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It's Time for National Privacy Protections

Privacy is on a winning streak and that is good for every single internet and smartphone user, or in today’s connected world, almost everyone. With the passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act, our most populous state has taken bold action to protect the privacy rights of its residents, and now it’s time for Congress to act so all Americans enjoy these same rights.

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A New Day for Privacy Dawns in California

California’s passage of AB 375, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, reshapes the conversation about privacy law and regulation in the United States. CDT annotated key issues and concerns in the legislation, and we intend to track how these provisions are debated and potentially changed before January 1, 2020. We highlight five areas of the law that will require additional consideration from legislators, advocates and industry.

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The Privacies of Life

In Carpenter vs. United States, the Supreme Court held that law enforcement is required to obtain a warrant to access historical cell-site location information. In this slow but steady progress, the Court has grappled seriously with how to apply traditional notions of privacy – and limits on government intrusion – to a world in which data is much more easily generated, stored, transferred, and accessed by law enforcement. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our privacy protections with respect to commercial entities. Consumers rightfully expect privacy and security for their sensitive digital data regardless of whether it’s in the hands of the government or a private company. It is time for the federal government to establish baseline privacy protections that honor those expectations.

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Protecting Consumers in the Era of IoT – CDT Comments to the Consumer Product Safety Commission

With its recall authority and broad mission to protect consumers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC or the Commission) plays an essential role in protecting the public against hazards associated with products such as toys, refrigerators, and lawn mowers. Increasingly, such potential hazards are becoming digital, as products of all kinds incorporate computers and networks to make them “smarter.” As federal agencies explore their role in the digital realm, the CPSC should direct its authority to protecting consumers from the real and growing threats associated with these Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

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New Voting System Vulnerabilities in Congo

The Sentry, an NGO that works to prevent genocide and mass atrocities in Africa, released a detailed analysis of the new system slated for use in the upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Sentry worked with Argentinian security researchers Javier Smaldone and Alfredo Ortega and CDT Chief Technologist Joseph Lorenzo Hall to examine what little public information is available about this system. The verdict is not good. A lot of unanswered questions should be addressed before it can be used safely in DRC elections.

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