A Letter from Our President: We Have Work to Do

Like many of you, I have been reflecting on this unprecedented election, and where we — as a country and digital community — go from here. For CDT, our answer is simple: we roll up our sleeves and get back to work. Administrations and their priorities may change, but our commitment to ensuring that technology is a force for good will never waver.

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2016-04-20 CDT Tech Talk logo_SQ

Tech Talk: Thinking About the Hereafter Life

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’ll talk to a multimedia artist exploring what life after death looks like in the digital world and talk about how the the internet of things was leveraged to carry out the recent DDoS attack that took out large swaths of the internet.

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A Closer Look at the Legality of "Ethnic Affinity"

ProPublica recently published a story criticizing Facebook for providing “Ethnic Affinity” categories among the options available to advertisers targeting ads. In some contexts, it is illegal for the person making the offer to exclude people based on race. While the Fair Housing Act clearly establishes liability for the person who creates and posts the ad, a host of user-generated content like Facebook is likely protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Nevertheless, there are steps Facebook can take to limit the ability of its advertisers to break the law.

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Improving Section 1201

The Copyright Office has initiated a policy study focused on Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which prohibits the circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs). CDT commented in the initial phase of this study, and recently commented again in response to the Office’s request for additional comments. The Copyright Office is right to take a hard look at Section 1201, which very much needs updating to protect security researchers

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Charting a Fair Path Forward on Big Data & Algorithms in the Workplace

CDT filed comments with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on the future of algorithms and big data in the workplace. Automated decision-making systems used in hiring often advertise their ability to improve productivity and make better judgments about potential employees than humans. But some of these systems may have unintended harmful consequences, such as perpetuating existing societal biases.

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A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack swarmed servers owned by Dyn, a company that connects users to websites. The attack was conducted in part by harnessing the growing popularity of internet of things (IoT) devices. The DDoS attack was the result of failures in the private sector, the government, and even by the public. Understanding these failures is a critical to mitigating the risk of another similar attack.

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New Website Makes Thousands of CRS Reports Accessible

Twenty years ago, CDT listed accessible Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports at the top of its “10 Most Wanted Government Documents” list. In the years since, CDT and others have continued to ask Congress to make these reports more available to the public. With still no action, a new website has been launched enabling access to more than 8,000 of the report, free of charge.

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