PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

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Two New Cases Regarding NSA Surveillance

NSA

The 9th Circuit has decided a pair of cases involving the NSA Surveillance Program.

In Jewel v. NSA, the 9th Circuit concluded that plaintiffs had standing to raise constitutional challenges against NSA telephone surveillance:

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United States v. Jones and GPS Surveillance

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The Supreme Court has long held that there is no expectation of privacy in public for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment.  Because the Fourth Amendment turns on the existence of a reasonable expectation of privacy, the Court’s logic means that the Fourth Amendment provides no protection to surveillance in public.  In United States v. Jones, the Court will confront just how far this logic can extend.  FBI agents installed a GPS tracking device on Jones’ car and monitored where he drove for a month without a warrant.  Jones challenged the warrantless GPS surveillance as a violation of the Fourth Amendment.  The D.C. Circuit agreed with Jones. United States v. Jones, 615 F.3d 544 (D.C. Cir. 2010).  Other federal circuit courts have reached conflicting conclusions on GPS, and now the Supreme Court will resolve the conflict.

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New Details in the Tyler Clementi Cyberbullying Case

Clementi-TylerThere are some new details emerging in the Tyler Clementi cyberbullying case at Rutgers. The case involves freshmen at Rutgers University. Dharun Ravi used a webcam to film and broadcast online an intimate encounter between his roommate Tyler Clementi and another man.

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Off-Campus Cyberbullying and the First Amendment

Cyberbullying

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently upheld a school’s discipline of a student for engaging in off-campus cyberbullying of another student.  In Kowalski v. Berkeley County Schools, — F.3d — (4th Cir. July 27, 2011), a student (Kara Kowalski) created a MySpace profile called “S.A.S.H.,” which she said was short for “Students Against Sluts Herpes.” Another student, however, claimed it really stood for “Students Against Shay’s Herpes,” referring to a student named Shay N.  Kowalski invited about 100 people to join the page, and about 24 people joined.

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When Can Public Schools Discipline Students for Off-Campus Speech?

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I’ve been spending a lot of time lately focusing on privacy issues at schools.  I find these issues fascinating, and I have been working on them in the trenches, as I created a company last year to provide tools and resources to schools to help them better address privacy problems and to develop a comprehensive privacy program (or enhance their existing privacy program).  The company is called TeachPrivacy.  If you’re a school official (K-12, higher ed), a teacher/professor, or a concerned parent, please contact me if you’re interested in my project.

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