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FBI’s New Crypto Plan: Ditch Legislation, Build Thor’s Magic Hammer

Wednesday there were two Senate Hearings on encryption and law enforcement access. Despite the fact that only 0.1% of wiretaps last year encountered encryption that could not be deciphered, the FBI has been arguing that it is “going dark” – that, increasingly, they encounter communications they can’t get access to, despite having a warrant. It’s clear from today’s hearings that the tide in the encryption debate has shifted: the FBI stated explicitly that it doesn’t have a proposed solution or a legislative proposal, and is punting to the tech industry to provide solutions. However, they’re asking industry to invent something that is intrinsically impossible.

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Government Keeps Its Eyes on the Road with Invasive License Plate Reader Program

On April 2, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) that describes how the DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will find the present and past location of drivers by accessing a massive private database of vehicle location information. The program raises serious privacy concerns, with the specter of individuals’ location data being collected on a mass scale, stored for a prolonged period, and used without effective restrictions.

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Updates to Section 702 Minimization Rules Still Leave Loopholes

Recently, the Administration announced numerous changes to surveillance activities to protect privacy and civil liberties, including reforms to its Minimization Rules for Section 702, concerning retention and use of communications of or about US persons. Some of these reforms are significant improvements, but they do not adequately address ongoing problems with overbroad collection, retention, and use of information pursuant to Section 702.

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Privacy Concerns to Address if Government Expands Use of Body Cameras

CDT submitted a set of recommendations to the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing outlining key protections for the use of body cameras. While certainly not a cure-all for police misconduct issues, we believe body cameras have strong potential to aid civilians and improve community-police relations. However, urgent calls for reform threaten to cause a hurried rollout of body cameras without proper consideration of privacy protections

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Does the White House Cybersecurity Proposal Provide the Protections We Need?

Earlier this week the White House released a legislative proposal aimed at enhancing cybersecurity by authorizing new information sharing between the private sector and the government. The White House proposal contains important privacy protections not present in CISPA and CISA – bills which ignored the public outcry for reform of NSA surveillance over Americans. However, the White House proposal relies heavily on privacy guidelines and use restrictions that are currently unwritten, leaving unanswered questions about their effectiveness.

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What Rules Should Govern Police Use of Body Cameras?

Monday’s announcement that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted for shooting Michael Brown brought even greater attention to the issue of possible police misconduct. A technological solution – body-worn cameras for police officers – is garnering increased attention. The potential benefits of body-worn cameras will be fully realized only if the technology comes with privacy-protecting rules around it.

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Tales from Decrypt: FBI Wants Backdoors and Ability to Compel Access

Ever since Apple and Google announced all their new smartphones would be encrypted by default police and prosecutors have been sounding a doomsday alarm. However the government’s actions make it difficult to treat this hysteria as sincere: Even as law enforcement goes to media complaining it is now blocked out of phones, it continues to argue in court that a warrant provides open access to these devices. That method of gaining access is compelled decryption.

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