Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
By Sarah Gonzalez : Reporter, WNYC/NJPR
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Footage from the protests in Ferguson, Mo. have portrayed the St. Louis suburb as a modern-day war zone, with police officers in armored vehicles and military grade weapons. Kara Dansky, a senior counsel at the ACLU, explains how and why federal programs have created incentives for police departments to use paramilitary tactics and artillery.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union and director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, connects the dots on government surveillance: where we are, where we need to go, and how to get there. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the NSA’s phone records collection program, and Jaffer is arguing against the Justice Department attorneys.
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
By Tracie Hunte : Assistant Producer, WNYC News
Newark Police officers are now be required to record the age, gender, race and the circumstances surrounding each stop conducted in the city.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
A New Jersey Public Radio investigation has found that the citizen complaint process at local police departments is riddled with problems, including retaliation and a lack of oversight from the state.
Friday, October 19, 2012
(Elliott Francis and Marti Johnson - Washington, D.C., WAMU) The Maryland Transit Administration is recording conversations between bus drivers and passengers, which is prompting critics to peg the audio recordings as violations of privacy.
The MTA began recording audio on 10 buses in Baltimore this week, with plans to expand to half the fleet by next summer. The agency runs local buses in the Baltimore-Washington area with commuter routes serving outlying communities. The buses are already equipped with video cameras that sport microphones — they just have to be switched on.
The state attorney general's office says the addition of audio doesn't violate Maryland's wiretapping law, but attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union say bus riders shouldn't have to sacrifice their privacy rights.
The audio recordings are an attempt to increase commuter safety, says MTA information officer Terry Owens.
"We were convinced that this additional tool would help us better safeguard our system, so we have this system in place on ten of our buses, testing the technology to make sure it's effective," he says.
There are signs on the buses letting riders know they're being recorded. But the American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney David Rocah says recording the conversations violates riders privacy rights.
"I don't think public transit riders should have to give their legitimate expectation of privacy and their ability to have a private conversation as a condition of riding a bus," Rocah says.
MTA says the state attorney general's office says that there is no legal expectation of privacy on public buses, but some state legislators are ready to take up the issue in the next general Assembly, the ACLU says. State Sen. Brian Frosh says the General Assembly will most likely set standards for oversight and accountability.
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
After Senate Republicans won a vote along party lines to kill the DISCLOSE Act, campaign finance reformers may have to wait until after the election to see any meaningful legislation come before Congress.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Currently, the government can avoid Freedom of Information Act requests in certain narrow circumstances by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of documents. But new rules proposed by the Department of Justice would allow the government to lie to requesters, saying that documents don't exist even when they do. Brooke talks to Michael German, Policy Council for the American Civil Liberties Union, about this proposed rule change.
Smog - "Held"
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Thursday, May 05, 2011
Since last summer, there has been a sometimes violent standoff between students at the University of Puerto Rico and the government over an announced budget cut and an increase in tuition fees, but that may just be part of a wider pattern of First Amendment violations. Jennifer Turner, a Human Rights Researcher at the ACLU and Rosie Perez, who just returned from a fact-finding mission in Puerto Rico, describe how authorities have dealt with students, striking workers, journalists, and civilians in recent months.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
A few weeks ago, Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and one of the most outspoken critics of Islamic groups, said the debate among Muslim organizations, their allies and their opponents was to a large degree "a propaganda war in the information battle space."
Thursday, March 03, 2011
(Washington D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) The DC chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has been unhappy with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's bag searches since WMATA began the searches in December. Now they're seeking people who've had their bags searched -- and so would have legal standing in court to challenge the program's constitutionality.
Johnny Barnes, the director of the local ACLU, announced the potential lawsuit this morning. "The WMATA board is on collision course with the ACLU and its partners," he said. "In 2008, Metro considered bag searches but decided against them. In December 2010, they decided to do them. In between nothing happened...Suspicionless searches don’t meet constitutional muster, but if you show a special need they do. So what’s the special need?"
Late last year, Metro began searching the bags of its train riders in an effort to combat terrorism. It stationed police officers at unannounced train stations, where they would subject the bags of randomly selected passengers to mechanical - and sometimes physical - searches.
Similar programs in Boston and New York City have been upheld in court. But Barnes says Metro's bag search program is different because it was not implemented in response to a specific threat.
In the weeks before the program went into effect in D.C., two people were arrested for plotting separate terror attacks against Metro. But Metro's top executives have said publicly that there was no specific threat that prompted them to implement the bag searches.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
By Kathleen Horan : Reporter, WNYC News
Gay rights advocates and civil libertarians are applauding the announcement by the Obama administration Wednesday that they will no longer defend the 15-year-old Defense of Marriage Act, the law that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Fransisco dismissed a lawsuit brought by former prisoners of the C.I.A. who claim that they were tortured in overseas prisons. The divided 6-5 decision is the latest episode of the ongoing legal drama over extraordinary rendition, a C.I.A. program that allegedly transfers prisoners to foreign countries in order to torture them.
The decision is a legal victory for the Obama administration, which has argued that such lawsuits are dangerous as they might expose state secrets. The argument of state secrecy was also used to obstruct lawsuits during the Bush administration.