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Blog

The Digital Age Warrants Constitutional Protections

In the majority opinion for the unanimous Court in Riley v. California (2014), Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.” This “go get a warrant” sentiment is echoed again and again in more recent cases involving cell phone privacy. By taking a closer look at how exactly a search warrant works, it becomes increasingly clear that this protection is needed now more than ever as we enter the digital age.

5 days ago
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Ruling Celebrated as Fourth Amendment Victory Leaves Unanswered Questions

A federal judge in New York ruled for the first time on Tuesday that the use of a surveillance device to capture cell phone location information constitutes a warrantless search. In the case, Lambis v. United States, government officials used a stingray device to track a drug suspect. Stingrays, also known as “cell site simulators,” force cell phones in the area to transmit signals that pinpoint the user’s location through cell site location information, or CSLI data.

07/13/2016
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Legislation Combats IRS Abuse of Free Speech, Privacy Rights

This week, the House will consider a bill that would stop the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from collecting identifying information about donors to tax-exempt organizations. The IRS, in repeatedly using tax disclosures to create political targets, has prompted a chilling effect on First Amendment rights and political free speech.

06/13/2016
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With Unanimous Passage through the House, the Email Privacy Act will Modernize Online Data Privacy

Back in the 1980s, everyone was walking around with their perms and mullets, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson were playing sold out concerts, and people still couldn’t believe that Darth Vader was Luke’s father (spoilers). Clearly, things have changed a lot since then, yet, curiously, privacy standards regarding emails have not. While email certainly wasn’t a dominant form of communication back in the 80’s, the computer revolution that our society has undergone makes online data and information more valuable than ever. It’s time for our privacy standards, then, to reflect the new and ever-more-digitized world we live in.

04/28/2016
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With Viber’s Latest Update, Congress is Losing the Encryption Battle

WhatsApp, the popular online messaging service, recently changed the landscape of the encryption debate after announcing that their entire platform, between all devices, would offer end-to-end encryption. This announcement was made on the tail end of Apple’s dispute with the FBI, precisely about breaking into encrypted iPhones. This past week, Viber, another popular messaging app, announced that their latest update would also include end-to-end encryption for all of its users. While this may just seem like another example of encryption making its way onto popular apps, the case with Viber is particularly more salient in proving just how futile it is for Congress to try to restrict encryption.

04/22/2016
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Anti-Encryption Bill is an Affront to Privacy, Technological Security

In recent months, the government has regularly been unable to underscore technological security and privacy in the digital sphere, as more and more tech companies turn to encrypting their data. From the Apple case to the recent WhatsApp encryption overhaul, individuals have witnessed a glimmer of hope that their privacy may once again be protected from government interference. However, this consumer privacy is in danger once more as Congress seeks to nullify the system of encryption.

04/13/2016
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WhatsApp Extending Encryption to Billions, Protecting Privacy Worldwide

The debate regarding encryption and privacy in the digital age has become a hot-button issue in light of the recent legal struggles between Apple and the FBI. Many technology producers and consumers have become particularly concerned with their messaging privacy, fearing similar compelled actions forced by governments. In response to these concerns, the developers at WhatsApp have taken a strong stance in favor of encryption, protecting the privacy rights of people around the world.

04/07/2016
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FreedomWorks’ Digital Bill of Rights

As more and more of our activities move online and the internet plays an integral role in our day to day lives, it must be remembered that the rights we enjoy as American citizens do not stop at technology’s doorstep. It is important, therefore, to ensure that the protections established in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights serve Americans in the digital world just as effectively as they do in the real world. With this in mind, we therefore propose a Digital Bill of Rights:

12/10/2015
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The “Balance” Between Safety and Privacy: Why Going Dark Offers a Shining Light

On July 8th the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled “Going Dark: Encryption, Technology, and the Balance Between Public Safety and Privacy.” In his opening statement, Senator Chuck Grassley explained that “[c]ompanies are increasingly choosing to encrypt these devices in such a way that the company itself is unable to unlock them, even when presented with a lawful search warrant.”

07/24/2015
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Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Strict Regulation Leads to Information Overload

This month the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing on the Higher Education Act, which was originally passed in 1965. The primary topic for the duration of the two hour hearing was the collection and dissemination of data from colleges and universities.

06/01/2015

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