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Australian Encryption Debate – Closer to Home Than You Might Think

Last week, a global alliance of 76 organizations, companies, and individuals urged Australian officials to refrain from requiring technology companies to weaken the security of their products and services by building in backdoors to facilitate law enforcement access. The Center for Democracy & Technology signed onto the letter in response to the Turnbull administration’s announcements about its intentions to legislate on the issue in the interests of national security.

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Tech Talk: Teaching Data Ethics and Defending Nonprofits Against Cyber Attacks

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 about Cloudflare’s Project Galileo and Google’s Project Shield, which both offer nonprofits and journalists free services to defend against cyber attacks. We also talk to a data scientist about her course on data ethics.

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DOJ Writes to Copyright Office: Security Research is Cool.

On June 28, the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Department of Justice voiced its support for CDT’s request that the Copyright Office expand an exemption under Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allows computer security researchers to find and repair flaws and vulnerabilities in programs without running afoul of copyright law. We hope the Office will give the CCIPS letter due consideration as it prepares its recommendations for the next round of exemptions.

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New Voting System Vulnerabilities in Congo

The Sentry, an NGO that works to prevent genocide and mass atrocities in Africa, released a detailed analysis of the new system slated for use in the upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Sentry worked with Argentinian security researchers Javier Smaldone and Alfredo Ortega and CDT Chief Technologist Joseph Lorenzo Hall to examine what little public information is available about this system. The verdict is not good. A lot of unanswered questions should be addressed before it can be used safely in DRC elections.

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Can Cybersecurity Tech Accord Really Curb State Actions?

Guest Post: Thirty-four leading global technology firms announced a new private-sector agreement intended to curb the worst excesses of state behavior in the cyber domain, and to improve the general state of global computer network security. The agreement is a worthwhile effort. It indicates that the private-sector is prepared to take some responsibility for actual and potential harms enabled by their business operations. However, it places firms in clear opposition to states, and commits these companies to taking steps that governments may interpret as inhibiting their legitimate prerogatives in the conduct of foreign policy.

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When IoT Kills: Preparing for Digital Products Liability

Today we released a paper that examines issues in product liability for Internet of Thing (IoT) devices to mark the start of a research agenda in this area. We expect that the digital technology industry is about to undergo a process of change akin to what the automobile industry experienced in the 1960s and 70s. Then, as now, insufficient security measures, dangerous design or adding-on of security features post-design were widely accepted industry practice. Those practices had to change as the perils of unsafe cars became obvious – as is increasingly the case today with IoT devices.

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DNS: Strengthening the Weakest Link in Internet Privacy

For many, the conversation about online privacy centers around a few high-profile companies, and rightly so. We consciously engage with their applications and services and want to know who else might access our information and how they might use it. But there are other, less obvious ways that accessing the World Wide Web exposes us. One such part of the web’s infrastructure, the Domain Name System (DNS), “leaks” your private information, but there are now ways to better protect your privacy and security.

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