 12, 2006 Government Surveillance
ACLU says, "No One is Above the Law, Not Even the President" DETROIT — The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan appeared in federal court...
June 09, 2006
DETROIT – The ACLU of Michigan has joined a coalition of more than 20 organizations nationwide in opposition of the illegal spying program conducted by the...
June 06, 2006
This weekend, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and Cooley Law School will present two town hall meetings entitled “Spying, Secrecy and...
May 24, 2006
DETROIT -- Responding to reports that phone companies are enabling illegal government spying by turning over private details about Americans’ telephone calls...
Agree to stop breath tests of minors without warrants DETROIT – In response to an ACLU lawsuit, Mount Pleasant and Isabella County have agreed to stop forcing...
March 09, 2006 Government Surveillance
DETROIT — Saying that the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping of Americans is flatly illegal and unconstitutional, the American Civil Liberties Union...
January 17, 2006
DETROIT – Saying that the Bush administration’s illegal spying on Americans must end, the American Civil Liberties Union today filed a first-of-its-kind...
November 17, 2005
Calls to Congress Needed TODAY https://secure.aclu.org/callnow/readmore.html Eager for a public success, the Bush Administration has strong-armed lawmakers...
August 29, 2005
DETROIT -- The American Civil Liberties Union today released an FBI document that designates a Michigan-based peace group and an affirmative action advocacy...
April 13, 2005 Work Place Rights
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan announced its full support for the "employee protection privacy act," new legislation introduced in...
April 04, 2005 Privacy
DETROIT – In a victory for student rights, a panel of federal judges ruled today that the strip search conducted on more than twenty students at Whitmore Lake...
March 07, 2005
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan learned today that the Michigan State Police (MSP) will no longer participate in the Multi-State Anti-...
February 04, 2005
DETROIT – A judge ruled today that an American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan lawsuit against the Michigan State Police (MSP) will not be dismissed and can...
February 03, 2005
DETROIT – A hearing will be held this week to determine if an American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan lawsuit against the Michigan State Police (MSP) will...
December 02, 2004
DETROIT – Suspecting that law enforcement is spying on political and faith-based groups, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today filed Freedom of...
August 03, 2004
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a lawsuit late yesterday on behalf of the organization and three individuals, including former Michigan...
June 10, 2004 Privacy
DETROIT – At a news conference this morning, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan announced a challenge to a policy that has allowed the Detroit...
May 26, 2004
DETROIT - The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today urged Congress and the American people to reject the latest call by the Bush administration to...
May 20, 2004
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today requested that the state police issue a formal ruling explaining why they believe that the “...
May 20, 2004
DETROIT – Attorney General Ashcroft’s widely publicized announcement last September that a provision expanding the powers of the FBI had not yet been used may...
March 17, 2004
On Thursday, March 18, the House Joint Appropriations Committee will discuss the MATRIX (Multi State Anti Terrorism Information Exchange) system, a program...
February 17, 2004
DETROIT— Following a news report released yesterday in which the Michigan State Police admit that it has released information to a multistate police database,...
November 26, 2003 Due Process
The American Civil Liberties Union will present arguments in the first case to review the constitutionality of a controversial section of the PATRIOT Act. The...
November 03, 2003
NEW YORK – Fear of the PATRIOT Act has caused a dramatic decline in memberships and donations at mosques and forced a church-sponsored group that aids refugees...
October 30, 2003
NEW YORK—The American Civil Liberties Union today filed simultaneous state “Freedom of Information Act” requests in Michigan, Connecticut, New York, Ohio and...
August 19, 2003 Patriot Act
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union learned today that Attorney General John Ashcroft will only be addressing law enforcement officials on his new...
July 30, 2003 Patriot Act
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union today filed the first legal challenge to the USA PATRIOT Act, taking aim at a section of the controversial law...
July 08, 2003
Ann Arbor -- Last night the Ann Arbor City Council passed, by a 9-2 vote, a resolution to safeguard the civil liberties of Ann Arbor residents in the wake of...
October 18, 2002
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan criticized a court ruling issued today that will permit random drug testing of welfare recipients. The 3-judge...
January 24, 2002
Detroit – In anticipation of next week’s Judiciary Committee agenda in the Michigan Senate, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan sent a letter today...
DETROIT— Continuing its strong advocacy of online free speech, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan along with the ACLU National office filed a...
Despite the State House's rejection of the federal Real ID Act in late October, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is trying to sneak in Real ID through the...
Detroit – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and Western Michigan Legal Services (WMLS) sent a letter today to the state Attorney General’s Office...
DETROIT — The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan announced today that the Detroit Public Schools: Board of Education has agreed to settle a lawsuit...
WASHINGTON - In an historic decision with wide-ranging implications, the U.S. Supreme Court today struck down a Texas law that makes some kinds of sexual...
DETROIT -- The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan will appear in federal court here on Monday, June 12, to argue that the Bush...