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ePrivacy Regulation, one year later: Needs focus on communications confidentiality and information security

One year after the publication of the European Commission’s proposal for an ePrivacy Regulation (ePR), the debate about how the ePR should ‘particularise and complement’ the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been contentious. This post looks at the progress made so far, and highlights the multiple issues to be resolved in the legislative process that lies ahead.

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CDT Argues Against Extraterritorial Warrants in Microsoft-Ireland Brief

CDT argued in an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Microsoft-Ireland case that warrants issued by U.S. courts cannot compel the disclosure of communications content stored outside the United States. We explain in the brief that a contrary rule authorizing extraterritorial U.S. warrants would be an open invitation to foreign governments to insist that their own legal process compels the disclosure of data stored in the United States. This would create chaos at the expense of privacy. We also explain that authorizing the U.S. government to compel the disclosure of data stored abroad would damage the cloud computing industry by reducing trust. 

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European Policymakers Continue Problematic Crackdown on Undesirable Online Speech

One of the biggest technology policy debates in Europe this year is around the question of how societies should respond to a variety of online speech issues. Terrorist content, hate speech, copyright infringement, and ‘fake news’ – however defined – are key topics. These issues certainly warrant attention from policymakers, the companies that host the speech, and society at large. But the direction these policy responses are taking raises serious concerns about censorship and free expression.

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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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The FBI’s “Black Identity Extremists” Report and the Surveillance Reform Debate

FISA Section 702 is nearing its expiration, and Congress should reform the law to protect Americans from warrantless surveillance. While the push to reform this law has emphasized the danger this poses to the rights of all Americans, FBI access to 702 data poses particular risk to journalists, immigrant communities, human rights activists, and civil rights activists who likely communicate frequently with foreigners. A recent FBI report on “Black Identity Extremists” (BIEs) suggests that black civil rights activists will be targeted for surveillance, which will include the FBI leveraging its access to Section 702 data.

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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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