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In this issue

Take Back Your Privacy with CDT

CDT in Action

April 21, Washington, DC - John Morris will speak on a panel at Georgetown University's "ISD: Digital Power and Its Discontents" Conference.

April 29, Washington, DC - Leslie Harris will be moderating the "Identity Management and Other Solutions to Online Security" panel at BSA's Cybersecurity Forum at the Newseum.


For more information about CDT, or to receive CDT's Tech Policy Download, click here.


In the past two weeks, CDT’s activities ranged from filing a brief defending the copyright safe harbor system to examining how the new iPhone OS gives users better control over disclosure of information revealing their location. And just last night we celebrated CDT’s 15th anniversary with a gala networking dinner in Washington, DC!

Standing up for Safe Harbor

CDT and a number of allies told a federal judge last week that Viacom's billion-dollar lawsuit against YouTube represents a dangerous effort to disable the safe harbor established in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The safe harbor protects platforms for speech and e-commerce against liability if the users of those services infringe copyright. Its balanced approach also protects copyright, by requiring hosts to take down content after they receive a proper notice. The safe harbor rules have played a major role in fostering innovation online.

Viacom's lawsuit claims that YouTube is not eligible for the safe harbor for a variety reasons that, if adopted, would disqualify virtually all platforms for user-generated content. Rolling back the safe harbor in this way would make it impossible to maintain many current and future services. CDT and its allies argued that such a radically narrow reading of the safe harbor cannot be squared with the intent of Congress to foster innovation and the development of new services.

iPhone Location from Background to Foreground

The latest upgrade to the operating system for Apple’s popular iPhone offers users the ability to multitask. However, as CDT’s Alissa Cooper points out, multitasking is a mixed blessing with location-enabled applications. Running multiple apps at once allows those apps to track your location continuously, even when they’re not taking up screen space.

On the upside, the new OS displays an indicator whenever location-based services are running and gives users controls on a per-application basis over geolocation services. Cyrus Nemati demonstrated these geolocation controls in a tour of the developer version of the upcoming iPhone firmware. CDT applauds this level of per-app control and looks forward to seeing the full release of the iPhone OS 4.0.

NASA's Open Government Plan Shoots for the Stars

NASA has released an Open Government Plan that should be a model for the rest of the federal government. Under the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative, each agency is required to develop and publish a plan. NASA already does an impressive job of engaging the public, but its Open Government Plan sets forth ambitious new goals and concrete, well-conceived projects.

For example, NASA is developing a Participatory Exploration Office, intended to allow citizens to actually collaborate in NASA projects. CDT will be urging other agencies to follow NASA’s lead in devising ways to draw on the time, talent and interest of citizens to advance governmental goals – truly achieving the vision of participatory government.

More from CDT's PolicyBeta Blog

PrivacyCamp is Coming to a City Near You PrivacyCamp is expanding – and coming to San Francisco in May.

Toeing the Line Between Social Media and Privacy – Adam Rosenberg explores social media privacy in an article for ZDNet

It's official: Twitter isn't Government Paperwork – Heather West examines the new rules for government agencies’ use of social media.

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