A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack swarmed servers owned by Dyn, a company that connects users to websites. The attack was conducted in part by harnessing the growing popularity of internet of things (IoT) devices. The DDoS attack was the result of failures in the private sector, the government, and even by the public. Understanding these failures is a critical to mitigating the risk of another similar attack.

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New Website Makes Thousands of CRS Reports Accessible

Twenty years ago, CDT listed accessible Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports at the top of its “10 Most Wanted Government Documents” list. In the years since, CDT and others have continued to ask Congress to make these reports more available to the public. With still no action, a new website has been launched enabling access to more than 8,000 of the report, free of charge.

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Surveying State Student Privacy Laws

In the absence of a comprehensive baseline consumer privacy law, student privacy is addressed by a patchwork of state and federal laws. With more and more states legislating around privacy in new and novel ways, understanding these laws has become challenging. To help sort through this maze of laws, CDT developed a state-by-state survey of student privacy laws, along with a great team at BakerHostetler.

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DHS Misses the Mark in Attempts to Quell Public Concerns on the Gathering of Social Media Handles

Last month, CDT opposed a proposal by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to gather information about the online presence of foreign visitors from Visa Waiver Program countries. DHS and CBP have issued an updated Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) and a Supporting Statement that discuss oversight of the program and shed light on how the collected information will be processed, but do not adequately address the fundamental concerns raised in public comments.

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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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