ACLU testifies on preserving free speech and privacy rights in online counterterrorism practices

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Executive Director Anthony D. Romero testified today before a key House Homeland Security subcommittee about the importance of steadfastly preserving privacy rights and free speech while continuing effective counterterrorism efforts online. While acknowledging the challenges posed by the cyber-revolution in protecting the Internet, Romero urged members of the Homeland Security Committee to not only allow the Internet to remain an unfettered place of freedom and anonymity but to ensure the free speech and privacy rights of its users remain intact.

The Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment also heard testimony from legal scholars as well as other First Amendment and civil liberties experts.

The ACLU noted in its testimony that the Internet has become an essential communications and research tool for everyone and that viewing it as a tool for terrorists will lead to censorship and regulated speech. Some in Congress have placed inordinate and inappropriate significance on the role of the Internet in the radicalization process and have proposed shutting down objectionable websites in violation of the First Amendment.

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