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Automated “Extreme Vetting” Won’t Work and Will Be Discriminatory

Today, CDT joined 55 civil society groups, as well as leading computer and data science experts, to oppose the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) automated extreme vetting initiative. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to use automated technology and social media data to decide who gets deported or denied entry to the United States. This initiative is not only discriminatory but also technically infeasible.

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What’s the Harm? CDT Comments to FTC Highlight Informational Injury Considerations

On Friday, CDT submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission in advance of its December 2017 workshop exploring the contours of informational injury. Privacy violations are often highly contextual, making injury resulting from them difficult for individuals to evaluate and regulators like the FTC to quantify. Despite this practical challenge, the Commission can harness its existing tools to protect individuals from privacy harm; in our comments, we argue that the FTC should aggressively use its Section 5 unfairness powers to police business practices that create informational injury.

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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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Tech Talk: Good intentions, bad policy?

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 look at how attempts to address the serious issue of online sex-trafficking could unintentionally harm broader online free speech. We also take a look at a new art installation aimed at highlighting online privacy risks.

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NHTSA Automated Vehicles Guidance Punts Privacy to the FTC and Congress

A “streamlined” version of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s automated vehicle policy framework was announced last week by Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. Unfortunately, this shorter version does not address any of the issues we raised last fall when NHTSA unveiled its initial policy framework. At the time, CDT called for more…

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Privacy Protections Won’t Make You More Vulnerable To Being Hacked

Californians are very close to getting privacy protections for their web browsing history. But a dangerous new ad campaign is using misinformation to trick internet users into opposing a bill that would give them more control over their personal information. An anonymous advertiser is telling Californians that they will be more vulnerable to hacking or data breach if the legislature passes broadband privacy protections. These claims are not just false – they shamefully exploit internet users’ understandable fears about data security.

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Ninth Circuit Issues Ruling on Spokeo: Inaccuracies Create Concrete Harms

Over seven years ago, CDT filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against the people-search company Spokeo, alleging that the company and other data brokers were not protecting consumers as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). A class action lawsuit filed against Spokeo in 2011, led by lead plaintiff Thomas Robins, raised a host of new issues about the nature of privacy harms, the actual protections provided by federal privacy laws, and the use of litigation as a vehicle for protecting consumers’ privacy. According to this week’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit, the accuracy of this type of information is “directly and substantially related” to the goals of the FCRA.

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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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