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DHS’s Misguided Social Media Retention Policy Jeopardizes Fundamental Freedoms

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an alarming notice that DHS would now retain social media information in Alien-Files (A-Files). A-Files are government records, generated in the immigration context, that include the records of an individual as they pass through the United States immigration process, and are retained by DHS for 100 years after the individual’s birthdate. This retention of social media information should not be brushed off as ‘business as usual’ for DHS. This policy, and its negative consequences for the free expression and privacy rights of both immigrants and U.S. citizens.

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Ethics, Consequence, and Free Speech Online

As the pace of technology increases, the definition of “the internet” is ever changing (e.g., the IoT space, virtual reality, etc.), so trying to nail down what should and shouldn’t be protected speech quickly becomes a bit of a harrowing task for any individual citizen. That doesn’t mean we should stop trying. Playwright Jennifer Haley’s remarks at our Future of Speech Online event highlighted the fact that these aren’t just decisions to be made in a vacuum.

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Can Data Collaboratives Improve Nonprofit Data Governance?

While nonprofits are as susceptible to the data risks, threats, and pitfalls that for-profit companies routinely trip over, it can be easy to view dollars spent on privacy and security as money diverted from other important areas. Building on a report by GovLab, here are several of CDT’s recommendations for how “data collaboratives” can help nonprofits to improve their privacy and security practices.

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FISA 702 Reform: The USA Liberty Act Puts an End to “About” Collection

Last week, a bipartisan group of Representatives introduced H.R. 3989, the USA Liberty Act, which would reauthorize Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act for an additional six years. The bill also represents the first effort at substantively reforming Section 702 in advance of the spying authority’s sunset on December 31. One of the bill’s most important provisions is its ban on collecting communications that are neither to nor from a target overseas, a practice colloquially known as “about” collection.

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An Optimistic Realist About Speech Online

Like many of us working in tech and tech policy, Mindy Finn started out as an extreme optimist about how the internet could make the world a better place. For better or worse, she is no longer a “sunny idealist,” but instead, a realist. In her remarks at the Future of Speech Online, Finn, touched on some of the most pressing challenges that technology poses to a functioning democracy.

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Free Speech is a Moving Target

Figuring out what the future of speech online is requires posing a series of new questions, not falling back on old answers. Carlos Maza, a Vox video producer, showed a willingness to ask such questions, and even be wrong, in order to move the conversation about censorship ahead.

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