Read current and past ACLU-NCA newsletters. The publication contains news, announcements, and upcoming events.
POSITIONS ANNOUCEMENT: Dunn Fellow
American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation's Capital (ACLU-DC) announces an open position: Dunn Fellow
POSITIONS ANNOUCEMENT: Policy Director and Strategic Communications Manager
American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation's Capital (ACLU-DC) announces two open positions: Policy Director and Strategic Communications Manager.
On May 11, a federal court jury in DC awarded our profoundly deaf client, William Pierce, $70,000 for the harm he suffered when he spent 51 days in the DC Jail with almost no accommodation for his inability to hear and speak. He had no American Sign Language interpreter for his meetings with medical personnel for his medical problems, for his anger management class, or his graphic arts class, and he spent two weeks in solitary confinement by mistake because of his inability to communicate with guards. In an earlier opinion in the case, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled that DC violated Mr. Pierce’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act when they took no action to determine what accommodation he needed to be able to communicate effectively with prison staff.
The Washington Post’s coverage of the verdict is here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/us-jury-orders-dc-corrections-to-pay-70000-to-deaf-inmate-in-ada-claim/2016/05/11/6bf30a0a-1797-11e6-9e16-2e5a123aac62_story.html
Press Release For: Monday, May 9, 2016, at 2:00 PM
ACLU RELEASES REPORT ON DCPS’s “EMPOWERING MALES OF COLOR INITIATIVE”
Report finds no justification for single-sex educational programs – DCPS chooses to leave girls behind
Washington, DC – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU-DC) have released a report, Leaving Girls Behind: An analysis of Washington D.C.’s “Empowering Males of Color” Initiative. The report, which summarizes the results of a Freedom of Information Law request, focuses on the exclusion of women and girls from the programming launched under this this new, $20 million initiative. Despite statistics showing that girls of color in Washington DC are suffering from many of the same serious educational disparities facing boys of color, the programs launched under this initiative appear to be open almost exclusively to boys, with no plans for any similar programming for girls.
Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony on Bill 21-578, the “Protecting Students Digital Privacy Act of 2016.” My name is Melanie Bates and I am the Director of Policy and Communications at the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU-DC). I am here today on behalf of our more than 3,000 members across all eight wards in the District of Columbia.
In the digital age, governments and corporations are armed with powerful tools that enable them to get at our personal information without our knowledge or consent. The risk these tools present to Americans’ privacy is made far worse by the fact that our privacy laws have failed to keep pace with new technologies.
Corporations should only be able to access our personal data, or your children’s data, if you’ve given them clear and explicit permission to do so. The same rule applies to the government, which also can get a warrant if it doesn’t want to seek or fails to get your permission. But using stealthy, secret or concealed technologies to get your data without your knowledge and consent is not acceptable, and we need stronger laws to prevent it from happening and to punish those who do it. This is especially the case when it comes to protecting the District’s children, such as Councilmember Grosso’s Protecting Students Digital Privacy Act of 2016 aims to do. By introducing this legislation, Councilmember Grosso has recognized that our laws should empower parents and children to decide who they want to share personal, private information with. Isn’t that a right we should be extending to all families in the District of Columbia in 2016? We strongly believe it is.
There are upcoming opportunities to watch ACLU in court. Questions? Please contact us at 202-457-0800.
This case involves the surreptitious use of a cell site simulator, a cell phone surveillance device commonly known as a “Stingray.”2 These privacy-invasive devices have been employed by law enforcement agencies for years with little to no oversight from legislative bodies or the courts due to a deliberate policy of secrecy.3 Cell site simulators can be installed in vehicles, mounted on aircraft, or even carried by hand.4 They masquerade as the cellular tower antennas of wireless companies such as AT&T and Sprint, and in doing so, force all mobile phones within the range of the device that subscribe to the impersonated wireless carrier to emit identifying signals, which can be used to locate not only a particular suspect, but bystanders as well. In this case, Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) officers transmitted signals through the walls of homes and vehicles in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood to force Defendant’s mobile phone to transmit its unique serial number and, as a result, reveal its location. In the process, MPD also collected data about an unknown number of bystanders’ phones. Amici submit this brief to provide publicly available facts about cell site simulators’ capabilities to inform the Court of Fourth Amendment concerns unique to this technology. Amici also explain why, in light of the extreme secrecy surrounding law enforcement use of cell site simulators in the District, it is crucial that the Court provide guidance to police, prosecutors, and the public about the Fourth Amendment’s application to cell site simulator surveillance, even if the Court could resolve the case without reaching the merits of this issue.
We are demanding a stop to the inhumane raids of Central American families and individuals who have fled horrific violence in their home countries and are seeking refuge in the United States. Since 2014, at least 83 immigrants have been deported back to death in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. For this, President Obama protect those who qualify for DACA and DAPA from deportations, expand Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to individuals in the United States from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala - countries where conditions more than justify a TPS designation, and expand the Central American Minor (CAM) program. Join us as we call for a change to enforcement-only tactics being utilized by DHS at the expense of families seeking refuge. Deporting children and families who have fled violence and spreading newfound fear in our communities is irresponsible and inhumane, and we refuse to accept this as the new normal from the Obama Administration.
By introducing this legislation, you have recognized that higher education is critical to young people achieving their fullest potential, and have made a policy choice to make our public university equally accessible to all students who have been educated in our local secondary schools. You have also recognized that a well-educated population leads to increased learning power and disposable incomes that stimulate economic growth in the District’s economy. With enactment of such equal education laws, the District will remove economic impediments to those high school graduates pursuing higher education and will prevent the penalization of children who were brought to the United States at a young age by their parents.
Students who stand to benefit from the UDC DREAM Amendment Act of 2015 are, by and large, talented high achievers. They grew up in the District of Columbia and overcame the odds to graduate from high school and secure admission to a public university. However, for most of these high school graduates, the door to higher education remains closed and locked because they cannot afford to attend a public university without in-state tuition. This bill will also benefit certain citizen children who attended high school in the District and graduated or obtained their GED here, and who are seeking to return to the District to pursue college. We welcome them back.