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The Microsoft Ireland Case: A Clear Answer, An Uncertain Future

Last week, the U.S. Second Circuit handed Microsoft a decisive victory, holding that warrants for electronic content issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) cannot reach data located overseas. The court’s message was simple: SCA warrants cannot reach data outside the U.S. because Supreme Court precedent creates a presumption against extraterritoriality absent clear Congressional intent. However, the long-term implications of the case, and the future of law enforcement cross-border data requests, are still murky at best.

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Put It In The Vault: Why You Should Use a Password Manager

a good password may be all that stands between your account and someone taking over your account or getting access to the information in one of your online accounts. However, if you feel frustrated that a “good” password is often long, complex, and difficult to remember, you are not alone: research done by Microsoft has found that the average user has approximately 25 accounts with passwords. Remembering just one thing that is longer than about seven characters is difficult for the average person. A password manager is a piece of software that helps you generate long, complex passwords, then securely stores all of these passwords in an encrypted virtual container.

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GNI Finds Member Companies In Compliance with Obligations

The Global Network Initiative released a report on the independent assessments of its member companies, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo!, finding each company in compliance with the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines. The assessments amount to a demanding inquiry into company practices and processes as they relate to decision making about free expression and privacy.

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How Not to Be a Jerk with Your Drone

In 2015, President Obama established a multi-stakeholder engagement process to ensure that privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties concerns are considered and addressed as drones are integrated into the airspace. The process culminated in a final consensus document supported by a diverse group. The gist of the consensus document is simple: don’t be a jerk with your drone. In fact, several of the document’s suggestions are easy, commonsense ways for drone operators to ensure that they use their devices in an ethical, safe way that is respectful of fellow members of society.

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Two Factors are Better Than One

You may have heard how important it is to have a strong password. However, passwords can still be stolen or an attacker can scam you into giving them your password. To guard against this threat, many websites now offer multi-factor authentication. While different sites may refer to this feature differently, such as two-step login or two-factor sign-in or even login approvals, it has the same goal: to keep you safer online.

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Expansion of Secret National Security Letters – A Poison Pill for Email Privacy

Initially meant as a very limited investigative tool in financial cases, national security letter (NSL) authority has morphed into a frequently used, and abused, way by which the FBI can secure telephone records in terrorism or espionage cases without going to a judge. The FBI is pushing for a dramatic expansion of NSL authority, and is trying to sneak it into non-controversial email privacy legislation or a “must-pass” intelligence spending bill.

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Illinois Bill Repealing Biometric Protections is an Unnecessary Privacy Loss

Biometric information — data that pertains to an individual’s biological characteristics, like facial recognition patterns, DNA, fingerprints, and iris scans — is some of the most sensitive data about each of us, in part because it is generally immutable. You can get a new email address, but getting a new genome is a lot harder. It’s for these reasons that we’ve consistently argued for limited collection of biometric information, and strong protections for its use and retention. Illinois, which has one of the the country’s strongest state biometric privacy laws on the books, may soon significantly weaken its protections. We hope the Illinois Legislature doesn’t take such a misguided step.

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The British are Campaigning for a Digital Bill of Rights

This past week saw the launch of a cross-party campaign with the ambitious aim of crowdsourcing a Digital Bill of Rights for the UK. The ‘Peoples Charter of Digital Liberties’, as the bill is to be known, is intended to be completed in time for the next session of Parliament. It is likely to propose new rights, extensions of existing rights, and new ways of protecting existing rights online.

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