Surveying State Student Privacy Laws

In the absence of a comprehensive baseline consumer privacy law, student privacy is addressed by a patchwork of state and federal laws. With more and more states legislating around privacy in new and novel ways, understanding these laws has become challenging. To help sort through this maze of laws, CDT developed a state-by-state survey of student privacy laws, along with a great team at BakerHostetler.

Read More

DHS Misses the Mark in Attempts to Quell Public Concerns on the Gathering of Social Media Handles

Last month, CDT opposed a proposal by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to gather information about the online presence of foreign visitors from Visa Waiver Program countries. DHS and CBP have issued an updated Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) and a Supporting Statement that discuss oversight of the program and shed light on how the collected information will be processed, but do not adequately address the fundamental concerns raised in public comments.

Read More

Empowering local communities to weigh in on surveillance technologies

Surveillance programs carried out by local law enforcement agencies often go undisclosed to the public and to elected officials, who should have notice of these programs and the opportunity to review them before they go into effect. That’s why CDT joined 16 other organizations, led by the ACLU, to support Community Control Over Police Surveillance (CCOPS). The effort includes a set of principles to help cities develop legislation allowing them to take control of decisions about the funding, acquisition, and use of surveillance technologies.

Read More

Blurring the Lines in Music Copyright Will Hurt Artists and Online Hosts

In the copyright infringement verdict against artists Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, a jury found the music duo guilty of copying the “total concept and feel” of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit song, “Got to Give It Up.” This holding creates the potentially dangerous notion that copyright extends past protectable elements such as melody to cover more ambiguous fields like “vibe,” “groove,” and “feel,” and could lead to significant repercussions in an era of takedowns.

Read More

Don’t Weaken the FCC’s Proposed Privacy Rules

As the gateway to the internet, broadband providers have access to massive amounts of data about internet users’ browsing activities, communications, and preferences. This data can reveal sensitive personal information. The FCC has proposed a strong set of rules for broadband providers that will allow for innovation while giving consumers necessary and meaningful choice as to how their information is used. These rules should not be weakened.

Read More

San Francisco's Homesharing Ordinance Conflicts With Federal Legal Protection for User-Generated Content

Some legislative crackdowns in the U.S. on short-term rental listings conflict with existing federal law – Section 230 of the Communications Act – designed to shield online content hosts against liability for their users’ speech. As state and local regulators contemplate the on-demand economy, they must understand that the federal framework for shielding intermediaries – and promoting free speech online – means that some options are off the table.

Read More