Protecting Civil and Human Rights

The Problem

The Problem

The federal government should do everything it can to protect the civil and human rights of everyone within its borders. However, laws on the books don’t do enough to ensure that’s the case. Law enforcement officers at every level frequently violate people’s civil and human rights — with limited consequences. And law enforcement agencies abuse their surveillance powers to collect a troubling amount of information on Americans. These abuses disproportionately impact people of color and members of other historically marginalized communities. The government must do more to protect the rights of everyone within its borders. We’re pushing for reforms that will better hold law enforcement accountable for violating our rights.

Collage of a whistle, money, silhouetted figures, and text from the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act
Our Priorities

Our Priorities

To protect our civil and human rights, POGO is focusing on curtailing law enforcement abuses and defending digital rights and privacy.

  1. Curtailing Law Enforcement Abuses

    Curtailing Law Enforcement Abuses

    Too often, law enforcement agencies and officers violate civil and even human rights without consequences. That’s why we’re pushing the federal government to better hold law enforcement officers accountable for their misconduct.

    Collage of riot police in formation, a family holding their children's hands, and a group of officers
  2. Defending Our Digital Rights and Privacy

    Defending Our Digital Rights and Privacy

    Overbroad and outdated laws don’t do enough to protect our constitutional rights when it comes to surveillance technologies. We’re advocating for reforms that would curtail the government’s ability to gather information without probable cause.

    Collage of a smartphone, police officers in front of a crowd of people, and a U.S. map
What’s at Stake

What's at Stake?

Instead of Addressing Abuses, DHS Protects Predators in Its Ranks

A report leaked to POGO revealed more than 10,000 DHS employees said they experienced sexual misconduct at work. Another noted 30 cases where government guns were returned to agents against whom DHS had substantiated accusations of domestic violence.

Read the investigation

Federal Agencies Spy on Americans Every Day

Federal agencies are using a 1970s law allowing electronic surveillance of foreign intelligence to collect Americans’' text messages and emails today. How many Americans are targeted through this surveillance? The government won't say.

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People Are Dying in Federal Custody, and We Don’t Know How Many

Federal law requires the Justice Department to report every death that happens in law enforcement custody, a critical first step toward reducing such deaths. Although the law was reauthorized in 2014, DOJ still can’t give an accurate count.

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