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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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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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UK House of Commons Poised to Approve a Pernicious Surveillance Bill

The House of Commons is about to approve legislation that could make surveillance in the UK ubiquitous, and powerful surveillance authorities unaccountable. Also, by serving as a model for the rest of the world, it puts human rights at risk everywhere. This post outlines major problems with the legislation, about which CDT has submitted evidence (public comments). Yet, these make up only a small portion of the Bill’s shortcomings.

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U.S. Supreme Court Endorses Government Hacking

Last week, the Supreme Court expanded the FBI’s ability to hack into computers located anywhere in the world, giving its stamp of approval to a controversial rule change to the obscure Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The new authority the rule change gives to the federal government could be astoundingly dangerous. If Congress does not enact legislation to block or mitigate this rule change by its December 1st deadline, measures must be taken to ensure that law enforcement officials’ new powers are exercised responsibly and transparently.

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10 Tips for Protecting Your Digital Privacy

While many people already have their own go-to tips and tricks for protecting their privacy online, for others, identifying a pragmatic approach to digital privacy and security might seem overwhelming. To help untangle the perplexing web of online security, the Center for Democracy & Technology developed a Digital Privacy Quiz. At the end of the quiz, we give you ten tips for being more secure online. While everyone should take the quiz, consider this a cheat code

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