When Ted Cruz Defended a Ban on Dildos

The state of Texas was one of three states that, just a few years ago, actually had a law that forbid the buying and selling of sex toys. And they enforced that law, which led to a legal challenge to it. When Ted Cruz was the Texas Solicitor General, he defended the constitutionality of that ban. … [Read more...]

Ted Cruz’ Odd Definition of Success

In defending his demand that law enforcement "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods," Ted Cruz is pointing to the NYPD's Muslim surveillance program, which was ended in 2014 and the subject of a settled lawsuit between the ACLU and the city. He called the program "very successful" and the "finest there is in the world." … [Read more...]

NSA Data to be Used in Regular Criminal Investigations

When the Patriot Act was passed and the national surveillance state was built, proponents said not to worry, this was just to help us stop terrorists. Civil liberties groups knew that was a lie we've seen the evidence for years. And now it's getting worse because NSA data mining will now be used in routine criminal investigations too. … [Read more...]

Carson’s Horrifying Views on Privacy

Ben Carson has in the past suggested that the government should monitor public school and university classrooms to root out "bias" (as if the people doing the monitoring wouldn't be biased), but in an interview with the editorial team from the Des Moines Register he went even further, suggesting that such surreptitious recordings be made of anyone who gets tax dollars. … [Read more...]

Another Federal Judge Rubber Stamps Illegal Police Behavior

My friend Radley Balko does his usual brilliant job of dissecting a terrible court ruling that, as is so often the case, allows the police to justify behavior that clearly violates the 4th Amendment with the most flimsy and ridiculous of excuses. The case involves a SWAT raid on a couple because they were believed to be growing pot. They were actually growing tomatoes. … [Read more...]

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ben McCarthy Carson

It seems that Ben Carson is trying to really establish his McCarthyite bonafides by one-upping some of his Republican presidential rivals. Not only does he think we should have a database for all "foreigners," but he thinks we should be surveilling anyone he deems to be "anti-American." He means Un-American, of course. Perhaps even a House committee to oversee their activities. … [Read more...]

Brennan Uses Paris Attacks to Call for More Surveillance Power

Hey, here's a surprising development. The head of the CIA is using the attacks in Paris to justify even more power to the federal government to drown the 4th Amendment in a bathtub and give him expanded authority to engage in surveillance and invade our privacy. How shocking that a government agency would use a tragic event to demand more power for that government agency. … [Read more...]

Michigan State Police Using Cell Phone Spy Equipment

A new report from the ACLU, based on a Freedom of Information Act request, reveals that the Michigan State Police have, for nearly a decade, been using Stingray-type equipment that sweeps up all the cell phone traffic in a given area. These devices, which were justified on the grounds that they're necessary to stop terrorism, have instead been used in routine criminal cases. … [Read more...]

Illegal Surveillance: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

A whole bunch of old documents and recordings have been declassified that reveal how illegal surveillance began in the United States in the 30s and 40s. The story sounds remarkably familiar when you read it. Indeed, almost every aspect of the current system of illegal surveillance is echoed in those documents. The only difference is the level of technology being used. … [Read more...]

Jeb Bush Thinks the NSA Needs Even More Power

Jeb Bush, like his brother, thinks that the executive branch can't possibly have enough power, especially when it comes to surveillance (all while claiming to be advocates of "smaller government," which is nothing more than a marketing slogan). That's why he said at a forum in South Carolina that we've shifted the balance too far in favor of civil liberties and taken too much power away from the NSA. … [Read more...]

Obama’s Terrible 4th Amendment Record

One could be forgiven for thinking, in 2008, that President Obama would be a marked improvement over President Bush when it comes to the privacy rights in the 4th Amendment. But one would be wrong. He may, in fact, be worse. He's certainly been no better. A perfect example is the recent Supreme Court ruling on cell phone searches, in which his administration was on the losing end of a 9-0 decision. … [Read more...]

The Supreme Court Got One Right!

Not only did the Supreme Court get a ruling exactly right, it did so unanimously. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in Riley v United States that said police cannot search someone's cell phone data during or after an arrest without a warrant. … [Read more...]