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 […]

Commonwealth Fusion Center Violates Constitution, New Report Says

by Alex Marthews on April 10, 2014

Massachusetts has two “fusion centers”, mostly state-funded, which aggregate enormous amounts of data on innocent Massachusetts residents, with the notion of preventing terrorist attacks. When you call the “See Something, Say Something” line, the information goes into “Suspicious Activity Reports.” The ACLU of Massachusetts documented that the Boston fusion center (“BRIC”) had actually spent its […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]