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The EU-US Umbrella Agreement and the Judicial Redress Act: Small Steps Forward for EU Citizens’ Privacy Rights

One of the European Commission’s responses to the Snowden revelations was the swift adoption of the ‘EU-US Umbrella Agreement’. The objective of the Commission is to put in place a high level of data protection when personal information is transferred between the US and an EU country for the purpose of investigating, detecting, or prosecuting a crime. It was recently initialed by EU and US negotiators, pending US Congress adoption of the Judicial Redress Act. We view these developments as limited, but not insignificant improvements on the privacy rights of EU citizens.

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CISA Manager’s Amendment Falls Short on Privacy and Security

The Senate is expected to consider the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) (S. 754) on the Senate floor this week. The managers of the bill released a manager’s amendment on July 31 that makes some important changes to the bill, but that leaves key privacy and security concerns that CDT identified unaddressed or insufficiently addressed. In short, there are some partial fixes, but huge problems remain.

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Troublesome Cyber Surveillance Bill Advances

After adopting several privacy amendments in a closed door meeting last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee has publicly released the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). The bill would permit companies in the private sector to share information about their users’ Internet activity with the federal government. CDT welcomes many of the amendments, but still opposes the legislation.

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LEADS Act Extends Important Privacy Protections, Raises Concerns

Today, Senators Hatch, Coons, and Dean Heller introduced legislation that would preclude the use of U.S. warrants to obtain communications content stored outside the U.S. unless the content is in the account of an American. The Law Enforcement Access To Data Stored Abroad Act (“LEADS Act”) may garner support from tech and telecom companies. While CDT has some specific concerns with the bill, we applaud the bill’s overall thrust and we commend Senators Hatch, Coons, and Heller for taking on one of the most difficult and important issues affecting the global Internet.

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Cybersecurity Bill Would Dismantle Hard-Fought Privacy Protections

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014 is going to be marked up today by the Senate Intelligence Committee. As with most Intelligence Committee mark ups, this one will be held secretly, thus depriving the public of much information about the matters the Committee considered. However, to its credit, Committee staff released a discussion draft of the bill in April, and a subsequent discussion draft in June, enabling public comment. As compared to the Cybersecurity Act the Senate considered in July, 2012, the bill would dismantle many hard-fought privacy protections that had improved that legislation as it moved to the Senate floor.

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Welcome Sarah St. Vincent

Sarah St.Vincent is CDT’s new Human Rights and Surveillance Fellow. An experienced human rights lawyer, Sarah joins us following a clerkship at the International Court of Justice, where she worked for Judges Xue Hanqin and Giorgio Gaja. Sarah will draw on her experience with the ICJ and other international human rights bodies to advocate for government surveillance practices that comply with human rights standards.

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Cell Phone Searches: The Government Again Urges Court to Ignore Technology’s Implications

The Supreme Court has been doing a pretty good job of resisting government arguments that interpretation of the Fourth Amendment should ignore the implications of modern technology. Two years ago, for example, the government argued to the Court that using a GPS device to track an automobile 24/7 for nearly a month was no different from assigning a police officer to tail someone. Following a person on the public streets was never considered a “search” under the Fourth Amendment, the government stressed, so using a GPS device to do the same should not be subject to Constitutional limits either. While the Justices split on their reasoning, not a single one accepted the government’s invitation to ignore the precision and persistence of GPS technology. Instead, all the Justices agreed that attaching a GPS device to a car and tracking it for a prolonged period, even on the public streets, was a search and therefore covered by the Fourth Amendment.

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