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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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Campaign Data Breaches: Political Toxic Waste

Calling last week’s news that security researchers found an abandoned political campaign database on the internet with detailed information on over 200 million voters from 2008, 2012, and 2016 troubling is a massive understatement akin to calling the Titanic a boating accident. It’s closer to a catastrophe. Moreover, it may represent only the tip of the iceberg; Gizmodo points out that, “Five voter-file leaks over the past 18 months exposed between 350,000 and 191 million files.” As data collection and usage play an ever-growing role in political campaigns, the iceberg below is starting to look ominous. In partnership with political campaigns, Political Action Committees, consulting firms, and other NGOs that work in and around elections, CDT will lead efforts to draft a “campaign data stewardship pledge,” including templates for privacy policies, data security playbooks, and other materials that will move the principles reflected in a stewardship pledge into action.

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“Hacking Back” a Recipe for Digital Arms Race

“Malicious hacking”—using technological means to penetrate or manipulate the networks, data, or devices of others without permission is a threat to the Internet and to the health of the Internet infrastructure companies that serve as its backbone. “Hacking back” would make us all more vulnerable to more sophisticated and frequent attacks. Our focus should be on protecting networks from intrusion, rather than making them more vulnerable by turning the Internet ecosystem into a digital war zone.

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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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“The Cyber” Part IV: Are There Appropriate Ethical Limits on Hacking?

How far is too far? We’ve been asking this question over and over again at CDT while conducting interviews of security researchers and in drafting CDT’s new white paper that surveys “hard questions” in the world of computer security research. Through these conversations, we are developing a basic set of ethical spectra – essentially, axes along which security research activities become more or less ethically questionable. In this white paper, we note a few possible options for better mapping the ethical landscape of the security research world.

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Demanding Passwords at the Border Would Undermine Human Rights and Personal Security

Based on remarks by the Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the U.S. government is considering taking advantage of the vulnerable moment when someone passes through border control to collect social media account passwords of non-citizens. The government cannot have access to people’s passwords simply because they cross the border. Full stop.

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Working Together To Make the Entire Internet More Secure

CDT was invited by the Free Speech Coalition to be part of a panel that addressed the importance of moving all websites to HTTPS. The adult industry, along with the news industry, are the two main sectors in the top website rankings that lag behind in using HTTPS. The goal of the XBiz panel was to share the why and how of HTTPS with the business decision makers in the industry.

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