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Facebook Settlement Shows FTC Will Not Limit How Companies Use Our Data, so Congress Must

Today’s settlement asks the public to trust that Facebook can make the right decision when it comes to collecting data about children, using our faces for products and services, and processing our health and financial information. But we should not have to trust Facebook. Instead, we — and Congress — ought to determine what the rules of the road will be moving forward.

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De-Identification Should be Relevant to a Privacy Law, But Not an Automatic Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card

Stakeholders recommend exempting de-identified data, which includes anonymized, pseudonymized, and aggregated information, from the scope of privacy legislation. However, completely exempting these types of data is not just untenable; it is dangerous. In some cases de-identification fails to hide individual identities, and does not always prevent harms to groups of people. So what is the policy solution? In this post, we make three key recommendations.

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3

The GDPR's Impact on Innovation Should Not Be Overstated

Protecting individuals’ privacy is far too often pitted against innovation and economic interests. However, this doesn’t have to be the case: strong privacy laws can establish clearer ground rules that level the playing field for businesses large and small and protect individuals from unfair, surprising, and privacy-invading practices. Thus far, the evidence that GDPR has hurt small- and medium-sized businesses is anecdotal and ultimately inconclusive.

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4

The Washington Privacy Act Raises Important Considerations for Comprehensive Privacy Proposals

As states across the country grapple with how to enshrine meaningful privacy protections into law, SB 5376 — the Washington Privacy Act — is a serious proposal to require companies to use data in equitable and legitimate ways. While many states have introduced consumer privacy legislation modeled after the California Consumer Privacy Act, Washington state legislators have offered a positive alternative approach that still has room for improvement. In this post, we highlight five key areas of SB 5376 that are potentially problematic and deserve additional attention from lawmakers.

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6

Americans Deserve a Law Protecting Their Digital Privacy - Here’s Our Proposal

Privacy is a fundamental human right. For too long, Americans’ digital privacy has varied widely, hinging on the technologies and services we use, on the companies that provide those services, and on our capacity to navigate confusing notices and settings. It’s time for Congress to pass legislation providing comprehensive protections for personal information. To advance this dialogue, CDT has put forth a draft federal privacy bill for discussion.

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7

Dockless Mobility Pilots Let Cities Scoot Away with Sensitive Data

Dockless mobility services generate a tremendous amount of data that can potentially improve transportation infrastructure, and cities like Detroit and Los Angeles are racing to create new data standards to collect and analyze mobility data. Building on our earlier work on government data demands, CDT has called on transportation authorities to adopt clear and robust privacy and security safeguards. These policies should build off of longstanding Fair Information Practices, include appropriate access controls, and address the availability of mobility data to researchers.

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8

CDT Signs Onto Principles for Privacy Legislation, Calls On NTIA to Promote Robust Privacy Law in Congress

CDT joined with 34 other civil rights, consumer, and privacy advocacy organizations in releasing public interest principles for privacy legislation. Together, we have called for a Congress to enact a law that promotes fairness, prevents discrimination, and advances equal opportunity wherever and whenever data is collected, used, or shared. We have also filed comments with the Trump administration calling for the same.

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9

Techsplanations: Part 5, Virtual Private Networks

Welcome to “Techsplanations,” written for those who would like to have a better understanding of the technologies that shape our everyday lives. One increasingly popular and prominent privacy-enhancing tool is the virtual private network, or VPN, which we’re going to explain a bit on this page and talk about some of the challenges internet users have using VPNs.

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10

Face Recognition Principles are a Step Forward But Congress Needs to Act

Companies are eager to deploy face tracking for their own ends, but FRTs have the potential to significantly alter our day-to-day existence in the public square. Companies and retailers should provide much more detail about their biometric data practices, and as Congress and the White House begin to discuss the contours of a federal baseline privacy law, facial recognition technologies deserve special attention.

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