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Four Questions Senators Should Ask at Tomorrow’s SESTA Hearing

Members of Congress must seriously consider the consequences of altering one of the cornerstones of the open internet in the US, the law known as Section 230. Tomorrow, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on S.1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). CDT and many other organizations have opposed SESTA. As members Committee consider SESTA the hearing, here are several questions that they should be asking.

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Privacy Protections Won’t Make You More Vulnerable To Being Hacked

Californians are very close to getting privacy protections for their web browsing history. But a dangerous new ad campaign is using misinformation to trick internet users into opposing a bill that would give them more control over their personal information. An anonymous advertiser is telling Californians that they will be more vulnerable to hacking or data breach if the legislature passes broadband privacy protections. These claims are not just false – they shamefully exploit internet users’ understandable fears about data security.

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Copyright in the DSM: Good and Bad News from Member State Talks on Articles 11 and 13 Copyright in the DSM: Good and Bad News from Member State Talks on Articles 11 and 13

Before the summer, we were unimpressed with the latest developments in the European Parliament on copyright reform. In particular, we had issues with the Opinions adopted in the Committees on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Culture and Education (CULT). Amendments adopted by both committees would make what we already consider a bad proposal worse. Member States are now making progress in their review of the proposal, but so far the results are a mixed bag.

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Ninth Circuit Issues Ruling on Spokeo: Inaccuracies Create Concrete Harms

Over seven years ago, CDT filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against the people-search company Spokeo, alleging that the company and other data brokers were not protecting consumers as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). A class action lawsuit filed against Spokeo in 2011, led by lead plaintiff Thomas Robins, raised a host of new issues about the nature of privacy harms, the actual protections provided by federal privacy laws, and the use of litigation as a vehicle for protecting consumers’ privacy. According to this week’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit, the accuracy of this type of information is “directly and substantially related” to the goals of the FCRA.

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Tech Talk: Not All VPNs are Created Equal and How to Make Ethical Algorithms

CDT’s Tech Talk is a podcast where we dish on tech and Internet policy, while also explaining what these policies mean to our daily lives. In this episode, we take a look at CDT’s complaint to the FTC about a VPN service that promises privacy, but is falling short of that promise. We also find out about an online resource for developers of algorithms that helps them program in ethical outcomes.

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The Vulnerabilities Equities Process: Is Congress Getting Ready to Provide Transparency and Regulation?

The Vulnerabilities Equities Process has been subject to policy debates over the last few years, but this fall Congress may act on the topic for the first time. Despite making incredibly important decisions, the VEP has generally been ignored by Congress, but two new legislative proposals would provide oversight, and in one case, light reforms.

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Hotspot Shield VPN's Privacy and Security Promises Contradict Practices

As detailed in the complaint CDT filed today with the FTC, we believe Hotspot Shield Free VPN has employed unfair and deceptive trade practices. Among other concerns, the complaint details the ways in which Hotspot Shield’s marketing claims around privacy and security directly contradict its actual practices and policies. VPNs should be in the business of giving individuals a real option for confidential internet activity, and should not use deceptive claims to expose internet users to security risks or prey upon their limited ability to compare services.

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