Related Press Releases

CDT Leads Coalition of Over 100 Organizations Opposing DHS Surveillance of Activists, Journalists, and Lawyers

CDT led a coalition of over 100 organizations in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security urging it to cease any targeting of activists, journalists, and lawyers based on their First Amendment-protected speech and associational activities. The coalition demanded that DHS address alarming reports of surveillance activity by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that jeopardizes First Amendment rights and access to legal counsel, and may violate the Privacy Act of 1974.

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Court Rules That Opened Email Retains Privacy Protections

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Hately v. Watts that opening an email message does not strip the message of privacy protections imposed by Congress in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act. “This is an important victory for privacy. A contrary ruling would have meant that spam emails nobody opens are better protected from government access than sensitive, personal messages you open and save,” said Greg Nojeim, Director of the CDT Freedom, Security and Technology Project.

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Helping Consumers Choose a Trustworthy VPN

CDT has launched an initiative aimed at helping consumers better understand VPNs and assess their trustworthiness. CDT developed a series of questions and recommendations for VPN providers that, when addressed completely, serve as a strong signal that the VPN can be trusted with your personal browsing information and web traffic. The framework was developed in consultation with a number of leading VPN providers, many of which proactively answered CDT’s questions, providing greater transparency about their data practices.

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Supreme Court Rules on Location Privacy

The Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement officers must have a warrant in order to obtain historic cell site location information. In one of the most widely-anticipated decisions in a blockbuster year for the Supreme Court, the Court found 5-4 in Carpenter v. U.S. that collecting 127 days of cell site location information requires a warrant. The Court rejected the government’s argument that the third-party doctrine, which holds that an individual loses Fourth Amendment protections in data voluntarily shared with a third party, nullified the warrant requirement.

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FBI’s “Going Dark” Claims Now Even More Dubious

Is strong encryption causing the FBI to “go dark”, blocking access to evidence from criminal investigations? That claim has long been dubious, and a new report from the Washington Post, confirming that that FBI inflated the number of locked devices it cannot open by at least 4x, makes the claim even less credible. CDT advocates for strong encryption to keep our daily communications secure and protect information and networks across sectors.

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Omnibus Spending Bill Fails to Protect Privacy of Americans

The CLOUD Act, inserted at the very end of the 2,232-page omnibus spending bill, will make substantial amendments to ECPA. It grants U.S. law enforcement entities new powers to compel U.S. companies to disclose communications and data on U.S. and foreign users that is stored overseas. It also empowers foreign governments to demand the stored and real-time data and communications of users outside the U.S. The CLOUD Act omits the Email Privacy Act, legislation unanimously passed twice by the U.S. House of Representatives, which would amend ECPA by requiring the government to obtain a warrant before accessing email content. CDT has long advocated for this protection to become law.

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Pennsylvania race shows need for U.S. voting machine upgrades: experts

Reuters: “With paper, you can recount or audit that paper and carefully check the performance of the voting system, ensuring that the electronic result would match what a full hand count would show. Without a paper audit trail, any recount is just like hitting enter on the keyboard over and over again: You get the same answer and you have no clue if that answer is correct,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, an election security expert with the Center for Democracy & Technology.

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