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Your Chance to Say No to Proposed Social Media Questioning on US Customs

DHS recently issued a proposal to ask tourists on visa waivers to share their “online presence” on the I-94W and the online application for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, including the social networks they use and their corresponding “identifiers”—their handles or account names. CDT thinks this is a bad idea and is planning to file public comments with U.S. Customs and Border Protection explaining why.

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Community, Identity, Speech, and Power

As we look forward to our next twenty years, we must ask ourselves: Are we achieving our goal of promoting an empowering internet that truly enables individual users to speak and be heard, to exercise control over their online identity, and to connect with one another in pursuit of a sense of belonging and community? This year, CDT is launching a long-term focus on these and other questions whose common theme is “Community” online.

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Look It Up: Carla Hayden is Qualified

Dr. Carla Hayden understands technology and its interaction with libraries. She is passionate about using technology to modernize the collection and digitize its assets to increase access to the Library. She wants to make sure digitized materials are accessible in formats that will allow people with visual disabilities to access them. She believes in the value of free access to information, and protecting the privacy of library users. If our Senators want to be able to send their staffers to the library to “look it up,” they should confirm Dr. Hayden as the Librarian of Congress without further delay.

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FCC Rules Reconcile Speech and Privacy, Must Support Security Research

Last week, CDT submitted its second set of comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as it considers a new rulebook for protecting consumer privacy in the use of broadband. The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on this issue is an important first step towards providing broadband consumers with the assurance they need that their ISP will not track their online activities – the websites they frequent, the apps they download, the searches they perform – or sell that information to third parties without their knowledge and consent. CDT previously submitted comments in this rulemaking process.

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GNI Finds Member Companies In Compliance with Obligations

The Global Network Initiative released a report on the independent assessments of its member companies, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo!, finding each company in compliance with the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines. The assessments amount to a demanding inquiry into company practices and processes as they relate to decision making about free expression and privacy.

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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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European Commission Online Platform Proposals Puts Onus on Companies

The European Commission has published a set of proposals and documents under the umbrella of its Digital Single Market strategy. Among them is a Communication on ‘Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market Opportunities and Challenges for Europe’. There are positive messages in the document, but also some problematic ones. CDT has consistently pushed back on proposals that would endanger the internet as an enabler of free expression, public debate, and access to information.

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Local Proposals to Regulate Short-Term Housing Raise Section 230 Problems

Much of the internet’s success has been due to Section 230, the federal law that has encouraged the development of user-generated content platforms for more than twenty years. Unfortunately, as technology companies begin to operate in spaces traditionally regulated by states and cities, we have seen many instances in which they attempt to regulate service providers, some of whom fall within Section 230’s protections.

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