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Ninth Circuit Issues Ruling on Spokeo: Inaccuracies Create Concrete Harms

Over seven years ago, CDT filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against the people-search company Spokeo, alleging that the company and other data brokers were not protecting consumers as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). A class action lawsuit filed against Spokeo in 2011, led by lead plaintiff Thomas Robins, raised a host of new issues about the nature of privacy harms, the actual protections provided by federal privacy laws, and the use of litigation as a vehicle for protecting consumers’ privacy. According to this week’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit, the accuracy of this type of information is “directly and substantially related” to the goals of the FCRA.

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Tech Talk: Not All VPNs are Created Equal and How to Make Ethical Algorithms

CDT’s Tech Talk is a podcast where we dish on tech and Internet policy, while also explaining what these policies mean to our daily lives. In this episode, we take a look at CDT’s complaint to the FTC about a VPN service that promises privacy, but is falling short of that promise. We also find out about an online resource for developers of algorithms that helps them program in ethical outcomes.

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The Role of Automated Decision-making in Commercial Health

Are we creating health management systems that are responsive to differences, or ones that spit back content riddled with historical bias and discrimination? This question has implications far beyond an individual’s health; the data generated by consumer-facing health technologies frequently ends up informing broader health practices and public health research.

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Digital Decisions Tool

Two years ago, CDT embarked on a project to explore what we call “digital decisions” – the use of algorithms, machine learning, big data, and automation to make decisions that impact individuals and shape society. To help mitigate harm at the design level, we have launched the first public version of our digital decisions tool.

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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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Tech Talk: Allied for Startups and Asserting Creative Control

CDT’s Tech Talk is a podcast where we dish on tech and Internet policy, while also explaining what these policies mean to our daily lives. In this episode, we talk to Melissa Blaustein of Allied for Startups about how startups and policymakers can better work together. We also explore how social justice and intellectual property are related, while previewing a new legal clinic for content creators.

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Tech Talk: EdTech Privacy Practices and Policy Challenges for Driverless Cars

CDT’s Tech Talk is a podcast where we dish on tech and Internet policy, while also explaining what these policies mean to our daily lives. In this episode, we talk to researchers from Carnegie Mellon University who looked at the privacy policies and practices of EdTech startups. We also talk about the future of autonomous vehicles, looking in-depth at a package of bills coming out of Congress aimed at creating nationwide standards to expedite deployment.

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