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Illinois Bill Repealing Biometric Protections is an Unnecessary Privacy Loss

Biometric information — data that pertains to an individual’s biological characteristics, like facial recognition patterns, DNA, fingerprints, and iris scans — is some of the most sensitive data about each of us, in part because it is generally immutable. You can get a new email address, but getting a new genome is a lot harder. It’s for these reasons that we’ve consistently argued for limited collection of biometric information, and strong protections for its use and retention. Illinois, which has one of the the country’s strongest state biometric privacy laws on the books, may soon significantly weaken its protections. We hope the Illinois Legislature doesn’t take such a misguided step.

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Local Proposals to Regulate Short-Term Housing Raise Section 230 Problems

Much of the internet’s success has been due to Section 230, the federal law that has encouraged the development of user-generated content platforms for more than twenty years. Unfortunately, as technology companies begin to operate in spaces traditionally regulated by states and cities, we have seen many instances in which they attempt to regulate service providers, some of whom fall within Section 230’s protections.

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Spokeo Ruling Gives Few “Concrete” Answers on Privacy Rights

It may be a truth that in Supreme Court cases, tricky issues lead to tricky opinions. That was certainly the case in yesterday’s decision in Spokeo v. Robins, which concerned “standing” — the legal doctrine detailing when people get to file lawsuits. But at oral argument last November, it became clear how many other issues were implicated. The ruling left many of these issues unaddressed.

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6

Collection of Biometric Data Poses Serious Privacy and Personal Security Risks

Fingerprints. Iris scans. Blood samples. These types of data, referred to as biometric identifiers, are some of the most sensitive forms of identification in existence. Once biometric data is breached, improperly shared, or used for tracking, it’s very difficult for an individual to regain control and prevent misuse. Regulatory proposals that require the collection of biometric samples need to be re-evaluated in an era in which such data is collected from many more individuals — and in which that data is much more vulnerable.

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7

Finding Solutions to Privacy and Security Challenges in the On-Demand Economy

Many of the companies that are pioneers in the “on-demand” space are proving popular around the globe, but as these companies enter into traditionally regulated spaces, questions about the user privacy and security are cropping up – for both providers and consumers. Importantly, these companies often have far more data on consumers than traditional entities. As a result of this mass amount of new data, a number of vital questions must be addressed.

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A Major Win for Privacy: California ECPA Signed into Law

Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA), which enshrines into law a warrant requirement for digital information — including content, location information, and metadata — for California law enforcement agencies. This is a historic win for privacy; we hope that other states and Congress take up the call to modernize protections for electronic data.

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10

Facebook Should Reform Its “Real Name” Policies

CDT, along with several other advocacy organizations, sent a letter to Facebook urging them to reconsider their “real name” policy that has led to criticism from a variety of groups. While Facebook’s policy is an attempt to correlate one’s online identity with an objective, non-constructed self, you don’t need a doctorate in sociology to understand that in our world, all identities are constructed.

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