Changes to Short-Term Rental Laws Must Include Privacy and Free Speech Protections

This week, the California Senate and the City of San Francisco are contemplating changes to the laws governing short-term rentals, which allow for individuals to host guests in their homes, using platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. We have serious concerns about the implications of these proposals, specifically on how they will affect individual privacy, security, and free speech.

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The NSA’s Split-Key Encryption Proposal is Not Serious

NSA Director Michael Rogers has launched a new trial balloon to address what law enforcement and intelligence agencies are calling “Going Dark.” Admiral Rogers shared a proposal that would require tech companies to create a “golden key” that would allow access to encrypted data and communications. The new twist in Rogers’ proposal was to cut this golden key into pieces so that no one entity. Sorry Admiral Rogers, but requiring split-key encryption is not a serious proposal.

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Government Keeps Its Eyes on the Road with Invasive License Plate Reader Program

On April 2, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) that describes how the DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will find the present and past location of drivers by accessing a massive private database of vehicle location information. The program raises serious privacy concerns, with the specter of individuals’ location data being collected on a mass scale, stored for a prolonged period, and used without effective restrictions.

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Florida’s “True Origins of Digital Goods Act” Threatens Online Anonymity

A misguided copyright enforcement bill in Florida is threatening online anonymity. This week, the state legislature is considering the “True Origins of Digital Goods Act,” which would essentially make it unlawful for a website operator to remain anonymous if her site includes a substantial amount of embedded music or video. Anyone who runs a music blog or features video clips on her website would be required by law to disclose her name, address, and telephone number on the site.

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Revised NY Bitcoin Regulations Better, But Problems Remain

The New York Department of Financial Services issued a revised draft BitLicense proposal in February. The Department made a clear effort to improve the BitLicense from its original 2014 proposal to regulate digital currency, such as Bitcoin. However, the new draft still contains problems, and could undermine the privacy of digital currency users, covering an unnecessarily broad range of services.

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