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Discussing Democracy in the Digital Age

Addressing issues around privacy, cybersecurity, and online speech, and disinformation is essential to advancement of fundamental democratic rights in the digital age. And of course, you can’t address these issues if you don’t talk about them – and do so across partisan lines and oceans. Spurring those important nonpartisan, transatlantic conversations on tech issues is why CDT, the R Street, and the Delegation of the EU to the US are hosting the Tech Summer Series.

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FCC Informal Complaints Rule Change Raises Barriers to Justice

Written by CDT summer intern Alicia Loh Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a seemingly small change to the language of its informal consumer complaints process that may have a huge practical effect on consumers. The change undermines the effectiveness of the informal complaint process, forcing consumers to use the more difficult and costly formal…

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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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Net Neutrality: India Gets It

On Wednesday, India’s Department of Telecommunications approved the recommendations set forth by its regulatory body, which require ISPs to adhere to net neutrality principles. This represents a significant step forward for Indian internet users and companies, ensuring that ISPs will not block, throttle, or offer preferential treatment of internet traffic.

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Mega-Merger: Vertical Integration in a Deregulated Environment

The combination of massive vertical integration and deregulation could set off a tectonic shift in the landscape of the internet. Vertically-integrated ISPs will have an even greater incentive to favor their own content and edge providers, and will be better positioned to leverage their control of popular content to effect negotiations with competing services. In a world where a few ISPs control both access and content, protecting the rest of the internet against discriminatory treatment will be crucial to preserve the internet as an open and flat communications network.

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EC Initiative on Disinformation Must Not Curb Free Expression

The European Commission has, as expected, published a Communication on “Tackling Online Disinformation: A European Approach”. The Communication comes on the back of a public consultation and a report from a “High-Level Group on Fake News”. But we worry that the speed with which the Commission wants to proceed, and the lack of clarity regarding the scope of the problem it wants to address, will push online service providers, aided by technology tools and fact checkers, to curtail free expression, political debate and access to information.

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Congress Should Take "Filtering Practices of Social Media" Seriously

Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee will host what’s likely to be a wide-ranging discussion of how social media companies moderate content, in its hearing on Filtering Practices of Social Media Platforms. While the hearing is sure to include some spectacle and grandstanding, make no mistake: This is a deeply serious issue that deserves thoughtful consideration by policymakers, companies, and users alike. Here are a few key themes we hope members of the committee will consider.

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