Technological innovation has outpaced our privacy protections. As a result, modern technology enables persistent monitoring of each of us by government and corporations in ways that were once unthinkable. In a free society, the people must be able to control who has access to what kinds of information about them, and under what circumstances. Our Technology for Liberty Project fights to ensure that civil liberties are protected as technology advances.
In 2018, the ACLU of Massachusetts’ Technology for Liberty Project published three reports about government surveillance. Inside Orders: Secrecy and Warrantless Surveillance in Massachusetts details Massachusetts prosecutors’ use of administrative subpoenas to obtain sensitive personal information about people, even when they are not suspected of any crimes. Social Media Monitoring in Boston: Free Speech in the Crosshairs reveals the Boston Police Department used social media spying technology to track First Amendment protected speech and association online. Lastly, a report co-published with the Century Foundation, Beyond Sanctuary: Local Strategies for Defending Civil Liberties, looks at ways in which state and local government can fight back against the federal government’s war on immigrants.
We also educate people about privacy rights and new threats to civil liberties on our Privacy Matters blog, and provide Know Your Rights materials and trainings for community members across the state.