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The Ethics of Design: Unintended (But Foreseeable) Consequences

When data becomes divorced from its human origins, it loses context and disassociates companies from their actions – it enables decisions that defy expectations and ethics. Tech companies have experienced widespread backlash as a consequence of this disconnect. Fitness social network Strava is the latest example, after the company publicly released a heat map of aggregate user locations that inadvertently revealed U.S. military bases and personnel around the world.

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The Role of Automated Decision-making in Commercial Health

Are we creating health management systems that are responsive to differences, or ones that spit back content riddled with historical bias and discrimination? This question has implications far beyond an individual’s health; the data generated by consumer-facing health technologies frequently ends up informing broader health practices and public health research.

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Hotspot Shield VPN's Privacy and Security Promises Contradict Practices

As detailed in the complaint CDT filed today with the FTC, we believe Hotspot Shield Free VPN has employed unfair and deceptive trade practices. Among other concerns, the complaint details the ways in which Hotspot Shield’s marketing claims around privacy and security directly contradict its actual practices and policies. VPNs should be in the business of giving individuals a real option for confidential internet activity, and should not use deceptive claims to expose internet users to security risks or prey upon their limited ability to compare services.

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Data Portability’s Potential and Promise

In collaboration with the Bertelsmann Foundation, CDT is releasing a paper that explores how legal regimes founded on principles of individual control (that is, a person having some say in what happens to their data) have fared in the big data world. We examine legal frameworks in the United States, the European Union, and Germany to understand how their approaches have been challenged by big data. We also shine a light on the public’s view of their own control in big data products and services, and reflect on how these views differ in the US and abroad.

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States Step Up to Protect Privacy In Wake of FCC Ruling

In the wake of this week’s Congressional repeal of the FCC’s broadband privacy rules, states appear poised to enact legislation aimed at protecting their citizens’ privacy. The Illinois General Assembly debated yesterday morning the merits of two bills that would give state consumers more transparency and control over the collection and sharing of their personal information.

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Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act

Privacy rights are facing enormous threats in the United States – from CBP asking for social media passwords at the border to the potential rollback of broadband privacy rules. The most recent danger to privacy advanced on Wednesday when the House Education and Workforce…

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A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack swarmed servers owned by Dyn, a company that connects users to websites. The attack was conducted in part by harnessing the growing popularity of internet of things (IoT) devices. The DDoS attack was the result of failures in the private sector, the government, and even by the public. Understanding these failures is a critical to mitigating the risk of another similar attack.

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Surveying State Student Privacy Laws

In the absence of a comprehensive baseline consumer privacy law, student privacy is addressed by a patchwork of state and federal laws. With more and more states legislating around privacy in new and novel ways, understanding these laws has become challenging. To help sort through this maze of laws, CDT developed a state-by-state survey of student privacy laws, along with a great team at BakerHostetler.

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