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Still Big Threats Online, But Slowly Improving

The newest State of the Net report from Consumer Reports has concluded that several major online risks- including spyware infections- are declining in precedence. Unfortunately, spyware still cost the country 3.6 billion dollars over the last six months, with over half a million households being forced to replace computers because of spyware. While this is an intimidating…

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Quick Start to “Quiet” Month

August is traditionally a slow time in D.C., with Congress out of session and most policymakers looking to escape town for some vacation. But the early part of the month has already seen some significant developments for Internet policy. First, on August 1, the FCC voted 3-2 to adopt a controversial enforcement action against Comcast for interfering…

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Consent No Cure For Health Info Privacy Issues

An article in the Washington Post today reported on the use by health and life insurers of identifiable prescription drug records to make coverage decisions. This data is actually acquired by companies that act as data brokers or analysts on behalf of insurers, and individuals applying for insurance consent to having their prescription drug data gathered and used…

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My First IETF

Last week I had the privilege to attend the 72nd meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet’s longest-established technical standardization body. CDT has long been engaged in the work of the IETF and other standards bodies, with an eye towards both increasing public interest input into standards processes and…

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China’s “Horror Hotel”

China’s Public Security Bureau has just ordered all hotels in Beijing and Shanghai —including the most well known U.S.-owned brands— to install government software that spies on all Internet traffic by hotel guests coming to watch the summer Olympic games. The goal is not only to spy on foreign media but also to chill any plans for demonstrations…

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Another Free Speech Victory Against the FCC

In a victory for free speech, a federal appeals court ruled this week that the Federal Communications Commission stepped out of bounds when it issued an unprecedented $550,000 fine against CBS for airing Janet Jackson's infamous breast-bearing "wardrobe malfunction" during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. Echoing the seminal opinion by Second Circuit Court of Appeals on a…

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Embarq Response on Behavioral Advertising Comes Up Short

Last week we blogged about the continuing congressional pressure facing ISPs regarding their involvement in behavioral advertising. Embarq has replied to the letter that Rep. Dingell, Rep. Barton, and Rep. Markey sent last week inquiring about the company’s trials of a new system that tracks the Web sites subscribers visit and uses that data to serve…

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When Reasonable People Agree to Agree

The blogosphere pumped up the volume on the news that YouTube was being forced, under court order, to fork over its “logging database,” in the course of Viacom’s billion-dollar copyright lawsuit against the Google-owned video site. Remember that this logging database records every Leave It To Beaver rerun (as well as ALL other videos) you’ve watched on YouTube….

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CRS Report of the Week: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: A Sketch of Selected Issues

This report was prepared and published prior to the Senate passing of FISA. CRS Report RL34566, July 7, 2008. From the report’s summary: The current legislative and oversight activity with respect to electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has drawn national attention to several overarching issues. This report briefly…

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EU Follows U.S. Legislative Effort to Promote Global Internet Freedom

Freedom House held a Capitol Hill briefing July 15th on global Internet freedom. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Jules Maaten of the European Union Parliament discussed their joint efforts to pass legislation aimed at promoting online free expression and privacy in repressive countries like China. CDT is generally supportive of the goals of Rep. Smith’s Global Online Freedom…

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