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CDT’s 2018 Tech Resolutions

At CDT, we love technology, especially when it makes ours lives easier. While many here are among the first adopters of new technology, we also have our share of skeptics who bring a healthy dose of paranoia. This balance of perspectives makes our advocacy more thoughtful. And it means that when I asked the team what their tech resolutions for 2018 were, I received a wide range of answers. I received such great responses that I wanted to share them more broadly – I hope you enjoy them, and I would love to hear yours as well. Happy New Year everyone!

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NYC May Be at the Vanguard of Algorithmic Accountability in 2018

The New York City Council has taken a proactive step by enacting a bill establishing a task force to explore fairness, accountability, and transparency in automated decision-making systems operated by the city. This is a big deal. The use of these technologies by city governments have real impacts on citizens. Today, in New York City, algorithms have been used to assign children to public schools, evaluate teachers, target buildings for fire inspections, and make policing decisions. However, public insight into how these systems work and how these decisions are being reached is inadequate.

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Cloudflare Steps Up To Help Protect Elections with Project Athenian

It’s no exaggeration to say the US election ecosystem faces a number of challenges in the wake of the 2016 election cycle. We learned of new threats from disinformation campaigns, to attacks on state voter registration websites, to direct attacks on election officials themselves. While the philanthropic sector has been very active from grants to organizations to funding deep academic analysis of threats to the election system, the private sector has been slower to recognize the important role they can play to help better protect US elections. That is changing, particularly with the launch of Cloudflare’s Athenian Project, which will provide free-of-charge protection and content distribution for official election websites.

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Goodlatte’s Online Trafficking Bill Makes Key Improvements, But Risks to Free Speech Persist

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a markup on HR 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). The Committee will consider an amendment to the original FOSTA in the form of a substitute bill offered by Chairman Goodlatte. This bill includes a number of improvements over both the original House bill and the SESTA bill in the Senate, and we appreciate the Committee’s diligent efforts to craft a more tailored legislative approach. But CDT remains concerned that increasing the risk of criminal charges and civil claims against website operators and other online intermediaries will result in overbroad censorship of constitutionally protected speech.  

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Tech Talk: Call Congress About Net Neutrality and Section 702

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 talk about two core CDT policy issues – preserving net neutrality and limiting government surveillance. Both are facing major challenges in the United States and we hear from CDT’s leads on each about the path ahead.

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Location Data: The More They Know

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Carpenter v. United States on November 29th. Carpenter centers on whether law enforcement needs a warrant to access 127 days of historic cell-site location information (CSLI). The case is important because of the great quantity of demands for location information now being made by law enforcement, because the location information that is sought is very revealing, and because law enforcement often obtains such data without obtaining a warrant, which increases the likelihood that sensitive location information about innocent people is collected. CDT argued strenuously that the Supreme Court should require law enforcement to get a warrant before accessing CSLI in its amicus brief in Carpenter v. United States. We hope the Supreme Court will agree.

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Civil Liberties Parliamentary Committee Opposes Mandatory Censorship Filter

On 20 November, the Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament adopted its Opinion on the DSM, focusing specifically on the upload filtering provision in Article 13, and recommending that the provision be narrowed to remove content monitoring obligations. As drafted, Article 13 would force internet intermediaries to use content identification technology to prevent users from uploading unlicensed copyrighted content.

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