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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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Tech Talk: EdTech Privacy Practices and Policy Challenges for Driverless Cars

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 researchers from Carnegie Mellon University who looked at the privacy policies and practices of EdTech startups. We also talk about the future of autonomous vehicles, looking in-depth at a package of bills coming out of Congress aimed at creating nationwide standards to expedite deployment.

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Three Core Security & Privacy Issues of Connected Vehicles

Connected vehicles have tremendous potential to reshape the transportation landscape – bringing important safety and efficiency benefits but also creating new security and privacy risks. In addition, there are long-standing security and privacy issues that, if not resolved, will be compounded with the continued trends towards greater use of software and connectivity in motor vehicles. Our comments focus on three main issues: the need for secure software, the increasing dependence on critical information infrastructures, and the need for greater transparency around data privacy.

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Uber’s Fingerprinting Foibles and the Costs of Not Complying with Industry Self-Regulation

No stranger to privacy kerfuffles, Uber is once again in the news for its business practices and invasive use of technology. This time, the headlines are focused on Uber’s intentional circumvention of Apple’s developer rules, which prohibit apps from collecting certain technical identifiers from iPhones. The larger challenge this raises is determining whether Uber’s violation of Apple’s developer terms could or should raise regulatory ire. Sanctions should be tailored to fit the crime, but when it comes to privacy and security mishaps with technology, consumers and their advocates are left in the dark.

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Serious Privacy Risks Lie in the Path of Vehicle Automation

Yesterday, CDT joined four top cryptography and security experts in raising serious privacy concerns with proposed next-generation vehicle-to-vehicle communication standards. We call for this system to be explicitly opt-in or for the design to be significantly reconsidered so as to avoid the problems we identify. There are some promising tools from applied cryptography that could be leveraged to design a system that would impact driver and passenger privacy to a much lesser extent.

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CDT provides comments to the NTIA green paper “Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things”

This week, CDT provided public comments on a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) green paper titled “Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT).” CDT applauds the NTIA and its Internet Policy Task Force for the green paper. It provides a comprehensive examination of the key issues that decision-makers in the public and private sectors must grapple with in order to realize the benefits of the IoT, while mitigating security, privacy, and other risks.

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Smart Condoms Suggest More than a Day Without Women

Sex and technology both raise challenging questions about privacy and personal autonomy, and the magnitude of these challenges only increases when the two intersect. Last week, for instance, British Condoms announced the world’s first “smart condom.” The i.Con Smart Condom is a wearable ring that promises to track sexual performance and potentially detect sexually transmitted infections. The iCon is just the latest example of a wearable that appeals to the baser desires of men. For instance, the product description references the ability to track how many positions have been “conquered.” It essentially gamifies sex, and while that needn’t be a bad thing, the i.Con portrays sexuality exclusively from a male’s perspective. This seems especially important to consider given today’s “Day Without a Woman,” where CDT coincidentally finds itself under(wo)manned. I find myself not in the best position to ask my female colleagues what their thoughts are, and I have to wonder whether British Condoms did any focus testing using women.

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From Televisions to Telescreens: Video Viewing Habits Are Sensitive Information

Last week, TV-maker Vizio found itself on the receiving end of a multimillion dollar settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the state of New Jersey for tracking user viewing behaviors in ways that were deceptive and unfair. The settlement exposed just how sophisticated the tracking practices deployed by smart televisions can be, and, more importantly, it offers an example of how seemingly innocuous data can be combined to create very sensitive information.

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