There are lots of ways you can get involved in the fight to protect your privacy and digital rights in the 21st century.
If you live in Massachusetts, contact your state representatives and tell them you support the Electronic Privacy Act, as well as these other critical pieces of legislation. If you live in another state, contact your local ACLU affiliate to find out what privacy legislation sits before your state government.
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) governs law enforcement access to our private communications online, but the law hasn’t been updated since 1986. Contact your senator and congressperson and ask them to support ECPA modernization reforms.
When you speak with your federal legislators, also tell them electronic privacy is important to you—and that you refuse to choose between using 21st century technologies and having control over your private information. Ask your elected representatives how they voted on recent legislation that impacts your privacy, and what they will do to fight for your digital rights in the future. Above all, tell them that you know that dragnet spying doesn’t protect public safety, but that it does imperil our right to be free from government intrusion into our private lives. We need to make it clear to our representatives that no matter what the cable news shows say, we will not fearfully give up our values or our rights in exchange for false promises of security.
Confronted with the power of corporate lobbyists and the culture of power in Washington, D.C., the struggle to roll back post-9/11 surveillance legislation and pass comprehensive new privacy law can sometimes seem overwhelming. But there’s a lot you can do at the local, level, too.
Since 9/11, the federal government has showered state and local law enforcement with money to buy powerful surveillance devices, ranging from cameras to license plate readers to cell phone spying equipment. You can take meaningful action against unwarranted surveillance and for freedom at the local level by making sure your town or city government is fulfilling its oversight and accountability roles pursuant to these surveillance acquisitions.
Take a look at this short guide to learn about how to intervene in your town or city to make sure that your local police department is transparent about its surveillance practices and technologies, and to ensure that the deployment of those technologies is accountable to the people the police are supposed to protect and serve.