Our Constitution and democratic system require that the government be transparent and accountable to the people—but not that people’s lives be an open book to the government. ACLU has been at the forefront of challenging the government’s secret surveillance, watchlists and unchecked information-sharing; its violations of our rights to privacy, free speech, due process and association; and its stigmatization of minority communities and activists disproportionately targeted by surveillance. ACLU-TN also supports open government, including access to information. Open government is a cornerstone of democracy that enables advocates, activists and the press to monitor government performance and expose corruption. Without transparency in government activities, the American people are vulnerable to deception and abuse by our leaders.
A federal judge has ruled that by engaging in surveillance of the protected political activities of activists, the Memphis police have violated a 1978 court order.