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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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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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CDT Brief in Spokeo v. Robins Supports Individual Claims for Privacy Violations

If Congress grants you legal protections and a remedy when they are violated, can the courts step in and remove those rights if they don’t believe there’s an actual harm? Today, CDT filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case Spokeo v. Robins to answer that very question and support the ability of private individuals to file claims for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In the brief, we argue that the private right of action is a vital part of FCRA now more than ever, and that limiting private claims could lead to an increase in inaccurate data.

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Changes to Short-Term Rental Laws Must Include Privacy and Free Speech Protections

This week, the California Senate and the City of San Francisco are contemplating changes to the laws governing short-term rentals, which allow for individuals to host guests in their homes, using platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. We have serious concerns about the implications of these proposals, specifically on how they will affect individual privacy, security, and free speech.

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Civil Agencies Want More Consumer Data — Will They Keep Privacy in Mind?

It’s not surprising that civil agencies, including transportation commissions, health departments, and housing authorities, may want access to the data that service providers collect on behalf of their users. But balancing the needs of government agencies and the privacy of individuals will be vital in order to ensure that any use of such data doesn’t infringe upon individual rights.

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California ECPA Coalition Looks to Modernize Email Privacy

CDT, in partnership with a diverse coalition of companies and advocacy groups, announced its support of a bill authored by California state legislators designed to enshrine strong privacy protections for electronic communications in California law. The California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) would create a warrant standard for electronic communications, requiring police to obtain a warrant before gathering electronic communications information from service providers.

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White House Data Breach Legislation Must be Augmented to Improve Consumer Protection

As we’ve observed for years, federal data breach legislation has been frequently suggested following high profile data breaches, but has yet to make significant traction in Congress. In fact, the President called for data security legislation as recently as October 2014, to no avail. This time, the White House has released its own legislative language (based on its 2011 cybersecurity proposal) — the Personal Data Notification & Protection Act.

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CDT to NYC Taxi Commission: Consider Privacy When Revising Rules

Today, CDT sent a letter to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), urging the TLC to protect individual privacy when considering proposed revisions to its rules governing cabs and dispatchers. The proposed regulations are in response to the increased use of smartphones to order cabs and are intended to protect drivers and promote public safety, according to the TLC. This is a laudable goal, of course; however, by mandating bulk transmission of data, individual privacy interests are implicated.

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