Privacy SOS

Still skidding down that slippery slope

Read the latest Update

That hollow feeling in the pit of the stomach is back – that feeling of sliding out of control down a slippery slope. I get it every month or two when I compile our Civil Liberties Updates. 
Early in 2002 I started compiling Updates of what the government was doing that had an impact on civil liberties and civil and human rights. I assumed that this would be an exercise of a year or two, and that these digests would get shorter as time went by and fears of terrorism subsided. 
The opposite has happened. The Updates have got longer with the passing years. Taken together, they present an unsettling picture of how, month by month, our democracy is being transformed into a national security surveillance state in which secrecy trumps accountability. 
You will read here about how government agencies are expanding their power to watch us, and finding more and more creative ways to stop us from watching them. 
How, for instance, did the FBI justify completely blanking out documents requested by the ACLU relating to its current warrantless surveillance program? As you will read in this Update, it recently told the court it didn’t want to hurt the bottom line of those Internet Service Providers and telecoms that were turning over information. “These businesses would be substantially harmed if their customers knew that they were furnishing information to the FBI. The stigma of working for the FBI would cause customers to cancel the companies’ service.” 
What about the public’s right to know? 
We hope these digests will keep you informed and make you want to work with us to push back. Before we reach the point of no return, we must figure out how we can get ourselves off the slippery slope and back onto the constitutional track. 
Nancy Murray

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.