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The Ethics of Design: Unintended (But Foreseeable) Consequences

When data becomes divorced from its human origins, it loses context and disassociates companies from their actions – it enables decisions that defy expectations and ethics. Tech companies have experienced widespread backlash as a consequence of this disconnect. Fitness social network Strava is the latest example, after the company publicly released a heat map of aggregate user locations that inadvertently revealed U.S. military bases and personnel around the world.

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Tech Talk: The Year Ahead in EU Tech Policy

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 our Brussels-based EU Policy team about what to expect in tech policy on that side of the Atlantic. We then take a look at the proactive steps New York City is taking to improve fairness civic digital decisions.

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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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