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Freedom Online Coalition Considers Best Practices for Promoting Freedom Online

This week, member governments of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) meet in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, for their 5th annual Conference. The overarching theme for the 2015 meeting is “Internet Policy Making – Best Practices for Promoting Online Freedoms” and is billed as an opportunity for governments, private sector, and civil society to discuss the threats to freedom online and the opportunities to protect and promote “fundamental freedoms and human rights.”

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Changes to Short-Term Rental Laws Must Include Privacy and Free Speech Protections

This week, the California Senate and the City of San Francisco are contemplating changes to the laws governing short-term rentals, which allow for individuals to host guests in their homes, using platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. We have serious concerns about the implications of these proposals, specifically on how they will affect individual privacy, security, and free speech.

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Florida’s “True Origins of Digital Goods Act” Threatens Online Anonymity

A misguided copyright enforcement bill in Florida is threatening online anonymity. This week, the state legislature is considering the “True Origins of Digital Goods Act,” which would essentially make it unlawful for a website operator to remain anonymous if her site includes a substantial amount of embedded music or video. Anyone who runs a music blog or features video clips on her website would be required by law to disclose her name, address, and telephone number on the site.

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Listening to the Experts on Human Trafficking

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee is considering two pieces of legislation that would help combat sex trafficking in the United States. As these bills enter committee markup on Thursday, it’s important that they remain focused on essential victim-centered reforms and providing law enforcement with necessary prosecution and prevention resources – not on measures that infringe on the First Amendment.

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FEC Should Preserve ‘Breathing Space’ for Online Political Debate

CDT joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation last week in comments urging the Federal Election Commission to leave in place a key policy decision protecting individuals’ ability to engage in political speech online. When the FEC launched its first inquiry into the topic, CDT advocated for “breathing space” for online political speech, warning that the complex welter of campaign finance regulations would discourage individuals from engaging in robust online debate about political candidates and policy proposals. The FEC’s hands-off approach should ensure that it continues to promote – not discourage – political participation online.

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Digital India’s Impact on Privacy: Aadhaar numbers, biometrics, and more

Much of the discussion at the recent India-U.S. Information and Communications Technologies Working Group focused on the Indian government’s “Digital India” initiative to promote universal connectivity, with the goal of providing every citizen with broadband connection by December 2016. As part of a “cradle-to-grave digital identity” for its citizens, the government plans to draw on the Aadhaar program, a controversial unique identification system that has led the Indian government to create the world’s largest biometric database. Lisa discusses its privacy concerns and more.

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Responses to Charlie Hebdo Attack: Governments Should Protect, Not Limit, Free Expression

The horrific terrorist attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris has shaken the European continent profoundly. The tragedy lays bare controversial and divisive questions regarding free expression and efforts to prevent terrorism and violence motivated by political and religious extremism. European leaders have been quick to announce heightened security responses. However, caution is needed to ensure that any new security measures are proportionate, that they strengthen and advance the free expression rights of all, and that they avoid creating a chilling effect from surveillance.

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