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Digital Decisions Tool

Two years ago, CDT embarked on a project to explore what we call “digital decisions” – the use of algorithms, machine learning, big data, and automation to make decisions that impact individuals and shape society. To help mitigate harm at the design level, we have launched the first public version of our digital decisions tool..

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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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Tech Talk: Allied for Startups and Asserting Creative Control

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 to Melissa Blaustein of Allied for Startups about how startups and policymakers can better work together. We also explore how social justice and intellectual property are related, while previewing a new legal clinic for content creators.

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SESTA Would Undermine Free Speech Online

A group of Senators led by Senators Portman and McCaskill introduced a bill that would radically change the way that US law protects freedom of speech online. The bill, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA), would amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, as well as the federal criminal code, creating substantial new risks for any host of user-generated content online.

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The Bill Our Privacy Desperately Needs in the Digital Age

Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have introduced a sweeping, bipartisan measure to modernize our electronic communication privacy laws. Lee and Leahy have long been champions of reform, advancing measures such as the Email Privacy Act. The ECPA Modernization Act of 2017 goes well beyond that effort and proposes important updates to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) – a law Senator Leahy helped draft more than 30 years ago – to address the reality of communications in the modern digital age.

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FCC Should Reject NPRM to Roll Back Net Neutrality

Last week, CDT submitted comments to the FCC concerning its proposal to roll back the net neutrality protections established under the 2015 Open Internet Order (OIO). The comments are a direct response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) released by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, which details the formal basis for the repeal. Our analysis details our concerns about the legal and policy rationale for the NPRM, highlighting the lack of legal authority for the proposal and the practical policy consequences for internet users and internet-based companies.

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EU Copyright Reform: Winter is Coming

Those involved in EU copyright reform discussions are likely to be feeling rather ‘chilly’ in view of recent developments. The original Commission proposal for a Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive was already highly problematic, but with the unexpected change of leadership of the dossier in the European Parliament last month, our initial concerns have escalated.

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DHS Refuses to Back Away from Invasive Spying at the Border

Back in March, CDT, along with more than 50 other civil society groups and trade associations, wrote a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly urging that he back away from DHS proposals to use border searches as a tool to collect passwords and other social media information. Today we received a response. Unfortunately, the reply largely ducks our concerns, ignoring the main issues at play and doing little to shed light on the government’s plans or put to rest controversy about its contentious proposal. This non-answer is deeply troubling because it seems to indicate that Customs and Border Protection (CBP, which is a sub agency of DHS) is doing nothing to change course from a recent, dangerous trend: the use of the U.S. border as a tool to conduct broad surveillance.

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Tech Talk: EdTech Privacy Practices and Policy Challenges for Driverless Cars

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 to researchers from Carnegie Mellon University who looked at the privacy policies and practices of EdTech startups. We also talk about the future of autonomous vehicles, looking in-depth at a package of bills coming out of Congress aimed at creating nationwide standards to expedite deployment.

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