In the past year, we confronted a number of challenges related to maintaining basic privacy in an era of emerging technology – and increased government intrusion.
The ACLU of Illinois is working close with our National office to reduce the collection of massive amounts of bulk data (records of telephone calls and text messages, for example) by the federal government, especially the National Security Agency. We have urged members of the Illinois Congressional delegation to support the USA Freedom Act, aimed at reining in data gathering about innocent Americans. And, we are working with ACLU colleagues in Washington, DC to help ensure that the internet remains free and open (net neutrality) for all Americans.
In the Illinois legislature, we secured a good deal of progress on privacy issues. On January 1, 2014, an ACLU measure went into effect requiring law enforcement (in most instances) to get a warrant before using drone technology. This year, we extended those regulations to any private drones used by law enforcement.
And, also this year, we secured legislative approval of a measure that requires law enforcement to get a warrant before accessing most of the location tracking data in our smartphones.
We also are working with regulators in Illinois to ensure that the advent of electronic health records is accompanied by privacy and security rules that protect these sensitive, intimate records.
And, we are working with legislators to make certain that we apply appropriate privacy guidelines to the proposed expanded use of body cameras by police officers. This small, mobile technology must be viewed as a tool for oversight and accountability of police, not further surveillance of the public.