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In this issue

Take Back Your Privacy with CDT

CDT in Action

January 14 - CDT will file comments at the FCC on Internet neutrality.

January 19-20 - Washington DC -- Both Both Greg Nojeim and Jim Dempsey will be speaking about privacy and cybersecurity on panels at the Global Cybersecurity Policy Conference.

January 20 - San Francisco -- Deven McGraw will speak on Privacy and Security Compliance in the ARRA Era at the Healthcare Stimulus Exchange National Road Show 2010.


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Welcome to a new year of CDT’s Tech Policy Download. Over the past several weeks, the Internet didn’t take a holiday, and neither did we.

Shining a Light on Broadband Services

How many consumers have even the foggiest idea of how much bandwidth they are using or which of their applications creates the heaviest bandwidth drain? How many know the actual speed of their network connection? Are the speeds advertised by providers available all the time or just during periods of low congestion? These are among the many questions suggested by a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) inquiry on broadband services. CDT submitted comments exploring how greater transparency about broadband speeds and usage would be helpful to consumers, network operators, and applications providers alike.

CDT suggested giving individual subscribers tools to monitor their own broadband usage. CDT also noted that there might be opportunities for broadband networks to communicate technical information about network utilization or congestion to the developers of applications and to other network operators. We pointed out that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has proposed a “Congestion Exposure” working group to address precisely this question.

Privacy by Design

The Federal Trade Commission continues it exploration of privacy with a second roundtable, in Berkeley, CA on January 28th. Alissa Cooper, CDT’s Chief Computer Scientist, will present on behalf of CDT. In advance of the session, we submitted comments calling on the Commission to encourage businesses to adopt Privacy by Design. Privacy by Design is the incorporation of privacy protections into the very design of new technologies as well as into the business policies and practices associated with their use. CDT has long advocated Privacy by Design, believing that it, together with robust self-regulation and a baseline consumer privacy protection law, will protect privacy and promote trust on the Internet.

Privacy across the Pond

On New Year’s Eve, CDT submitted comments to the European Commission in connection with its review of the European Data Protection Directive. Although Europe and the US have taken different regulatory approaches to consumer privacy -- the European Union adopted a comprehensive privacy directive in 1995 while the US has a patchwork quilt of incomplete laws with many gaps -- consumers, businesses and regulators on both sides of the Atlantic are grappling with the privacy implications of many of the same changes in technology and business practices. In our comments to the European Commission, we focused in particular on five trends: cloud computing, behavioral advertising, deep packet inspection, location-awareness, and re-identification of anonymous data, pointing the Commission to CDT reports and testimony on these topics.

Our submission to the European Commission echoed many of the points in our November comments to the Federal Trade Commission, which is also conducting a review of privacy. We emphasized to both bodies the importance of the full set of Fair Information Practices (FIPs), explaining that notice and consent alone are not sufficient, but that renewed focus on comprehensively applying the FIPs, including limitations on collection, use and retention, will significantly help to protect consumer privacy in the 21st century.

CDT’s Tech Policy Download is a bi-weekly e-newsletter published by the Center for Democracy and Technology. To unsubscribe, click the following link. Unsubscribe

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