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Automated “Extreme Vetting” Won’t Work and Will Be Discriminatory

Today, CDT joined 55 civil society groups, as well as leading computer and data science experts, to oppose the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) automated extreme vetting initiative. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to use automated technology and social media data to decide who gets deported or denied entry to the United States. This initiative is not only discriminatory but also technically infeasible.

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Privacy Protections Won’t Make You More Vulnerable To Being Hacked

Californians are very close to getting privacy protections for their web browsing history. But a dangerous new ad campaign is using misinformation to trick internet users into opposing a bill that would give them more control over their personal information. An anonymous advertiser is telling Californians that they will be more vulnerable to hacking or data breach if the legislature passes broadband privacy protections. These claims are not just false – they shamefully exploit internet users’ understandable fears about data security.

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Digital Decisions Tool

Two years ago, CDT embarked on a project to explore what we call “digital decisions” – the use of algorithms, machine learning, big data, and automation to make decisions that impact individuals and shape society. To help mitigate harm at the design level, we have launched the first public version of our digital decisions tool..

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CDT Comments: FCC Cannot Rule That ISPs May Advertise False Broadband Speeds

Last week, CDT filed comments urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not to gut its own authority or limit the authority of state governments to prohibit false advertising by internet service providers. A petition by NCTA and USTelecom asked the FCC to declare that broadband providers can advertise speeds well above the actual speeds customers would receive from their broadband service, as long as the providers disclose the actual speeds on their websites.

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CDT Launches State Privacy Resource Center

Last week, we wrote about the importance of state governments’ role in protecting consumer privacy, particularly when the federal government fails to pass (or repeals) privacy laws. Today, CDT launched its State Privacy Resource Center, a repository of materials to help state legislators and policymakers craft, support, and enforce effective privacy protections. The resources you will find here include a guide to defining technology-related terms, a state-by-state compendium of student privacy laws, and a discussion of the impact of digital technology on workplace privacy.

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Feds and States Must Work Together on Consumer Privacy

So far, 2017 has been a bad year for consumer privacy protections at the federal level. In response, state lawmakers are working to protect consumer privacy where the federal government has fallen short. The role of the states in protecting privacy is more important than ever, and it’s disappointing to see federal lawmakers and industry groups attempt to gut states’ authority to protect consumers.

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5 Takeaways from the New DHS Privacy Guidance

To comply with the executive order, DHS released new policy guidance on April 27. The new policy acknowledges that DHS can no longer extend statutory Privacy Act protections to non-U.S. persons, but it also explains what the agency must do to continue to protect the privacy of non-U.S. persons. It’s still early to tell how the policy will work in practice, but here are a few takeaways.

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Promising Hearing on Section 702

On Wednesday, March 1, the House Judiciary Committee held a promising hearing to review Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which expires on Dec. 31, 2017 unless reauthorized. Section 702 authorizes surveillance targeting non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States if a “primary purpose” of the surveillance is to collect foreign intelligence information. Section 702 surveillance programs were among the more prominent surveillance programs revealed in 2013 by Edward Snowden. After a lengthy, reportedly well-attended classified session with intelligence officials, only a handful of members returned for the open session. But the members who did return made the most of their time; in particular, Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Ted Poe (R-TX), and Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked many of the right questions and signaled the need for meaningful reforms to 702 to protect civil liberties. Their questions and concerns suggest that Section 702 reauthorizing legislation must include substantial reforms in order to get through the House Judiciary Committee.

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FCC Move to Stay Broadband Privacy Rules Threatens Internet Users’ Privacy

The chairman of the FCC announced today that he will block critical privacy and data security protections from taking effect on March 2. Chairman Pai intends to stay at least part of the FCC’s broadband privacy rule, which gives internet users the ability to control how ISPs use and share their personal information, and requires ISPs to take reasonable measures to protect the security of customer data. We oppose this stay.

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Frequently Asked Questions: The FCC’s Broadband Privacy Rule

In October 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules giving internet users control over how broadband providers use and share their personal information. Groups representing telecommunications companies have petitioned the FCC to weaken or rescind the rules and have asked Congress to roll them back. Rolling back the broadband privacy rules would put consumers at the mercy of the companies they rely on for internet service, without any clear privacy protections for the sensitive personal information those companies have access to. This FAQ is meant to inform internet users, policy makers, and the media about the basics of the FCC’s broadband privacy rule, why it’s under attack, and why it must be preserved.

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