Related Press Releases

UK Parliament Report Rejects Encryption Backdoors, Other Parts of Sweeping Surveillance Bill

The UK Parliament’s Draft Investigatory Powers Bill Joint Committee—a group of Members of Parliament charged with assessing a draft of sweeping new surveillance legislation—issued an important report recommending significant changes to the proposed law. The Committee’s report explicitly opposes any government effort to require encryption backdoors, urges the adoption of clearer definitions of key terms, recommends that the new body that would authorize UK surveillance be more independent, and calls out provisions for supposedly “targeted” surveillance that could be abused by authorities who wish to spy on large numbers of people.

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White House Strikes Right Chord on Privacy and Individual Security

Today, the White House announced a new federal initiative called the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) encompassing a substantial new cybersecurity budget request and two new Executive Orders that would establish a Cybersecurity Commission and a cross-government Privacy Council. The goal of CNAP is to “enhance cybersecurity awareness and protections, protect privacy, maintain public safety as well as economic and national security, and empower Americans to take better control of their digital security.” The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) welcomes the President’s action, especially its inclusion of privacy provisions and individual empowerment in cybersecurity.

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Can EU-US data pact survive without surveillance reform?

Christian Science Monitor: The deal would introduce the idea of “essential equivalence” between how privacy laws are interpreted and applied in the EU and in the US, said Chris Calabrese, vice president for policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a tech advocacy group in Washington. But it does not eliminate the government’s authority to force American firms to disclose data under the aegis of counter-terrorism. And that could be a problem from the EU Court of Justice’s point of view, said Mr. Calabrese.

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EU and US Reach New Data-Sharing Agreement

Associated Press: “Absent reform of U.S. surveillance law, it is highly unlikely that the Privacy Shield agreement will be deemed sufficient by the (European) Court of Justice,” said Jens-Henrik Jeppesen, director of European affairs. He called on the U.S. Congress to swiftly move to reform its surveillance law and for EU member states to narrow their own surveillance laws and practices to also be more aligned with international human rights norms.

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ECPA Finally Moves to Markup in the House

Today, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman announced that the Committee plans to markup the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699), which would reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) has long advocated for reform of the outdated legislation and welcomes the action.

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Yet another bill seeks to weaken encryption-by-default on smartphones

Ars Technica: “Human trafficking is obviously a major social issue that we need to address,” Gautam Hans told Ars. “However, I don’t think this is the best way to solve that issue. Weakening encryption will do a great deal of harm to the security of the Internet, and it’s not clear that it helps with the law enforcement goals. Encryption proposals that include backdoors are fundamentally insecure and would create vulnerabilities that unauthorized actors could exploit.”

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House considers requiring search warrant to get old emails

AP: Investigators would need a search warrant to get people’s old emails under a bill considered Tuesday by a House panel looking to update a nearly 30-year-old federal law to reflect today’s communications. This is a “modest step for bringing our privacy protections into the 21st century,” said Chris Calabrese, who is vice president for policy for the Center for Democracy & Technology.

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