DIY Digital Security: Self-Assessment Quizzes for All Levels

In preparation for our return to SXSW Interactive this weekend, CDT has developed three cybersecurity self-assessment quizzes tailored to three different audiences: the general public/activist community wishing to ease into effective cybersecurity strategies; businesspeople whose online practices affect not only their own digital security, but that of their company as well; and the “leet” community already well-versed in basic security tools and techniques.

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Net Neutrality Will Not Fade Away

Two years ago, after months of deliberation and nearly 4 million public comments, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve rules enshrining the concept of net neutrality: the idea that ISPs should treat all traffic on their networks the same regardless of sender, receiver, or application. These rules, described and discussed…

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Smart Condoms Suggest More than a Day Without Women

Sex and technology both raise challenging questions about privacy and personal autonomy, and the magnitude of these challenges only increases when the two intersect. Last week, for instance, British Condoms announced the world’s first “smart condom.” The i.Con Smart Condom is a wearable ring that promises to track sexual performance and potentially detect sexually transmitted infections. The iCon is just the latest example of a wearable that appeals to the baser desires of men. For instance, the product description references the ability to track how many positions have been “conquered.” It essentially gamifies sex, and while that needn’t be a bad thing, the i.Con portrays sexuality exclusively from a male’s perspective. This seems especially important to consider given today’s “Day Without a Woman,” where CDT coincidentally finds itself under(wo)manned. I find myself not in the best position to ask my female colleagues what their thoughts are, and I have to wonder whether British Condoms did any focus testing using women.

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Demanding Passwords at the Border Would Undermine Human Rights and Personal Security

Based on remarks by the Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the U.S. government is considering taking advantage of the vulnerable moment when someone passes through border control to collect social media account passwords of non-citizens. The government cannot have access to people’s passwords simply because they cross the border. Full stop.

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Promising Hearing on Section 702

On Wednesday, March 1, the House Judiciary Committee held a promising hearing to review Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which expires on Dec. 31, 2017 unless reauthorized. Section 702 authorizes surveillance targeting non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States if a “primary purpose” of the surveillance is to collect foreign intelligence information. Section 702 surveillance programs were among the more prominent surveillance programs revealed in 2013 by Edward Snowden. After a lengthy, reportedly well-attended classified session with intelligence officials, only a handful of members returned for the open session. But the members who did return made the most of their time; in particular, Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Ted Poe (R-TX), and Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked many of the right questions and signaled the need for meaningful reforms to 702 to protect civil liberties. Their questions and concerns suggest that Section 702 reauthorizing legislation must include substantial reforms in order to get through the House Judiciary Committee.

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CDT Welcomes IMCO’s Draft Opinion on Copyright in the Digital Single Market as a First Step Towards a Balanced Debate

The adoption of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market as proposed by the European Commission requires several Committees of the European Parliament to draft Opinions as a form of ‘consultation’ to be considered in the Report by the Committee leading this file in the Parliament, the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee. Following the publication of the draft Opinion of the Culture and Education (CULT) Committee of the European Parliament, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee Rapporteur, MEP Catherine Stihler (S&D, UK), recently published her draft Opinion on the matter. While the CULT draft Opinion, with its many flaws as we have previously pointed out, positively acknowledges the crucial role of internet users as contributors to the digital ecosystem, the IMCO draft Opinion goes even further in the amendment proposals and emphasises the interests of a wide range of players in the copyright ecosystem: from internet users and SMEs, to creators and the education, research and cultural heritage institutions. This alone deserves our praise.

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FCC Move to Stay Broadband Privacy Rules Threatens Internet Users’ Privacy

The chairman of the FCC announced today that he will block critical privacy and data security protections from taking effect on March 2. Chairman Pai intends to stay at least part of the FCC’s broadband privacy rule, which gives internet users the ability to control how ISPs use and share their personal information, and requires ISPs to take reasonable measures to protect the security of customer data. We oppose this stay.

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Civil Liberties Committee Defends Free Expression in AVMS Directive Debate

The European Parliament is amending the legislative proposal to reform the EU Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive. The Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament adopted earlier this month its Opinion on the review, which will be taken into account by the Culture and Education Committee (CULT) leading this debate in Parliament. We welcome LIBE’s Opinion, which, contrary to CULT’s draft Report, amongst other positive elements, highlights the importance of protecting freedom of expression and information in the context of a fast-evolving media landscape, maintaining the liability protections in the E-Commerce Directive, as well as ensuring prior judicial authorisation when determining the illegality of content, elements which we will continue to strongly advocate for in this debate.

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