Improving the Legal Landscape for Security Research

Every three years, the Copyright Office conducts a notice-and-comment rulemaking through which interested parties pursue exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) anti-circumvention provisions. Section 1201 of the DMCA, added in 1998, aims to prevent (already illegal) copyright infringement in the digital context by making it illegal to bypass the technological locks rightsholders install to control access to copies of their works. Unfortunately, the threat of the DMCA’s potential civil and criminal penalties discourages more than would-be copyright infringers. Computer scientists and researchers who wish to test the security of software-driven devices may also face liability under the statute.

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Update to CDT Privacy Policy

At CDT, we strive to be a model organization when it comes to our online privacy policy. We are updating our privacy policy and welcome comments. Below is the revised policy, which will go into effect 30 days after this post. If you have any feedback or questions about the privacy policy, email us at

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Strong Encryption has a Posse

Perhaps the largest and most diverse coalition ever of tech companies, digital rights advocates, and security experts yesterday asked the Obama administration to support strong encryption and resist calls to weaken security mechanisms by requiring “backdoor” access or escrow of encryption keys. We gladly signed on to this effort to support strong encryption and to reject mandates that would weaken security.

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A Sunset of Section 215 Is Increasingly Likely

If the Senate passes a short-term extension of Sec. 215 or anything other than the USA FREEDOM Act – which cleared the House in a landslide – the House will have to approve the new package. Yet the sunset of Sec. 215 will actually occur before the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote again. A sunset, even a very short one, may dramatically change the debate on surveillance reform. No longer would members of Congress be voting on the extension or reform of a current law, they would then be forced to vote to re-instate a defunct law that codifies an unpopular and unnecessary surveillance practice.

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Announcing new video series – The Rundown

I’m excited introduce to you CDT’s new video series The Rundown. Our goal is to give you a few bites of the most important tech news and the latest on the policy issues CDT is exploring. In the tech and tech-policy space, there’s a constant stream of breaking news and changing developments – so consider The Rundown your…

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Congress Expresses Greater Confidence in Multistakeholder Work on IANA Transition

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a productive hearing on Stakeholder Perspectives on the IANA Transition. CDT, along with other witnesses, provided the subcommittee with an update on the state of play in the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition and ICANN accountability discussions. We emphasized the strength of the on-going multistakeholder process for developing the transition plans, as well as the absolutely essential linkage between ICANN accountability reforms and a successful IANA functions transition.

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UN Member States Call for US Surveillance Reforms

Last week, the UN Human Rights Council conducted the Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”) of the United States. The Administration should give immediate and serious consideration to countries’ recommendations to recognize that human rights apply to all surveillance; that any surveillance program must be subject to adequate judicial, congressional, and independent oversight; and that anyone whose fundamental rights are violated by surveillance activities must have access to effective redress.

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Senators’ Questionable Claims about NSA Bulk Collection

On May 7th, 2015, the Second Circuit issued a ruling that declared the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records was clearly unlawful under the Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. The ruling provided another boost to supporters of surveillance reform and the backers of the USA FREEDOM Act. Hours after the ruling came down, several U.S. Senators took to the Senate Floor to forcefully defend the NSA’s bulk collection program. The Senators made some statements that merit a second look, and serious skepticism.

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Controversial French Surveillance Regulation Should Re-Ignite EU Debate on Surveillance Reform

France is moving ahead with new legislation to enable expanded electronic surveillance. As expected, the surveillance bill, the Projet de Loi Relatif au Renseignement, was passed by Members of the French National Assembly. A wide range of French civil society groups, lawyers, and technology industry groups have voiced strong opposition to the bill from its inception. Indeed, the bill is so excessive that we believe it could, and should, lead to a renewed debate on surveillance reform across Europe.

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