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Oakland Shows Leadership in Passing Strong Surveillance Law

Ubiquitous surveillance has the potential to chill speech, limit our freedom of association, and disrupt the personal boundaries we should enjoy, even while in public. The city of Oakland recognized this and has demonstrated great leadership in recently passing a strong surveillance oversight law. The law gives fundamental oversight abilities to Oakland citizens for the technology that could be used by the government to monitor them.

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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 Online Dating Met Facebook

At this week’s Facebook Developer Conference, or F8, the social network company announced that it will begin introducing online dating features onto its platform. Its plans are especially intriguing because it effectively merges traditional dating with technology; Facebook can harness social signals used in offline dating – mutual friends, family connections, or school, work, and church networks – while also providing would-be daters the same frictionless experience and abundance of potential choices that characterize the online dating ecosystem. Facebook is promising more information in the months ahead, but incorporating a dating service directly into an existing social network platform raises some privacy and safety questions.

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Ethically Scraping and Accessing Data: Governments Desperately Seeking Data

As cities get smarter, their appetite and access to information is also increasing. The rise of data-generating technologies has given government agencies unprecedented opportunities to harness useful, real-time information about citizens. But governments often lack dedicated expertise and resources to collect, analyze, and ultimately turn such data into actionable information, and so have turned to private-sector companies and academic researchers to get at this information. As the maze of partnerships among public officials, private companies, academics, and independent researchers becomes more tangled, a clear path out of the status quo may be challenging. On-demand platforms, as they continue to disrupt local economies, continue to be a significant flashpoint.

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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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EC Initiative on Disinformation Must Not Curb Free Expression

The European Commission has, as expected, published a Communication on “Tackling Online Disinformation: A European Approach”. The Communication comes on the back of a public consultation and a report from a “High-Level Group on Fake News”. But we worry that the speed with which the Commission wants to proceed, and the lack of clarity regarding the scope of the problem it wants to address, will push online service providers, aided by technology tools and fact checkers, to curtail free expression, political debate and access to information.

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The EC Wants Europe to Lead on AI – But Its Restrictive Copyright Draft Rules for TDM Will Not Help

On 25 April 2018, the European Commission published its Communication on “Artificial Intelligence for Europe”. The Communication lays out a broad set of policies and initiatives for the European Union to undertake the deployment and development of artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe. The Commission’s focus on ensuring that the benefits of AI can be enjoyed by all of society is appropriate. CDT’s thinking in this area has focused on tools that can help technology developers build safeguards against unintended bias and other ethical pitfalls as they design automated decision-making processes. We look forward to engaging with the proposed AI Alliance on these and other issues.

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