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OMB Should Deny State Department’s Proposal to Collect Social Media Identifiers from 14.7 Million Visa Applicants

In August the State Department (DOS) submitted its proposal to collect social media identifiers used in the last five years from 14.7 million immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval. CDT has consistently worked with coalition partners to challenge these programs by filing and joining comments in opposition highlighting its detrimental impact on free speech, association, as well as other issues detailed below.

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State Department Should Abandon Its Plan to Collect Social Media Information From 14.7 Million Visa Applicants

In March the State Department issued a notice proposing that all immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants be required to provide their social media identifiers “for identity resolution and vetting purposes.” CDT filed comments opposing this latest social media information request, and highlighted that it would chill free speech, fail to detect threats, and lead to unintentionally incomplete applications, adverse determinations, and problematic algorithmic screening.

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Courts Step in to Protect Constitutional Rights at the Border

Twice this week courts have pushed back against suspicionless, warrantless searches of digital devices at the border, in Alassad v. Neilsen in the First Circuit and United States v. Kolsuz in the Fourth Circuit. In both cases plaintiffs argued that warrantless searches of their digital devices at the border violated their Fourth Amendment rights. Alassad survived a motion to dismiss and the the federal appellate court in Kolsuz determined that under the Fourth Amendment, U.S. border authorities cannot search travelers’ cell phones and other electronic devices without individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.

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When Your Internet Won’t Go the Speed Limit: CDT Seeks to File An Amicus Brief in People v. Charter

CDT filed a brief supporting the New York AG’s position in the pending appeal of People v. Charter Communications and Spectrum Management Holding Company, in which we focused on two issues: that the Federal Communications Commission’s Transparency Rule (the only rule slated to survive the net neutrality repeal) should not preempt New York’s consumer protection laws and that consumers are right to expect their broadband speeds to match advertised claims.

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CDT Urges Court to Uphold Fourth Amendment Protections for Email Content

Recently, CDT joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Brennan Center for Justice in a brief to argue that a user’s Fourth Amendment rights in email content do not expire when an email service provider terminates a user’s account pursuant to its terms of service. The government must still obtain a warrant prior to searching that user’s email account. The case is United States v. Ackerman, in which a district court determined – based on those facts – that a warrant was unnecessary to access email content because termination of the account vitiated the account holder’s reasonable expectation of privacy in his email. The case was appealed and we filed an amicus brief opposing this holding.

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CDT Urges Council of Europe to Ensure High Transparency Standards for Cybercrime Negotiations

Today, the Center for Democracy & Technology, along with 93 other civil society organizations, sent a letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, requesting transparency and meaningful civil society participation in the Council of Europe’s negotiations of the draft Second Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime.

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