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Defending Free Expression Online

GPS and the 4th Amendment

International Human Rights and the Internet

Featured on Policy Beta

June 22, Brussels, Belgium - Alissa Cooper will participate on a panel about technical approaches at the Online Tracking Protection and Browsers workshop organized by the Berkeley Center for Law & Society and the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam.

June 29, Paris, France - Leslie Harris will participate in an OECD panel on Policy making principles for an open Internet.


CDT works not only in Congress and the regulatory agencies but also in the courts. Recently, we pressed a federal judge in Utah to finally strike down an Internet censorship law, and we signed an amicus brief in an Ohio state case arguing for application of the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement to GPS tracking. Meanwhile, on the global front, the UN's free speech monitor issued a special report on the Internet; CDT had helped run a series of regional consultations that fed into the report.

Defending Free Expression Online

Represented by CDT and the ACLU of Utah, a broad group of Utah bookstores, artistic and informational websites, Internet service providers and national trade associations filed a federal lawsuit in Salt Lake City, challenging as unconstitutional a Utah law that was meant to restrict children's access to material on the Internet but that would in fact restrict adults' access to a wide range of lawful content. That was six years ago; enforcement of the law has been enjoined ever since and parts of it have been repealed or rewritten. On June 8th, CDT and its co-counsel asked the court to finally put the matter to rest by declaring the Utah "harmful to minors" law unconstitutional. Our filing explained that attempts to protect children by regulating otherwise lawful speech online are not narrowly tailored and that less restrictive user-based methods available to parents are more effective at protecting children online.

GPS and the 4th Amendment

When detectives attached a GPS unit to the underside of an Ohio man's van--based only on tips from informants and absent a warrant--they set in motion a case now before the Ohio Supreme Court. GPS technology represents such a leap forward in intrusiveness that its use to track someone's movements 24 hours a day requires a judicial warrant, said the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in a recent amicus brief signed by CDT. CDT has argued that cell phone tracking also requires a warrant.

International Human Rights and the Internet

The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression recently presented a report on freedom of expression and the Internet to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. CDT welcomed the report, which comes as governments around the world propose steps that would directly or indirectly control Internet speech.

CDT's Cynthia Wong took part in five regional consultations the Special Rapporteur held in researching the report. She heard directly from Internet activists about how the imposition of liability on Internet intermediaries, unchecked government surveillance, and inadequate privacy laws have very real chilling effects on expression and association. CDT's international project is working with these activists and others to promote globally a framework that protects free expression and democratic activity online.

Editorial Voices Weigh in Against Protect IP Act

As we noted in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, the Protect IP Act has been drawing criticism from many quarters. Last week, traditional media outlets -- the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times -- voiced concerns with the legislation on their editorial pages. Both editorials noted that a distinguished group of technologists had released a report warning of security concerns that would flow from the proposed law.

Putting Together the IPv6 Puzzle, With Just a Few Missing Pieces

June 8 was World IPv6 Day, but CDT's Cyrus Nemati was not breaking out the champagne. Instead, he was staying up late working to make CDT's site IPv6 compatible. As Cyrus explains, the transition is difficult and is still incomplete for CDT and, we suspect, many others.

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