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Encryption Makes Us All Safer

It’s crucial that users demand the highest level of security to both protect our personal privacy and mitigate the potential harm that can result from theft of personal data. In response to these concerns, Apple and Google recently made headlines by announcing that their smartphones would encrypt content stored on all phones by default. Personal data has become a valuable currency on the black market, and victims of identity theft know that data is often far more valuable to a criminal than the device that holds it.

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To Forgive or Forget

Forgetting is often not easy, and forgiveness is even more difficult, but both are fundamental parts of being human. In today’s always on, always connected world, both forgetting and forgiving are made more challenging. The Court of Justice of the European Union decided that Google should be forced to help us with the forgetting part. In a controversial ruling, the Court stated that an individual should have the right to require a search engine to stop returning results about them if requested, even if the results report true information. Yes, Europeans now have the “right to be forgotten.”

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Understanding Our “Always On” World

Let’s face it — there are a lot of benefits to being always on, but there are also a lot of downsides. Calling the world digitally connected is an understatement. Despite a still very real digital divide, large swaths of the U.S. and the world are increasingly interconnected. This has considerable personal, professional, and sociological implications. Society as a whole is still grappling with the effect that “always being on” is having.

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Bring on the Big Data Debate

At CDT we believe in the power of the Internet and the power of information, so by extension, we support the responsible uses of big data to help address the challenges of society, including to help better meet the needs of individuals. However, this support does not extend to all applications of big data. The NSA’s bulk collection of telephony metadata is a prime example of big data that goes well beyond legal authorities (and that has little usefulness, it turns out).

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