Category Archives: News

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 […]

The Day We Fought Back: Here’s what comes next

by Alex Marthews on February 12, 2014

Yesterday, the Internet lit up in protest against mass surveillance. In the US, Congress got over 85,000 phone calls from people frustrated by mass surveillance, and urging their legislators to support the USA FREEDOM Act. Here in Massachusetts, we worked with the ACLU of Massachusetts to target the specific legislators who had not cosponsored. Our […]

Turns out, MBTA has plenty of dollars – for surveillance.

by Alex Marthews on February 7, 2014

Kade Crockford reports that DHS has awarded the MBTA $7 million to refit its buses with fancy new surveillance cameras. Why? Oh, no reason in particular. But the MBTA is at pains to point out that they spent none of their own money on the project. What’s wrong with free money? Let me tell you […]