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CDT Launches Project on Third-Party Apps

CDT Raises Concerns about Health Records Database

CDT Launches Online Free Speech Resource for Artists

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November 2, Washington, DC - Deven McGraw will speak at IdentEvent 2010: Cyber Security & Identity Management Policy and Technology Implications in the 21st Century.

November 7, Beijing, China - Alissa Cooper will participate at the 79th meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

November 9, Washington, DC - Leslie Harris will speak at the 4th Annual Family Online Safety Institute Conference entitled "Internet Freedom, Safety and Citizenship: A Global Call to Action."


Privacy in the apps space is the focus of a new project here at CDT. The project seeks to produce a set of principles for apps developers and platforms on the uses of consumer data. Also, last week, CDT raised serious privacy concerns about plans for a new government "data warehouse" of electronic health records. Meanwhile, we launched a great new site where artists can learn about their online rights and obligations.

CDT Launches Project on Third-Party Apps

The recent revelation that Facebook apps were transmitting identification information to outside advertisers highlighted the privacy risks buried in many of the convenient or amusing little apps being developed today for social networks and other popular platforms. Despite the explosive success of the apps model -- or perhaps because of that success -- consumers are largely oblivious about what happens to their personal information once it starts getting passed from platform to app to any number of third parties. CDT's new apps project seeks to shed light on current practices and to develop privacy guidelines for handling this consumer data.

As with much of CDT's work, we will conduct this project by bringing together those directly involved: platform providers, application developers, and consumer advocates. Through a series of meetings and discussions, we will examine how applications are collecting and using consumer data and then we will consider how to set appropriate limits on such data flows. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Future of Privacy Forum and will be conducted through CDT's Internet Privacy Working Group (IPWG), a forum for companies, trade associations and consumer advocates.

CDT Raises Concerns about Health Records Database

The federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently announced plans to create a database containing detailed electronic health records on potentially several million Americans. While CDT strongly supports the use of information technology in health care, we believe that the proposed "Health Claims Data Warehouse" is both unnecessary and highly risky to privacy.

The personal records in the Warehouse would include Social Security Numbers and information on health care coverage, procedures, diagnoses, payments and employment of people in three disparate health insurance programs, as well as on their spouses and children. In its notice announcing the database, OPM stated that the information in the Warehouse could be shared with a variety of federal agencies and with researchers inside and outside the government, and could be used for a range of purposes, including "other purposes."

CDT, joined by other advocates, has written to OPM urging the agency to reconsider its plans. CDT's letter called on OPM to release for public review much more detail on how data would be protected and used within the system. In response, OPM has informed CDT that it will issue a revised notice describing its plans. Moreover, we argued that the agency had failed to justify the need for copying all this data into a single repository. We recommended that the agency formally consider whether it could serve its various purposes by following the better practice of leaving data where it originated and only querying it when needed for a specific purpose.

CDT Launches Online Free Speech Resource for Artists

Last week, CDT launched, a website dedicated to artists' free speech rights online. The Internet has dramatically changed the way artists interact with the public. Musicians, photographers, painters and other artists can reach global audiences with little financial burden, sidestepping the "middleman" along the way. However, this explosion of expression on the Web is not without controversy. It can be difficult to navigate the complex legal issues around free expression, copyright and sharing. Enter

One section of the site walks through the laws surrounding different types of content, covering everything from sex and violence to satire and remix. In a section on "Roles," we highlight considerations for artists and content hosts. A third section outlines the liabilities an artist might face, both in the U.S. and abroad, for work shared via the Internet.

Don't Get Hijacked on the 'Net

CDT's new Plesser Fellow, Aaron Brauer-Rieke, examines the role of "https" in protecing your Internet browsing from snooping.

Ask CDT: Answers on Social Media Privacy

In our second round of "Ask CDT," consumer privacy expert Justin Brookman answers questions about social media privacy, both in text and on video.

"Privacy Chat" Draws Huge Participation

Last week, CDT hosted our first "Privacy Chat" on Twitter. The response was fantastic, so we're making it a weekly feature! Make sure to join us by using the hashtag #PrivChat.

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