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Dart Must Stop “Suffocation” of Backpage

In a major First Amendment victory, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ordered Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to halt his campaign of coercion against companies that provide financial services to The court ordered Dart to “take no actions, formal or informal, to coerce or threaten credit card companies, processors, financial institutions, or other third parties with sanctions” in order to force a website off the Internet.

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Dart's Targeting of Credit Cards to Bring Down Website Violates the First Amendment

When a law enforcement official threatens punitive action and reputational damage against a credit card company, with the goal of seeing a website starved for funds and forced to shut down, that official has violated the First Amendment. This is the message that CDT, EFF, and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia sent to the Seventh Circuit last week in our amicus brief in Backpage v. Dart.

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Intel Authorization Bill Would Turn Online Service Providers into Law Enforcement Watchdogs

Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee passed a version of the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2016 (S. 1705) that would create a new “duty to report” apparent “terrorist activity” for providers of electronic communication services, which include online content hosts, internet service providers, and public libraries and coffee shops that offer WiFi access. The ramifications of this provision, which was introduced through a secret, closed-door committee process, are immense.

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UN Report: Encryption and Anonymity Tools Essential to Free Expression Online

“Encryption and anonymity provide individuals and groups with a zone of privacy online to hold opinions and exercise freedom of expression without arbitrary and unlawful interference or attacks.” This is the message that the UN Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, delivered to the UN Human Rights Council today.

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Freedom Online Coalition Considers Best Practices for Promoting Freedom Online

This week, member governments of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) meet in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, for their 5th annual Conference. The overarching theme for the 2015 meeting is “Internet Policy Making – Best Practices for Promoting Online Freedoms” and is billed as an opportunity for governments, private sector, and civil society to discuss the threats to freedom online and the opportunities to protect and promote “fundamental freedoms and human rights.”

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Listening to the Experts on Human Trafficking

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee is considering two pieces of legislation that would help combat sex trafficking in the United States. As these bills enter committee markup on Thursday, it’s important that they remain focused on essential victim-centered reforms and providing law enforcement with necessary prosecution and prevention resources – not on measures that infringe on the First Amendment.

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