Empowering local communities to weigh in on surveillance technologies

Surveillance programs carried out by local law enforcement agencies often go undisclosed to the public and to elected officials, who should have notice of these programs and the opportunity to review them before they go into effect. That’s why CDT joined 16 other organizations, led by the ACLU, to support Community Control Over Police Surveillance (CCOPS). The effort includes a set of principles to help cities develop legislation allowing them to take control of decisions about the funding, acquisition, and use of surveillance technologies.

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Blurring the Lines in Music Copyright Will Hurt Artists and Online Hosts

In the copyright infringement verdict against artists Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, a jury found the music duo guilty of copying the “total concept and feel” of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit song, “Got to Give It Up.” This holding creates the potentially dangerous notion that copyright extends past protectable elements such as melody to cover more ambiguous fields like “vibe,” “groove,” and “feel,” and could lead to significant repercussions in an era of takedowns.

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Don’t Weaken the FCC’s Proposed Privacy Rules

As the gateway to the internet, broadband providers have access to massive amounts of data about internet users’ browsing activities, communications, and preferences. This data can reveal sensitive personal information. The FCC has proposed a strong set of rules for broadband providers that will allow for innovation while giving consumers necessary and meaningful choice as to how their information is used. These rules should not be weakened.

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San Francisco's Homesharing Ordinance Conflicts With Federal Legal Protection for User-Generated Content

Some legislative crackdowns in the U.S. on short-term rental listings conflict with existing federal law – Section 230 of the Communications Act – designed to shield online content hosts against liability for their users’ speech. As state and local regulators contemplate the on-demand economy, they must understand that the federal framework for shielding intermediaries – and promoting free speech online – means that some options are off the table.

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Stopping or Delaying the IANA Transition is a Terrible Idea

In the run up to the long anticipated IANA transition on September 30, “internet give-away” rhetoric is obscuring the reality that stopping or delaying the IANA transition will undermine the interests of businesses, human rights organizations, the technical community, and the United States Government. Paradoxically, those who believe that there will be an “internet give-away” fail to realize that what they fear – empowered authoritarian regimes, imperiled free expression, and the eventual take-over of the internet by other governments or the UN – is most likely to occur by preventing the transition from happening.

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Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Michigan’s Punitive Sex Offender Law

Last week, the Sixth Circuit issued its decision in Doe v. Snyder, a case challenging state sex offender registry requirements in which CDT participated as amici. We argued that Michigan’s strict requirements for registrants to disclose their online identifiers to the authorities violated their First Amendment rights to speak without permission and self-identification. We won, in a sense: the federal court of appeals struck down Michigan’s registry law as an unconstitutional retroactive punishment, in violation of the Ex Post Facto clause.

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