Skip to Content

Cybersecurity & Standards, Free Expression, Government Surveillance, Privacy & Data

CDT’s Priorities for the New Administration

The Center for Democracy & Technology has submitted our recommendations on technology and internet policy priorities to the incoming Administration. Below is the cover letter to the recommendations, with the full document available as a PDF. 

Dear President-Elect Trump:

In your victory speech on election night, you said, “It is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time.” At the Center for Democracy & Technology, we agree.

We believe that there are core beliefs that unite every American. The right to privacy, to be left alone in society without the government tracking your movements or communications. The right to free expression, to speak freely without fear of retribution in public or online. The right to be secure, to have the best protections against cyber criminals and hackers.

Attached are a series of policy recommendations for you as our nation’s 45th president. They are moderate, pragmatic proposals aimed at firmly establishing America’s role as the global leader in both innovation and internet freedom. As your Administration assumes leadership of the government, we encourage you to chart a forward-looking course that protects our individual rights, keeps the country secure, and enables further innovation in our hyper-connected reality.

Privacy and National Security. On the internet, cybersecurity has become a crucial component of national security. America’s global reputation continues to suffer harm from revelations of mass spying. You must recognize this reality. We urge you to take the following measures to protect privacy and national security:

  1. State a strong commitment to advancing encryption as a linchpin to internet security and reject backdoors or other efforts to weaken encryption;
  2. Create a climate where security research can flourish and vulnerabilities can be quickly identified and patched;
  3. Reform NSA surveillance, including stopping warrantless spying on Americans; and
  4. Safeguard the contents of domestic communications from federal and state law enforcement.

U.S. Global Leadership on Internet Freedoms. The U.S. is a leader in promoting internet rights around the world, and today free expression is under attack from a variety of proposals aimed at monitoring the web and enabling censorship. You can protect the global internet in the following ways:

  1. Reject policies that force companies to unduly monitor their users and report on suspicions of terrorism;
  2. Oppose de facto censorship where the government seeks to use the terms of service of intermediaries to stifle speech;
  3. Assure that demands from governments for citizens’ communications meet strong human rights standards; and
  4. Protect the open internet rules.

Responsible Use of New Technology. Connected devices and data analysis continue to become more prevalent and sophisticated. These advancements require policy solutions that address inequality and user trust. You can:

  1. Combat the potential for technology to exacerbate inequality and lead to discrimination in automated systems;
  2. Cultivate technological talent within the federal government; and
  3. Improve data protection both by pushing for comprehensive privacy legislation and by supporting privacy initiatives in individual sectors.

We are committed to working with your Administration where possible. Even more so, we are committed to ensuring that technology advances the civil rights of everyone, and that it serves as an empowering and equalizing force. We are ardent defenders of civil liberties and will be vocal advocates against any attempt to leverage the internet or technology to infringe upon them. We hope we can join together to safeguard our shared values and protect the freedoms upon which not just the internet but our very nation was founded.





Nuala O’Connor
President and CEO
Center for Democracy & Technology