Every year we gather together to discuss the latest civil liberties and civil rights issues at our annual membership meeting. We are retooling this event to share our post-election analysis and Oregon's role in the fight for civil liberties and civil rights in America.
Learn about volunteer opportunities, share your ideas for the future, and hear about the work ahead.
Portland Tuesday, November 15 5:30-7:00 p.m., please arrive early to check-in. Main Street Sanctuary, First Unitarian Church* 1211 SW Main St.
**We are at capacity and have closed registration for the Portland meeting. Any open seats will be released at 5:30 p.m. We are humbled by the response. We will broadcast the event via Facebook Live. **
Eugene Tuesday, November 29 5:30-7:00 p.m., please arrive early to check-in. Unitarian Universalist Church 1685 West 13th Avenue EUGENE RSVP
Light refreshments will be served. Free to attend and open to the public. Please join us!
**We might have photographers and media at the event. We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause.
October 4, 2016 - The Portland City Council will soon vote on whether to ratify an agreement with the Portland Police Association about a new police union contract and a draft body camera policy. The agreement creates a serious risk that body cameras will not serve as a tool for accountability in Portland by giving the Portland Police Association too much power over the contents of the body camera policy. Because of this, and concerns that the public was shut out of negotiations over the police union contract, we have asked the Portland City Council not to ratify the agreement.
Police body cameras have the potential to serve as a much-needed police oversight tool, but if the technology is to be effective at providing oversight, reducing police abuses, and increasing community trust, it is vital that the cameras be deployed with good policies to ensure they accomplish those goals. Without good policies, body cameras risk becoming just another police surveillance device—and one with very real potential to invade privacy.
By Mat dos Santos, Legal Director November 13, 2015 – Yesterday, the ACLU of Oregon filed records requests to the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ), Oregon’s Titan Fusion Center, and the United States Department of Justice, including the FBI. We are seeking information regarding the extent of the DOJ's surveillance including questions about the technology that was used, what information was collected, and who was profiled by the department.
In an interview with OPB this week, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum confirmed that a DOJ investigator used an online, subscription-based tool called “Digital Stakeout.” The Digital Stakeout website touts its product as a threat intelligence platform and says users can “search by keyword, hashtag, location, meta-data and more.” Rosenblum revealed that in addition to searching for Black Lives Matter, other searches were performed, including searches for the hashtag, ‘F - the police.’
As these statements reveal, this was more than just a search of hashtags on the internet. We have some preliminary answers, but we also have many more questions. Why was a Black-led social movement used as a jumping-off point for ‘anti-police sentiment’? How did the investigation of the DOJ’s own Civil Rights Division director go so far? Who else was swept up in this dragnet?
Most people understand that the First Amendment gives them a right to speak on any subject, free from censorship by government officials. Probably fewer people realize that the U.S. Constitution implicitly grants the freedom to read what they choose and protects their right to read in privacy.
The First Amendment protection of freedom of speech is meaningless if you cannot gather information on subjects that you want to speak about; that is, the First Amendment requires that reading materials not be censored. The right to read also requires that you do not suffer repercussions as a result of your reading choices; therefore, your choices must be private. This privacy right is also protected by the Fourth Amendment which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure and specifically states that “papers” must be protected. In the computer era of downloads, a search of your reading choices is equivalent to a search of your papers.
The pictures of the Tsarnaev brothers walking casually through the site of the Boston Marathon bombing bomb attack may well be the iconic image from that tragedy. Taken mostly by private security cameras that were aimed at the streets near the site of the attack, these images played a significant role in the eventual apprehension of the alleged bombers. Due to their wide distribution on television and in newspapers the images quickly became important elements in the ensuing discussion about methods for protecting the public from terrorism. Shortly after the bombing Boston’s police commissioner called for adding more police surveillance cameras and camera-equipped drones. A national public opinion survey taken a week later reports that less than 20 percent of Americans oppose the use of surveillance cameras in public places.
July 19, 2013 - Four Oregon jurisdictions are known to be among the hundreds nationwide that the American Civil Liberties Union says are using automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) scanners to assemble a "single, high-resolution image of our lives.” Clackamas County, Oregon City, Portland, and Salem had confirmed local use of ALPRs by fall 2012—one vehicle-mounted device in Oregon City, four devices each in in Portland and Clackamas (we have since learned that Portland utilizes an additional twelve ALPRs), and one “system” with an unspecified number of devices in Salem. Medford provided a draft policy but no information about actual systems in use. The ACLU of Oregon was one of 38 state affiliates that participated in the coordinated nationwide effort that netted more than 26,000 pages of documents from 300 police departments and agencies through 587 freedom of information requests.
The rapid proliferation of ALPR systems in the U.S. through 2012 and the dangers of collecting and storing information about innocent people without uniform policies and procedures are decried in “You Are Being Tracked,” an ACLU report released Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Law enforcement agencies use ALPRs without probable cause or warrants. These tools were designed to enable efficient police work but, in effect, enable retroactive surveillance of millions of unsuspected—and unsuspecting—people. They allow authorities to know how often a driver frequents a place (such as a bar), joins a protest, gets medical or mental help, is being unfaithful to a spouse, and much more, and existing restrictions on how the information can be used are vague at best.
Privacy is a fundamental human right specifically recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and inferred (and much argued about) in our Bill of Rights. The ACLU has worked for decades to protect individual privacy because privacy underpins human dignity and other key values such as freedom of association and freedom of speech.
Privacy has become one of the most important human rights issues of the modern age not because our value of privacy has changed but because the ways in which our privacy can be compromised have radically changed in the digital age. The constant stream of revolutionary new technologies is eroding existing protections and, the fact is, privacy laws have failed to evolve with emerging technologies. This is why the ACLU has launched the Protecting Civil Liberties in the Digital Age initiative to ensure that expressive, associational, and privacy rights are strengthened rather than compromised by new technology, and to protect these core democratic rights against intrusive corporate and government practices that rely on new technology to invade these rights.
Information Sought on How Cameras are Used by Police Agencies and How Data is Stored
July 30, 2012, New York & Portland – American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in 38 states, including Oregon, sent requests today to local police departments and state agencies that demand information on how they use automatic license plate readers (ALPR) to track and record Americans’ movements. As part of this effort, the ACLU of Oregon sent requests to 54 Oregon jurisdictions seeking information as to whether and how law enforcement agencies are using the ALPR technology.
September 14, 2011 - The ACLU of Oregon along with a group of business, immigrant, labor, faith, and civil rights leaders stood together with others from across the country to tell Congress that forcing employers to use the flawed E-Verify system will harm U.S. workers and employers and undercut the country’s economic recovery. The groups held a press conference at St. Francis of Assisi, 311 SE 12th Avenue, Portland.
Speakers included Kevin Díaz, Legal Director of the ACLU of Oregon; Jeff Stone, Executive Director for the Oregon Association of Nurseries and Co-Chair of the Coalition for a Working Oregon; Javier Lara, Organizer for PCUN (Oregon’s farm worker union); Ignacio Páramo, MLK Worker Center Director for VOZ Workers’ Rights Education Project; and Valerie Chapman, Pastoral Administrator of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.
by Andrea Meyer, Legislative Director/Counsel, ACLU of Oregon
Presentation before the Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, Oregon Health & Science University (January 13, 2011) and before the Health Information Exchange Conference, HIMSS Oregon (January 20, 2011)
FBI's Claimed Authority to Track and Map "Behaviors" and "Lifestyle Characteristics" of American Communities Invites Racial Profiling
July 27, 2010 - The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon has asked the Portland FBI field office to turn over records related to the agency's collection and use of race and ethnicity data in local communities.
In response to the ACLU of Oregon’s investigation of FBI surveillance of activists and organizers from around Oregon, the ACLU-OR has received numerous requests for assistance from people who are curious about their own FBI records.