Web genius and pioneer Aaron Swartz never should have faced prosecution.
His "crime" was violating the terms of service for an online academic library called JSTOR by systematically downloading content from the site. Aaron did not profit, distribute or even read the articles he downloaded. He even returned what he took. JSTOR would eventually make millions of these articles free to the public.
In our era of expanded tracking technologies that rapidly outpace our laws, there's a lot of work to be done to get back in line with the Fourth Amendment if we want to provide reasonable protections against warrantless surveillance.
The mere fact that the police are capable of tracking someone doesn’t mean they’re entitled to do so without first getting a warrant, any more than the mere fact that it’s easy to break down someone’s front door or open their postal mail gives the police the right to take these steps without a warrant.
This past week was a great example of how our work in Maine can impact broader reform efforts across the country.
Our advocacy around solitary reform helped spur significant reductions in the rates of solitary confinement at the Maine State Prison. Maine Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte even testified at an April hearing in Illinois about the potential closing of the controversial Tamms Correctional Center, which holds prisoners in long-term solitary confinement, often for a decade or more.
Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights will hold a landmark hearing entitled, Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline. It is the first time a congressional panel will look at this disturbing national trend where children are pushed out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems because of an over reliance on punitive schoo
It's always nice to open the newspaper in the morning and read about the ACLU's work. Today was one of those days. The New York Times featured ACLU attorney Catherine Crump and lawsuits (the first in 2010) the ACLU filed over suspiciousness electronic data searches by the Department of Homeland Security at our borders.
In June, the ACLU of Maine Foundation applauded the decision of the Sanford School Committee to abandon single-sex classrooms in the fifth and sixth grades at Willard School. Documents released under the Freedom of Access Act demonstrated that the program was based on harmful gender stereotypes about the supposedly different learning styles of boys and girls.