Chippewa Valley Civil Liberties Union
Annual Meeting Minutes for September 20, 2012
Houligans Steak and Seafood Pub, Eau Claire
1. President Stephanie Turner called the meeting to order at 6:40 p.m.
2. Minutes of the October 26, 2011, meeting were approved as distributed.
3. The treasurer’s report was approved as distributed. Currently the savings account has $5.01 and the checking account has $996.49.
4. Six candidates for the board made short statements of introduction and commitment to civil liberties. Approved by unanimous consent were the following:
Sara Adams, Christopher J. Jorgenson, Anna Lane, Mildred Larson, Alida Markgraf, Stephanie Turner, Paul Wagner.
5. Stacy Harbaugh, ACLU-WI Communications Director, addressed questions about the status of Wisconsin voting rights, protesters’ rights in the capitol building and the domestic partner registry. She also promoted the newly redesigned ACLU-WI website (www.aclu-wi.org).
6. The meeting adjourned about 7:00 p.m.
Special guest speaker, Chris Soghoian, Senior Policy Analyst for the ACLU’s Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology, delivered a presentation at UW-EC’s Phillips Recital Hall at 7:40 p.m.: “Can you hear me now? Law enforcement surveillance of internet and mobile communications.”
Selected notes from the presentation:
Surveillance today has a whole new scale compared to 50 years ago. No longer requiring workers on a telephone pole, surveillance today is done with keystrokes on the computer keyboard.
Justice Louis Brandeis is considered the father of privacy rights. In 1928 he warned of surveillance issues already as cameras came into use.
We know the most about real time surveillance because reports are filed. There were about 2700 wiretaps in 2011. Almost always wiretap orders are easy to obtain. Drugs are the most common reason for taps. Location information (easily obtained in GPS in cellphones) is very useful to government.
So whose fingers are now at the keyboard? Not so much government, but rather ATT, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Sprint, Verizon. The government can then require access to the data produced by these companies and websites. There are about 1.5 million carrier requests per year. Sprint gets about 500,000 subpoenas per year; Sprint carries much of the prepaid-phone customer data. Anything Google or Facebook has, the government can get. We don’t know how many requests most companies get, but Google does publish its records.
Most companies don’t warn their customers (bad for business). The most effective way to keep data away from government is to destroy it first. Google keeps search logs about 18 months. Business models are incompatible with strong privacy protections from government. Despite claims to protect privacy, the companies nowhere explain the actual rules of what they do when they get government requests. When consumers find out how easy it is for the government to surveil, the companies will lose customers and money.
VPN service companies hide your identity online.