American Civil Liberties Union

Lawmakers skeptical over claimed value of spying program

Lawmakers skeptical over claimed value of spying program

The former spy agency contractor who fled to Hong Kong to leak U.S. secrets said he’s not there to hide from justice and has faith in “the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate.” “I am neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American,” Edward Snowden declared to the South China Morning Post […]

Invasion of privacy lawsuits usually a long-shot

Invasion of privacy lawsuits usually a long-shot

Before there was Edward Snowden and the leak of explosive documents showing widespread government surveillance, there was Mark Klein — a telecommunications technician who alleged that AT&T was allowing U.S. spies to siphon vast amounts of customer data without warrants. Klein’s allegations and the news reports about them launched dozens of consumer lawsuits in early […]

How the Boston bombers’ plan to strike next in Times Square ran out of gas

Armed with a pressure-cooker explosive and five pipe bombs, the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing made a spur-of-the-moment decision last week to give the Big Apple a taste of their mayhem, New York officials say. The potentially deadly scheme fell apart when the brothers realized the car they had hijacked was low on gas. […]

With cameras everywhere, it’s hard to avoid detection

As the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings illustrates, getting lost in the crowd is no longer an easy feat. There are eyes — and cameras — everywhere. Investigators swiftly obtained a vast quantity of amateur photos and videos taken by onlookers, often with their cell phones, as well as extensive footage from surveillance cameras […]

Supremes look at controversial patenting of human genes

DNA may be the building block of life, but can something taken from it also be the building block of a multimillion-dollar medical monopoly? The Supreme Court grapples Monday with the question of whether human genes can be patented. Its ultimate answer could reshape U.S. medical research, the fight against diseases like breast and ovarian […]

Arkansas takes aim at abortion providers

Arkansas takes aim at abortion providers

The Republican-led Arkansas Senate, in the latest statehouse swipe at abortion providers around the country, approved a bill on Tuesday that sponsors said was aimed at cutting off the last vestiges of state funding to groups such as Planned Parenthood. While it does not explicitly name Planned Parenthood or any other organization, the bill would […]

Domestic use of drones raises privacy questions

Domestic use of drones raises privacy questions

It’s a good bet that in the not-so-distant future aerial drones will be part of Americans‘ everyday lives, performing countless useful functions. A far cry from the killing machines whose missiles incinerate terrorists, these generally small, unmanned aircraft will help farmers more precisely apply water and pesticides to crops, saving money and reducing environmental impacts. […]

Kentucky lawmakers override governor’s veto of “religious freedom” bill

Kentucky lawmakers have voted to override the governor’s veto of a bill intended to better protect legal claims of religious freedom. The law will give stronger legal standing to people in court who claim the government burdened their ability to practice their religion. The legislation protects “sincerely held religious beliefs” from infringement unless there is […]

Federal appeals court declares anti-gay marriage law unconstitutional

Federal appeals court declares anti-gay marriage law unconstitutional

An appeals court in New York ruled on Thursday that a law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is unconstitutional. It was the second federal appeals court to reject the law, which could go before the Supreme Court soon. The ruling by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals was in […]

Democratic convention security rules raise free speech concerns

Democratic convention security rules raise free speech concerns

Starting Saturday, someone walking through Charlotte’s central business district could run afoul of the law by carrying water bottles, hair spray, socks or magic markers under sweeping security rules enacted ahead of the Democratic National Convention. It would take a particularly strict reading of the rules for someone to be arrested simply for possessing one […]