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Surveillance

The advance of technology presents both opportunities for and challenges to liberty. As new technologies are implemented, their impacts on civil liberties must be considered. The ACLU supports uses of technology that enhance privacy and freedom while opposing those that undermine liberty and move us closer to a surveillance society.

ACLU of Washington sues Tacoma Police Department for not disclosing stingray surveillance records
Seattle's smart meter project lacks protections for privacy
They Are Watching
Seattle has passed the strongest surveillance transparency and accountability protections in the country!

Resources

Published: 
Monday, December 21, 2015
Most of us use cell phones and email every day. As our communications make their way from sender to recipient, they expose information about their contents and our interactions with others. The technologies we rely on thus come with inherent risks to our privacy and security. Thanks to disclosures made by whistleblower Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies, we have a better sense of the extent to which surveillance pervades American life.
Published: 
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has announced a new “Real Time Crime Center” that would use historical crime data in decisions about deploying police officers. Although this may sound like a smart move to incorporate analytics technology in law enforcement, in practice it would perpetuate existing institutional racism in policing.
Published: 
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
The ACLU of Washington would love to hear from organizations that have or are planning to roll out either Tor relays or the Tor Browser. Supporting Tor is part of our work advocating for privacy, access to information, and free speech.
Published: 
Friday, August 28, 2015
Work-related text messages on a public employee’s personal cell phone are public records subject to disclosure, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled Aug. 27.

Letter to SPD regarding request for public records considering Black Lives Matter protests

Document, Published: 
Friday, August 21, 2015
On February 23, 2015, we sent your office a public records request for records related to the Ferguson/Black Lives Matter protests that occurred on November 28, 2014. We received no production from your office until May 20, 2015. This response was only a partial response, and you indicated that we would be receiving the second installment of records on or about July 1, 2015. This date has now been moved out to August 12, 2015. The responses we have received from your office thus far have raised some concerns, which our office finds very troubling.
Published: 
Friday, August 21, 2015
The Seattle Police Department has repeatedly failed to meet its own deadlines for producing records we requested seven months ago related to the SPD’s handling of Black Lives Matters/Ferguson protests held in November 2014.
Published: 
Friday, May 15, 2015
For decades, local law enforcement has used aviation for specific and limited purposes, such as search and rescue, high-speed chases, and traffic control. Helicopters require costly equipment and fuel and risk loss of life, so law enforcement has used them sparingly.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, May 11, 2015
Governor Inslee today signed into law a bill restricting the use of cell site simulator devices (popularly known as “Stingrays”). The measure (HB 1440) requires that a judge find there is probable cause that use of a Stingray will lead to evidence of criminal activity, and it includes judicial education and data retention provisions that are the first of their kind in the nation.
Published: 
Monday, May 11, 2015
Governor Inslee has signed into law a bill restricting the use of cell site simulator devices (popularly known as “Stingrays,” after a particular model).  Stingrays are emblematic of the threats to privacy posed by new technologies and expanding government surveillance activities. The new law makes Washington state a leader in regulating Stingrays and includes judicial education and data retention provisions that are the first of their kind in the nation.
Published: 
Thursday, April 30, 2015
For years, with seemingly little to no oversight, the Naval Criminal Investigative Services has been monitoring vast amounts of non-military U.S. Internet traffic and communications, looking for evidence of criminal activity.

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