Ethics, Consequence, and Free Speech Online

As the pace of technology increases, the definition of “the internet” is ever changing (e.g., the IoT space, virtual reality, etc.), so trying to nail down what should and shouldn’t be protected speech quickly becomes a bit of a harrowing task for any individual citizen. That doesn’t mean we should stop trying. Playwright Jennifer Haley’s remarks at our Future of Speech Online event highlighted the fact that these aren’t just decisions to be made in a vacuum.

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Can Data Collaboratives Improve Nonprofit Data Governance?

While nonprofits are as susceptible to the data risks, threats, and pitfalls that for-profit companies routinely trip over, it can be easy to view dollars spent on privacy and security as money diverted from other important areas. Building on a report by GovLab, here are several of CDT’s recommendations for how “data collaboratives” can help nonprofits to improve their privacy and security practices.

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FISA 702 Reform: The USA Liberty Act Puts an End to “About” Collection

Last week, a bipartisan group of Representatives introduced H.R. 3989, the USA Liberty Act, which would reauthorize Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act for an additional six years. The bill also represents the first effort at substantively reforming Section 702 in advance of the spying authority’s sunset on December 31. One of the bill’s most important provisions is its ban on collecting communications that are neither to nor from a target overseas, a practice colloquially known as “about” collection.

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An Optimistic Realist About Speech Online

Like many of us working in tech and tech policy, Mindy Finn started out as an extreme optimist about how the internet could make the world a better place. For better or worse, she is no longer a “sunny idealist,” but instead, a realist. In her remarks at the Future of Speech Online, Finn, touched on some of the most pressing challenges that technology poses to a functioning democracy.

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Free Speech is a Moving Target

Figuring out what the future of speech online is requires posing a series of new questions, not falling back on old answers. Carlos Maza, a Vox video producer, showed a willingness to ask such questions, and even be wrong, in order to move the conversation about censorship ahead.

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Tackling ‘Illegal’ Content Online: The EC Continues Push for Privatised Law Enforcement

The European Commission’s Communication on Illegal Content Online, released last week, is the latest in a long line of EU policy initiatives aimed at addressing the availability of (possibly) illegal content online. It envisages replacing decision-making by courts with that of private companies, and misses an important opportunity to provide EU-wide guidance on how notice-and-action processes should work. The Commission could have explained in more detail the obligations of those notifying content for removal, and the evidentiary standards notifications should meet to be actionable. The guidelines could have stressed the principle that decisions of legality and illegality are fundamentally for courts and judges to make, and that any notice-and-action process should provide for due process, including recourse to courts.

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