Related Insights

CDT Comments to the U.S. State Department on Proposed Collection of Visa Applicants' Social Media Information

CDT urges the State Department to withdraw the agency’s proposed information collection under Public Notices 10260 and 10261. The proposal asks all immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants to provide social media identifiers, and email addresses used in the past five years, among other information. This astronomical collection would have an immediate impact on 14.7 million visa applicants, and thousands, if not millions, more third parties whose data could be collaterally reviewed.

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Memorandum on Human Rights Criteria for Cross-Border Demands

CDT has articulated human rights criteria for cross-border demands for Internet users’ communications content. CDT released those criteria on the eve of the European Commission’s scheduled release of the E-Evidence initiative. They had been conveyed to the Commission in prior commentary by CDT and other civil society groups. We articulate the legal support for these criteria that is drawn from decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), and others.

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FOIA Request for ICE on Commercial License Plate Reader Database

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency recently issued a contract request for query-based access to a commercial license plate reader database. We filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with ICE seeking information on the contract, as well as any internal training materials, policy memos, and documents related to how ICE agents plan to use the commercial database and LPR data.

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Coalition Letter Calling for Improvements to USA Liberty Act

CDT and dozens of other digital rights groups released a letter calling on Congress to improve the USA Liberty Act by closing the backdoor search loophole that the bill leavers open. Using this loophole, the US government searches the communications content of US persons without obtaining a warrant. It does this by combing through the millions of communications it seizes every year under the authority Congress gave it in Section 702 of FISA to conduct surveillance of foreigners outside the U.S.

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Letter to Congress Re: FISA Section 702 Reauthorization – What We Know Now

The undersigned civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, and government oversight organizations write to urge you to vote “no” on reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act if it is not significantly reformed. While Congress had little information on how this program worked when it last voted on this law in 2012, the new disclosures we describe below underscore the need for amendments to better protect privacy and civil liberties.

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CDT Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Carpenter v. US

This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Carpenter v. U.S., a case to determine whether the 4th Amendment requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access location data held by a cell phone company. In this case, the government obtained four months of stored location records with a less protective court order while investigating a robbery.

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Fixing Section 702 and the EU-US Privacy Shield

The E.U.-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement assists in the free flow of commerce by allowing companies to transfer data between the European Union and the United States, but it could be in jeopardy if U.S. surveillance law is not reformed. The Privacy Shield agreement was built on assurances that the U.S. would not subject Europeans’ data to “indiscriminate mass surveillance.”

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Section 702: Fixing the Backdoor Search Loophole

Although U.S. persons cannot be targeted under Section 702, their communications with non-U.S. persons can be collected and retained for years. The NSA, CIA, and FBI can query 702-acquired information using a U.S.-person identifier, without a warrant or court order. This loophole allows the government to bypass the Fourth Amendment’s protection against warrantless searches.

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