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A New Day for Privacy Dawns in California

California’s passage of AB 375, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, reshapes the conversation about privacy law and regulation in the United States. CDT annotated key issues and concerns in the legislation, and we intend to track how these provisions are debated and potentially changed before January 1, 2020. We highlight five areas of the law that will require additional consideration from legislators, advocates and industry.

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What Congress Should Ask Mark Zuckerberg

In the coming days, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before both houses of Congress about transparency and data use by his company. He will testify first at a hearing held jointly by the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on April 10 and then before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11. CDT hopes that members of Congress will ask about Facebook’s approach and commitment to the privacy of its users, its advertising-driven business model and susceptibility to abuse, and whether the company now believes it is time to support a comprehensive privacy law in the United States.

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FTC Regains Some Oversight of ISPs, but Consumers Still Lack Strong Privacy Protections

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit delivered some good news to the FTC: in an en banc decision, the court reversed a September 2016 panel opinion that gave common carriers – companies that provide telecommunications services such as mobile and landline phone service – a get out of jail free card from the FTC’s enforcement authority. The ruling this week returns the FTC’s ability to bring actions against businesses when they are not acting as common carriers.

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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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