June 23, San Francisco, CA - Heath IT Policy Breakfast: Privacy and Security in the Post-HITECH Era. Moderated by CEO Leslie Harris, with panelists including Deven McGraw, Director of CDT's Health Privacy Project; Jonah Frolich, Deputy Secretary for Health Information Technology in California; David Lansky, Pacific Buisness Group on Health; and Julie Murchinson, Manatt Health Solutions. Contact Catherine Brack for details - firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 23, San Francisco, CA - San Francisco reception to celebrate CDT's 15th anniversary. Contact Catherine Brack for details - email@example.com.
The Federal Communications Commission seeks a firm - and limited - jurisdictional basis for regulating the Internet's on ramps, while service providers, users and policymakers continue to struggle to define privacy rules for social networking. These were two of the Internet policy issues in the news and on CDT's agenda over the past two weeks.
FCC Formally Launches Internet Neutrality Proceeding
Last week the FCC issued a landmark "Notice of Inquiry" teeing up questions about the nation's regulatory structure for communications. The FCC Chairman wants to claim jurisdiction to regulate broadband Internet access-note, that's access, not content. CDT will be very active in this proceeding, urging the Commission to protect the openness of the Internet, but also recommending that it maintain a narrow focus on the transmission component of Internet access and reject any authority over the content and applications that ride on top of the network. .
Just a week before the FCC notice was issued, Commissioner Michael Copps offered his thoughts on "net neutrality" at a CDT-sponsored event in Silicon Valley.
Supreme Court Holds Steady on Workplace Privacy
When can an employer read employee emails, texts and other personal communications made over employer-provided services? The U.S. Supreme Court had that issue before it in the case of City of Ontario, California v. Quon, but the Justices declined last week to make any new law. The case was remarkable in that it involved a government employee; according to a 1987 court case, government workers retain their Fourth Amendment rights in the workplace, subject to workplace rules and the supervisory needs of their employers. In its opinion last week, the Court said it would assume that the employee had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his texts made over a city-issued pager. Nevertheless, the Court found, a supervisor's reading of the employee's messages was reasonable in the circumstances and therefore did not violate the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of "unreasonable" searches and seizures. The Court stressed that its opinion was intended to have no effect on private sector employers, let alone on searches in the course of criminal investigations.
The Court's reluctance to define the limits of privacy rights in various new technologies highlights the need for Congress to act. Earlier this year, a broad coalition of communications and technology companies, privacy advocates, think tanks and legal experts issued a set of recommendations for updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the 1986 law setting standards for government access to communications.
Facebook Has More to Do
Last week, CDT joined nine other public interest organizations in an open letter to Facebook President Mark Zuckerberg asking him to have Facebook's code warriors keep working to address the outstanding privacy issues on its site. Most notably, the much-criticized "Instant Personalization" feature is still turned on by default for all users. Our letter also calls for Facebook to adopt granular controls for all information sharing and to make user data portable.
Erica Newland describes the efforts at last week's Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference to create a social networking bill of rights.
Alissa Cooper lays out the progress made by the IETF's working group on management of network congestion.
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