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The Zuckerberg Hearings: Hits, Misses, and Unanswered Questions

The House and Senate grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for a total of ten hours this week, covering privacy, content policy, and election interference. The hearings didn’t reveal new information about Facebook’s practices, but they suggested that many members of Congress are ready to move on from the status quo of weak privacy protections and unfettered data collection by companies in the U.S.

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The FTC-Venmo Privacy Settlement is All About Design

Paypal has settled charges from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that stated its popular money transferring app, Venmo, misled customers with confusing privacy settings. The FTC complaint is a lesson in the importance of user-friendly design in app privacy settings, as well as the privacy risks of combining financial transactions with social networking.

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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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