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Tech Talk:

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 the facts and fiction around Russian hacking of the US election and we share ways for you take more control of your personal cybersecurity.

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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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House Judiciary Committee Demonstrates Strong Interest in Privacy

Last week, CDT’s Vice President for Policy, Chris Calabrese, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the Department of Justice’s proposal to amend U.S. privacy laws to permit foreign governments to request data directly from U.S. companies without going through American courts. The current proposal does not sufficiently cover four key points. Importantly, multiple representatives shared our concerns over the current government proposal.

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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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Why the FTC Shouldn't Be the Only "Cop On the Beat"

As the internet has become more ubiquitous and users generate more valuable data, we have been forced consider how much privacy we are entitled to from private parties like internet service providers. Under former Chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC answered this question through the Broadband Privacy Order in October 2016. But the order was recently repealed, and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has suggested completely ceding oversight of consumer privacy to the FTC in his Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). CDT has stated its opposition to previous efforts to roll back consumer privacy protections, and in this post, we will outline the basis for some of our concerns.

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Rules of the Road: Net Neutrality’s Bright Line Protections

Broadly speaking, net neutrality rules are the protections that internet users have in their relationship with ISPs. In this context, the rules could be thought of as a Bill of Rights for users, enumerating fundamental individual rights that cannot be infringed upon by ISPs. As defined by the FCC, the three bright-line rules are as follows: No Blocking. No Throttling. No Paid Prioritization.

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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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