[Politech logo]

Politech is the oldest Internet resource devoted to politics and technology. Launched in 1994 by Declan McCullagh, the mailing list has chronicled the growing intersection of culture, technology, politics, and law. Since 2000, so has the Politech web site.

Whoops! ACLU exposes email addresses -- just like Eli Lilly?


From: "Jim Harper - Privacilla.org" <jim.harper@privacilla.org>
To: "'Declan McCullagh'" <declan@well.com>
Subject: ACLU reveals 850 plus e-mail addresses in "Protect Your Civil 
Liberties/Civil Rights: ACLU's Safe and Free Campaign"
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 14:45:57 -0500


The e-mail below was sent to over 850 individuals and organizations (mailed 
at 12:37 pm; received here 12:53 pm) with addresses in the To: line rather 
than the bc: line.  A recall request to the same list followed at 1:03 
(received here 1:27 pm)   Along with learning names and e-mail addresses, 
recipients can infer that others on the list are activists, sympathizers, 
or lurkers with the ACLU or allied organizations.  (I am proud to say 
publicly that I fit into more than one of those categories.)

  In 2001, the Eli Lilly company did the same thing to a smaller number of 
subscribers (699) to its Prozac Reminder Service.  The ACLU filed a 
complaint against the company with the Federal Trade 
Commission.  http://archive.aclu.org/news/2001/n070501b.html   Early last 
year, the FTC found that the gaffe had rendered Lilly's claim of privacy 
and confidentiality deceptive because Lilly failed to maintain or implement 
internal measures appropriate under the circumstances to protect sensitive 
consumer information.  See http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2002/01/elililly.htm

Here is the ACLU s information / privacy policy: 
http://www.aclu.org/Privacy.cfm and relevant excerpts:

Individual information about website visitors, including e-mail addresses, 
is never shared with third parties (except as provided for in the section 
on email list subscriptions below).

The ACLU uses your email address to update you on news that you have 
requested. To deliver this information to you, we use ClickAction Email 
Relationship Management (ERM), an email marketing service that helps us to 
conduct targeted permission-based email campaigns. When registering for our 
email newsletter(s), ClickAction may collect and store the personal 
information that you provide on our behalf, but the contract between the 
ACLU and ClickAction prohibits it from sharing, renting, selling or trading 
any of this information to parties other than ACLU. In addition to its own 
strict privacy policy, ClickAction is a member of several industry privacy 
associations including: the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email 
and TRUSTe. ClickAction also adheres to all Federal and State privacy laws 
such as the FTC's privacy guidelines and other industry standards. To learn 
more about ClickAction's privacy policy, go to 

It appears that this error renders the ACLU s privacy policy as deceptive 
as Eli Lilly s was.  The risk of having one s affiliation with the ACLU 
revealed can chill the free speech that the ACLU argues for so often and so 
well.  But I suspect strongly that just as in the Lilly case the 
embarrassment of revealing subscriber information is more than enough 
incentive to get the ACLU to adopt better privacy/security measures in the 
future.  Any kind of investigation or enforcement by regulators would be 
overkill (even if they did have jurisdiction).  List members who have been 
harmed by the ACLU s error have common law rights that they can pursue to 
make themselves whole.

Everyone who e-mails large groups is at risk for this kind of error.  It s 
unfortunate when it happens.  But the folks who make a federal privacy case 
out of it may end up with egg on their faces, which seems to have happened 

Jim Harper



-----Original Message-----
From: safeandfreenews [mailto:safeandfreenews@aclu.org]
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 12:37 PM
To: [deleted to avoid further exposure of ACLU list members]

Subject: Protect Your Civil Liberties/Civil Rights: ACLU's Safe and Free 

In a true grassroots movement that harkens back to the founders and their 
refusal to accept repressive policies, dozens of communities around the 
country have passed municipal resolutions opposing actions taken by the 
Bush Administration since the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

More than 5 million Americans live in communities that have taken action to 
protect civil liberties. Among the 43 communities, in 19 states, that have 
taken action against the Bush Administration policies are cities as diverse 
as Detroit, Michigan, Fairbanks, Alaska, San Francisco, California and 
Carrboro, North Carolina.

The ACLU continues to work -- as part of its ongoing "Safe and Free" 
campaign -- with dozens of other communities around the country to help 
them go on the record against repressive legislation. The resolutions 
specifically single out provisions in the USA Patriot Act, the 
controversial anti-terrorism law passed in October 2001.

If you want to organize a similar effort in your community, the ACLU can 
help. Sign up here to receive organizing advice and materials on How to 
Pass a Resolution in Your Community and a Draft Resolution.

February 2003


"Keep America Safe and Free: The ACLU's Campaign to Defend the 
Constitution," was launched last fall, nearly one year to the day after 
Congress hastily passed the USA Patriot Act.

"Those who ask the American people to choose whether they want to be safe 
or free are presenting a false choice," ACLU Executive Director Anthony 
Romero said at that time. "The difficult task ahead is to create a new and 
more powerful balance between two fundamental values -- liberty and 
security. In this way America can be both safe and free."

To kick off the campaign, the ACLU unveiled a 30-second television spot 
that graphically illustrates how essential freedoms have been curtailed in 
the name of security since Sept. 11. Now, starting this month, a 
hard-hitting print ad campaign, featuring John Ashcroft as the "editor" of 
the Bill of Rights will run in national magazines. (See story, right panel.)

Another crucial feature of the Safe and Free Campaign is the grassroots 
organizing and legislative lobbying. That includes working to pass local 
and state ordinances prohibiting local law enforcement participation in 
repressive Administration initiatives, such as those involving immigration 
laws. (See story, left panel.)

Help us safeguard democracy, especially in a time of crisis. Use the links 
on this page to take action now, and to help spread the word about what we 
all can do to fight this unprecedented assault on the Constitution and the 
Bill of Rights.

ACLU's Inaugural Membership Conference
June 11, 2003, to June 15, 2003

American Civil Liberties Union
To unsubscribe, send a request to safeandfreenews@aclu.org

For more than 200 years, the Bill of Rights has stood as a wall between 
government abuse and the rights of a free people--and that wall is being 

Both English and Spanish (Espaņol) versions of the ad are available for 

That is the message of a blunt new ACLU print ad, "The Authors/The Editor," 
which began appearing in national publications this month.

Superimposed over shredded fragments from the Bill of Rights, the ad 
juxtaposes a historic portrait of "The Authors" (the Founding Fathers) with 
a scowling photo of "The Editor" (U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft), 
making a scissors-like gesture with his fingers. It lists some of the 
liberties Ashcroft has slashed in his response to 9/11, and urges Americans 
to act before their remaining freedoms are no more.

Over the next few months, the ad is scheduled to appear in such 
publications as Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Harper's, Foreign Affairs, 
New York Review of Books, Ms. Magazine, Mother Jones, The Nation and The 


POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
To subscribe to Politech: http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/
Like Politech? Make a donation here: http://www.politechbot.com/donate/
Declan McCullagh's photographs are at http://www.mccullagh.org/

Enter your email address to join Politech, Declan McCullagh's moderated technology and politics announcement list:

Return to politechbot.com