Archive by month: October 2017

Early this morning, the Massachusetts Senate voted 22 to 14 to kill amendment 87 that would have expanded our wiretapping laws dramatically. Thankfully, a related amendment (#24) was withdrawn. Against pressure from the Governor, the AG, all the DAs' offices, and the police unions, we, the ACLU of Massachusetts, Restore the Fourth Massachusetts and other lovers of privacy defeated the most serious threat to our privacy in years. Thanks to everyone who called and emailed their State Senator...
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The Massachusetts Senate is working on an omnibus criminal justice reform package.  Two amendments (#24 and #87) would give prosecutors unprecedented new powers to wiretap phone calls, emails, instant messaging services, and potentially even internet connected devices like personal assistants (think Amazon’s ‘Echo’) and televisions. The votes are scheduled for this Thursday, so now is the time to tell our State Senators to oppose these amendments.  Calls are best, but emails help too, if ther...
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Gathering information through FOIA or public records requests can be a long-term endeavor. I made a privacy act request to the NSA back in October 2013, shortly after the Guardian revealed that the NSA had been collecting telephony metadata from Verizon customers. I happened to be a Verizon customer at the time, so I asked the NSA for a copy of my telephony metadata, via a Privacy Act Request. The NSA responded as follows FOIA Case: 75473 21 November 2013 Dear Mr. Revilak: T...
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Amazon's deadline is here and many states have fallen over themselves to sell their cities as the location for Amazon's second headquarters.  With those bids, we expect that states and municipalities will try to shower Amazon with tax breaks and other subsidies their residents cannot afford. We ask: why should we pay for Amazon to take our money? The US government already allocates well over $100 Billion of your tax dollars to corporate subsidies.  State and local governments contribute at le...
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This Wednesday, the 18th, starting at 6:30pm, the Cambridge Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on a local ordinance to require a transparent and democratic process before police can purchase new surveillance equipment. Community input and transparency are critical to ensure new technologies don’t get out ahead of our constitutional rights. Join us, Digital Fourth and the ACLU on Wednesday, October 18 at Cambridge City Hall at 6:30pm for the Public Safety Committee Hearing, to learn a...
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With computers in more and more of the things we buy, it is vital that we have a digital right of repair so we truly control the things we own. Corporations must not be able to lock down their products so that we have to pay them exorbitant amounts to fix them or prevent people from determining their security vulnerabilities or even making improvements. The activists at Right of Repair and iFixit have put forward two bills to support a digital right of repair: H.143 in the Massachusetts House...
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This Thursday, October 12th in State House Hearing Room B-1 the Committee on Election Laws will hear bills on Ranked Choice Voting/Instant Runoff Voting. We have long supported RCV/IRV and use it for our elections. We support these bills: S.380 / H.2897 “An Act providing a local option for ranked choice voting in city or town elections” H.377 “An Act to promote better voting practices” — “[use of ranked choice voting for state offices:] governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, se...
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This Tuesday at 10am in Room B-2 of the State House will be a hearing on police militarization bills. The Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will be holding a hearing on Digital Fourth bill's, H. 2503, which Pirates helped with and voted to support. The hearing also includes the ACLU-sponsored bill, S. 1277. Both bills require a public hearing and a vote by the elected officials of a Massachusetts town or city before the police acquire or deploy military-styl...
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