Category Archives: News

High Over Compton: “Wide Area Surveillance” Surveils Entire Town

by Alex Marthews on April 22, 2014

The Atlantic picks up on a story from the Center for Investigative Reporting that in 2012, the LA County Sheriff’s Department secretly tested a civilian surveillance aircraft by flying it over a town in their jurisdiction and taking high-resolution footage of everything visibly happening there, over a period of up to six hours (highlights are […]

GUEST POST: Time to reveal the Israeli role in the US surveillance machine

by Alex Marthews on April 17, 2014

[Guest post from Nancy Murray, an advocate for Palestinian rights for over 25 years. Crossposted at Mondoweiss. Nancy has researched and written about surveillance extensively for the ACLU of Massachusetts and its privacysos.org website. While this is not a blog that covers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is shocking that the NSA, as a matter of […]

Cities around the country say: fusion centers are wasteful, fraudulent, and ineffective

by Alex Marthews on April 15, 2014

[Guest post from Adwoa Masozi of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.] Thursday, April 10, 2014 was a National Day of Action against Fusion Centers. Diverse, multiracial grassroots coalitions from around the country held rallies, press conferences, and creative actions to challenges civil liberties by fusion centers, which coordinate the surveillance activities of local police […]

No Way To Complain = No Complaints = No Problem!

by Alex Marthews on April 14, 2014

Boston’s fusion center, the Boston Regional Intelligence Center, no longer hosts their privacy policy on their website – I was told that it was “under review” and that the new policy will be posted when it’s ready – so it’s lucky for all of us that the ACLU of Massachusetts has a copy of the […]

How Did Snowden Change Search Behavior? New Research Shows, More Than You Might Think

by Alex Marthews on March 21, 2014

A new empirical research paper I have coauthored with Catherine Tucker of MIT-Sloan examines the question of how Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations have shifted the way people search for information on the Internet. We look at Google searches in the US and its top ten trading partners during 2013. We identify a roughly 5% drop […]

FBI: Look Mom, We “Found” Another Terrorist!

by Alex Marthews on March 18, 2014

The news this morning is full of the arrest of yet another American on charges of “attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.” Nobody’s suggesting that 20-year-old National Guardsman Nicholas Teausant of Acampo, CA is a terrorist, or that he provided any help whatsoever to terrorists, or that he was in contact, […]

This Is Mass Justice: SJC Requires Warrants For Cellphone Tower Data

by Alex Marthews on February 26, 2014

On February 18, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared that here in Massachusetts, state cops actually do have to get a warrant if they want to access your cellphone location data. This is what an independent judiciary looks like. The Justices of our Supreme Judicial Court have withstood over half a century of New England […]

Google’s “Zeitgeist” List of Top 100 Search Terms of 2013 Includes Snowden; WP Writes Whole Article About How It Didn’t

by Alex Marthews on February 16, 2014

Brian Fung, on the Washington Post’s “The Switch” blog, “reported” recently on Google’s “Zeitgeist” list of the top 100 search terms for 2013. His main interest in it, it appears, was to make the point that “Edward Snowden” wasn’t one of them, and therefore that the public really doesn’t care that much about the surveillance […]