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Behold the Technical Community’s Support for Internet Privacy

More than a decade ago, CDT began participating actively in Internet standards deliberations with the belief that critical choices affecting openness and privacy online are often decided in the process of standardization. Over the years we have defended these values in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the W3C, at times with the support of other participants, but more often in the face of opposition from corporate interests. We have fought many pitched standards battles over privacy in particular, aiming to bake stronger protections into the technologies that support geolocation, online tracking, user identification, and more.

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Internet Congestion Management 101 Now Available to All

Net neutrality continues to capture the attention of policy stakeholders the world over – it was a subject of discussion at last week’s Internet Governance Forum, it is a key component of the new telecommunications regulatory package in Europe, and the FCC’s Open Internet rules are the subject of ongoing litigation in the DC Circuit Court. At the heart of some of these and other neutrality debates lies the phenomenon of Internet congestion.

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Limiting the Use of Port Blocking Advances Internet Neutrality

In debates over Internet neutrality, “port blocking” may not be getting the headlines these days, but it was once a more common practice among Internet service providers (ISPs) and is still in use today. A new report from the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG) , of which CDT is a member, makes a strong recommendation against the practice of port blocking unless no other reasonable alternatives exist. The report discusses alternatives to port blocking for ISPs to consider and other steps to minimize its impact when deployed. From CDT’s perspective, the report and its recommendations make a significant contribution to the debate about Internet neutrality. Port blocking by its nature discriminates among Internet traffic and often is used to thwart specific applications. Minimizing its use and establishing safeguards for when it does get used therefore help to keep the Internet more neutral and open.

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The Ultimate Roadmap for Privacy by Design

The privacy stories making headlines today generally focus on individual products or services, such as mobile apps, VoIP, or web-based email, and their associated privacy protections (or lack thereof). However, rarely noticed are the building blocks these Internet products and services are developed on – largely invisible but critically important technical standards, such as HTTP, IP and DNS. Can’t better privacy protections be built into these Internet protocols so that the applications developed on top of them have better inherent protections? With the publication of Privacy Considerations for Internet Protocols, Internet engineers have a new roadmap for achieving just that. The roadmap explains how privacy threats that are commonly the focus of public policy – tracking, identification, secondary use of data, and many others – manifest within technical designs. It provides engineers with guidance about how to mitigate these threats and questions they should ask themselves to assess the privacy implications of different engineering design choices. In short, it takes the concept of Privacy by Design and applies it to the task of engineering the Internet’s core technical building blocks.

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Adoption of Traffic Sniffing Standard Fans WCIT Flames

Updated December 5 The telecommunications standards arm of the U.N. has quietly endorsed the standardization of technologies that could give governments and companies the ability to sift through all of an Internet user’s traffic – including emails, banking transactions, and voice calls – without adequate…

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‘OpenStand’ Underscores Commitment to Voluntary Internet Standards

Recent proposals from several countries urging the mandatory adoption of technical standards are dangerous and misguided. Underscoring that view is today’s launch of “OpenStand,” an initiative supporting a commitment to open, voluntary technical standards for the Internet.  CDT welcomes the OpenStand paradigm.  Today…

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It Takes a Village to Defend a Network

Defending networks from malicious hacking exploits depends in large part on the voluntary, cooperative efforts of network operators, device makers, and Internet users. Today the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG) — a group of technical experts dedicated to building consensus about broadband…

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Privacy in a Future that is Forever

The Internet is running out of address space and it appears that the solution has narrowly avoided a technical issue that carried serious implications for consumer privacy. The Internet’s inventors never imagined it would explode to become a global tool linking billions of computers and…

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