The ACLU of Georgia was joined yesterday by a civil liberties coalition asking the Atlanta City Council to adopt reasonable limitations on the governmental use of drones for surveillance. To find out more about the effort, see our fact sheet here.
It's a crime-fighting tool that comes with controversy. The American Civil Liberties Union says they’re concerned about driver’s private information being easily accessible once their tags are scanned.
Chad Brock is the Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Georgia.
There have been instances throughout the country in which this type of information is being shared. We'll consider sending an opens records request to try to get a little bit more information about how they intend to use this, what kind of policies are in place to prohibit this type of information being used in the way that violates the privacy or rights of these individuals," said Brock.
A civil liberties coalition including the ACLU of Georgia met with the Atlanta City Council yesterday to advocate for adoption of regulations on use of drones by law enforcement.
The military uses them to track down the enemy. Law enforcement agencies around the country deploy them to catch criminals.
Justine Story, a homeowner in northeast Atlanta, hates the idea of robotic eyes flying over metro Atlanta watching everyday citizens.
"I wouldn't want a drone looking in my bedroom window," Story said.
Supporters of drones contend the technology can be a powerful tool for fighting crime and terrorism.
Critics say drones can intrude on the privacy of the law-abiding public.
The University of Georgia men's basketball team must follow detailed rules when it comes to dating, as uncovered by the study, shows that Coach Mark Fox includes guidelines on sexual activities, appearances and social networking.
Included under the "Treat women with respect" heading are rules stating "Don't spend all your energy in bed all night," "Hicky's/passion marks should not ever be noticed by coaches" and "One. Not two or three girlfriends."
Social media networking rules state that anything the athletes write can be quote by the coach. Players are forbidden from Twitter unless they have written permission from Coach Fox.
Players are also told that their apartments and dorms are expected to be clean. "We're paying so we're inspecting. I can enter the dorm at any time," the policy states.
Sagging pants and braids are also prohibited, according to the policy.
Just before the close of Georgia’s 2014 legislative session last week, the state’s General Assembly granted final approval to a law that would allow state workers to drug test food stamp recipients. The law, H.B. 772, now awaits the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican.
An earlier version of the bill would have made drug testing mandatory for all food stamp recipients, but members of the House changed the bill’s wording after a federal judge ruled that a similar law in Florida violated the Fourth Amendment. To avoid the same fate, H.B. 772 was rewritten to require “reasonable suspicion” that a food stamp recipient was using illegal drugs before caseworkers could order a drug test.
The Law and Ethics of Intersex Issues & Screening of Intersexion a Documentary screening brought to you by OUTLAW & ALLIES at Atlanta John Marshall Law School and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.
Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Blackburn Center.
January 22nd marks the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that guaranteed reproductive freedom for all women and enhanced the privacy protections of all Americans. While it is unfortunate that reproductive freedom is still under attack 40 years later, we would like you to know that the ACLU and the ACLU of Georgia remain vigilant in our support of reproductive freedom and respect for the personal autonomy of all women.
In 2012, the ACLU of Georgia and the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project filed a lawsuit against the State of Georgia, seeking to prevent the State from implementing a 20-week abortion ban. In December 2012, the Fulton County Superior Court issued an injunction against the law as it applies to pre-viable abortion care and the injunction remains in effect today. By bringing this suit, we prevented this anti-choice law from infringing upon the rights that Georgia women are guaranteed underRoeand we are confident that the Georgia courts will find this law unconstitutional.
Georgia public policy players are watching Florida closely now that a federal judge there has struck down the state’s law requiring drug testing for welfare recipients.
A U.S. District judge ruled the Florida law violates the Constitutional provision against unreasonable searches. Georgia has had a similar law on the books since 2012, but it has not yet been implemented.
Chad Brock, an attorney with the ACLU of Georgia, says he wouldn’t be surprised if the State of Florida appeals the ruling to the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “However, the Eleventh Circuit, back in February, in extending the injunction against the drug testing law, really scrutinized the reasoning behind the law,” said Brock. “So I think they’re going to have a tough time if they go back before the Eleventh Circuit.”
The patrol car in Acworth was a bit of a trailblazer in 2010. That's when the department mounted three stationary cameras on the rear of the car -- designed to scan traffic, snap still images of license plates, then match the tag number with a national database.
"And it's checking for wanted people, stolen cars, stolen tags, things like that," said Capt. Mark Cheatham.
They're called "license plate recognition" systems or LPRs, and they're increasingly becoming fixtures on police vehicles across the country. Acworth police say they have retained in a database every image taken by their LPR system, including the time and location of each image.
That includes the vast majority of images that have never produced a police investigation.
"All the information is kept in house," said Cheatham. "And should there be a need to look and see if we've ever had contact with a specific vehicle, then we can research that." Cheatham says the police images are subject to release under the state Open Records Act.
And that raises questions among critics
"With this technology, it constitutes a significant invasion of our privacy," said Chad Brock, staff attorney for the ACLU of Georgia. "Law enforcement can see what types of ... political events we're attending, what churches we are attending. That creates a whole host of constitutional concerns."
Critics say say the state should put limits on how long police can retain surveillance images that aren't part of active law enforcement investigations. "We do not believe it's acceptable to retain information indefinitely, particularly when you have collected data on innocent individuals," Brock said.
Acworth police counter they are merely gathering images on public streets that anybody can gather -- with camera equipment that's available commercially.