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DOJ Writes to Copyright Office: Security Research is Cool.

On June 28, the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Department of Justice voiced its support for CDT’s request that the Copyright Office expand an exemption under Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allows computer security researchers to find and repair flaws and vulnerabilities in programs without running afoul of copyright law. We hope the Office will give the CCIPS letter due consideration as it prepares its recommendations for the next round of exemptions.

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Net Neutrality: India Gets It

On Wednesday, India’s Department of Telecommunications approved the recommendations set forth by its regulatory body, which require ISPs to adhere to net neutrality principles. This represents a significant step forward for Indian internet users and companies, ensuring that ISPs will not block, throttle, or offer preferential treatment of internet traffic.

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Mega-Merger: Vertical Integration in a Deregulated Environment

The combination of massive vertical integration and deregulation could set off a tectonic shift in the landscape of the internet. Vertically-integrated ISPs will have an even greater incentive to favor their own content and edge providers, and will be better positioned to leverage their control of popular content to effect negotiations with competing services. In a world where a few ISPs control both access and content, protecting the rest of the internet against discriminatory treatment will be crucial to preserve the internet as an open and flat communications network.

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EC Initiative on Disinformation Must Not Curb Free Expression

The European Commission has, as expected, published a Communication on “Tackling Online Disinformation: A European Approach”. The Communication comes on the back of a public consultation and a report from a “High-Level Group on Fake News”. But we worry that the speed with which the Commission wants to proceed, and the lack of clarity regarding the scope of the problem it wants to address, will push online service providers, aided by technology tools and fact checkers, to curtail free expression, political debate and access to information.

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Congress Should Take "Filtering Practices of Social Media" Seriously

Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee will host what’s likely to be a wide-ranging discussion of how social media companies moderate content, in its hearing on Filtering Practices of Social Media Platforms. While the hearing is sure to include some spectacle and grandstanding, make no mistake: This is a deeply serious issue that deserves thoughtful consideration by policymakers, companies, and users alike. Here are a few key themes we hope members of the committee will consider.

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Companies Finally Shine a Light into Content Moderation Practices

The recent publications and greater operational transparency from both YouTube and Facebook are welcome news. Transparency, however, is not itself an end. Rather, it is a means to an end: creating and fostering responsible digital platforms that truly empower their users to express themselves, shape their own communities, and access information of all kinds.

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The Zuckerberg Hearings: Hits, Misses, and Unanswered Questions

The House and Senate grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for a total of ten hours this week, covering privacy, content policy, and election interference. The hearings didn’t reveal new information about Facebook’s practices, but they suggested that many members of Congress are ready to move on from the status quo of weak privacy protections and unfettered data collection by companies in the U.S.

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