Tech Talk: Not All VPNs are Created Equal and How to Make Ethical Algorithms

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 take a look at CDT’s complaint to the FTC about a VPN service that promises privacy, but is falling short of that promise. We also find out about an online resource for developers of algorithms that helps them program in ethical outcomes.

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The Vulnerabilities Equities Process: Is Congress Getting Ready to Provide Transparency and Regulation?

The Vulnerabilities Equities Process has been subject to policy debates over the last few years, but this fall Congress may act on the topic for the first time. Despite making incredibly important decisions, the VEP has generally been ignored by Congress, but two new legislative proposals would provide oversight, and in one case, light reforms.

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Digital Decisions Tool

Two years ago, CDT embarked on a project to explore what we call “digital decisions” – the use of algorithms, machine learning, big data, and automation to make decisions that impact individuals and shape society. To help mitigate harm at the design level, we have launched the first public version of our digital decisions tool..

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Hotspot Shield VPN's Privacy and Security Promises Contradict Practices

As detailed in the complaint CDT filed today with the FTC, we believe Hotspot Shield Free VPN has employed unfair and deceptive trade practices. Among other concerns, the complaint details the ways in which Hotspot Shield’s marketing claims around privacy and security directly contradict its actual practices and policies. VPNs should be in the business of giving individuals a real option for confidential internet activity, and should not use deceptive claims to expose internet users to security risks or prey upon their limited ability to compare services.

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Tech Talk: Allied for Startups and Asserting Creative Control

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 Melissa Blaustein of Allied for Startups about how startups and policymakers can better work together. We also explore how social justice and intellectual property are related, while previewing a new legal clinic for content creators.

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SESTA Would Undermine Free Speech Online

A group of Senators led by Senators Portman and McCaskill introduced a bill that would radically change the way that US law protects freedom of speech online. The bill, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA), would amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, as well as the federal criminal code, creating substantial new risks for any host of user-generated content online.

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The Bill Our Privacy Desperately Needs in the Digital Age

Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have introduced a sweeping, bipartisan measure to modernize our electronic communication privacy laws. Lee and Leahy have long been champions of reform, advancing measures such as the Email Privacy Act. The ECPA Modernization Act of 2017 goes well beyond that effort and proposes important updates to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) – a law Senator Leahy helped draft more than 30 years ago – to address the reality of communications in the modern digital age.

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FCC Should Reject NPRM to Roll Back Net Neutrality

Last week, CDT submitted comments to the FCC concerning its proposal to roll back the net neutrality protections established under the 2015 Open Internet Order (OIO). The comments are a direct response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) released by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, which details the formal basis for the repeal. Our analysis details our concerns about the legal and policy rationale for the NPRM, highlighting the lack of legal authority for the proposal and the practical policy consequences for internet users and internet-based companies.

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