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De-Identification Should be Relevant to a Privacy Law, But Not an Automatic Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card

Stakeholders recommend exempting de-identified data, which includes anonymized, pseudonymized, and aggregated information, from the scope of privacy legislation. However, completely exempting these types of data is not just untenable; it is dangerous. In some cases de-identification fails to hide individual identities, and does not always prevent harms to groups of people. So what is the policy solution? In this post, we make three key recommendations.

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The GDPR's Impact on Innovation Should Not Be Overstated

Protecting individuals’ privacy is far too often pitted against innovation and economic interests. However, this doesn’t have to be the case: strong privacy laws can establish clearer ground rules that level the playing field for businesses large and small and protect individuals from unfair, surprising, and privacy-invading practices. Thus far, the evidence that GDPR has hurt small- and medium-sized businesses is anecdotal and ultimately inconclusive.

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Balancing the Scale of Student Data Deletion and Retention in Education

Deleting data is harder than you might think, and we’ve created some guidance about how to manage this complex task in an education context. We hope that the tools we provide can serve as starting points for practitioners to build robust data management in their own organizations, so that they can get the most out of their data while protecting their students.

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Notice and Choice Are No Longer a Choice

Earlier this week, CDT President & CEO Nuala O’Connor testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce at its hearing on “Protecting Consumer Privacy in the Era of Big Data.” She began with a simple message: “Notice and choice are no longer a choice.” The current system around personal data provides no genuine choice, and is no longer a viable option. It’s time to move beyond check boxes and define our digital rights.

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The American AI Initiative: A Good Start, But Still A Long Way to Go

This week, President Trump signed an executive order titled the “American AI Initiative.” While this order lays out some useful first steps toward a larger national policy and course of action for artificial intelligence, the administration will need to do more to ensure its goal of maintaining American leadership in AI technologies. Although the order’s broad “policies and principles” section includes calls to preserve civil liberties, privacy, and American values, it is not entirely clear what those values are or whether they might conflict with the other priorities listed in the order. In this post, we’ll talk about what the order does and does not do.

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A “Smart Wall” That Fails to Protect Privacy and Civil Liberties Is Not Smart

Congress needs to be smart about this “smart wall.” CBP’s history of grossly mismanaging technology projects, and its liberal use of surveillance tools beyond the physical border, caution against a hands-off approach. Any funding Congress provides to invasive border surveillance technologies should be conditioned on efficacy requirements and limitations on use that are designed to preserve the human and civil rights of those against whom they will be used.

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