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.
ACLU-TN joined a lawsuit challenging Memphis' creation of a list of people who require a police escort while visiting City Hall, contending that it violates the First Amendment and a 1978 ACLU-TN consent decree prohibiting the Memphis government from monitoring constitutionally-protected political activities.