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EC Will Not Push For Encryption “Backdoors”, But Member States Might

The European Commission (EC) announced this week a package of counter-terrorism measures as part of its European Agenda on Security initiative. These include, among other things, “measures to support law enforcement and judicial authorities when they encounter the use of encryption in criminal investigations”. It is heartening that the EC restates its recognition of encryption as a crucial element in ensuring both cybersecurity and the right level of security for processing personal data. We welcome the explicit realisation that backdoors, or any form of weakening online security, would have disastrous consequences for online communications and commerce.

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Four Questions Senate Should Consider Before Reconfirming FCC Chairman

This afternoon, the Senate will vote on the reconfirmation of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. During Chairman Pai’s brief term, both his policy positions and the general administration of the agency have been the subject of close scrutiny from civil society organizations, lawmakers, and industry stakeholders. The Senate’s re-confirmation vote will serve as a referendum on the short-term direction of…

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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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Hotspot Shield VPN's Privacy and Security Promises Contradict Practices

As detailed in the complaint CDT filed today with the FTC, we believe Hotspot Shield Free VPN has employed unfair and deceptive trade practices. Among other concerns, the complaint details the ways in which Hotspot Shield’s marketing claims around privacy and security directly contradict its actual practices and policies. VPNs should be in the business of giving individuals a real option for confidential internet activity, and should not use deceptive claims to expose internet users to security risks or prey upon their limited ability to compare services.

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Help Us Protect an Open Internet

On July 12, a diverse coalition of civil society organizations, businesses, and internet users will unite in a day of action to preserve the open internet. While the FCC approved the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to repeal net neutrality protections for internet users in May, this was only the first step in the repeal process. The proposal still must go through another vote before the FCC, and then survive a potential court challenge. If you support a free and open internet, you still have until July 17 to make your voice heard through the FCC comment process.

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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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