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McCain-Kerry Privacy Bill Shows Promise

Location Data Flap Highlights Need Privacy Standards

Freedom of Expression for the Next 5 Billion Internet Users

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May 4, Washington, DC - Justin Brookman will testify on The Threat of Data Theft to American Consumers at the House Energy & Commerce Committee

May 5, Washington, DC - Aaron Brauer-Rieke will speak at the NASCIO panel on Online Trust: A National Imperative

May 10, Washington, DC - Justin Brookman will testify on mobile technology and privacy at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law

May 11, Washington, DC - Harley Geiger will appear at the Dialogue on Diversity Health Care Symposium


With the media in all-out frenzy over the handling of location data by smartphones, CDT has been working to re-focus the discussion on the broader issues associated with location privacy. We also drilled down last week on the Senate's new consumer privacy bill. Meanwhile, CDT issued a major paper on free expression principles for the Internet, an issue of global urgency. Our work in recent weeks has also involved some less publicized, but significant, developments in data privacy, including our ongoing effort to design a workable "Do Not Track" framework.

McCain-Kerry Privacy Bill Shows Promise

Senators John Kerry (D-Mass) and John McCain (R-Az) recently introduced the "Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011" to provide long-needed protections around the collection, use, and transfer of consumer data. CDT has released an analysis of the bill. We at CDT have long advocated for a comprehensive bill to fill the gaps left by the old sectoral approach to privacy laws, which currently leaves much personal data unprotected. The Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act importantly addresses the full range of Fair Information Practice Principles to ensure that all consumer data is protected.

CDT's analysis also identifies areas where the bill should be improved, particularly with respect to the language on third-parties and to ensure that the scope of user information is limited at the time of collection. CDT also recommends that incentives should be provided to encourage companies to participate in safe harbor programs and that the authority of the FTC to enforce the bill's provisions should be reasonably strengthened.

Location Data Flap Highlights Need Privacy Standards

The revelation that location data has been stored on iPhones for extended periods of time has upset many users and caused quite a stir in the media. But while Apple has now acknowledged that it mishandled the data and is taking steps to correct the problem, the issue clearly illustrates the need for strong protection of consumer location data. The incident also shows how important it is to design products with privacy in mind. When companies adopt Privacy by Design all the way down to the engineering level, both their reputation and the data of consumers will be safer.

Freedom of Expression for the Next 5 Billion Internet Users

As the Internet's relevance to global freedom continues to grow. The Internet can empower citizens to communicate instantaneously with others in their own communities and worldwide, at low cost relative to traditional forms of media.

The Internet as it exists today did not come about by accident. Rather, today's Internet was shaped by very specific choices made in technology, policy, and law that encourage innovation and protect free expression. The Internet's attributes aren't immutable; even its open architecture isn't assured. Some governments have enacted policies that directly or indirectly threaten freedom of expression online. CDT has released version 0.5 of "Regardless of Frontiers:" The International Right to Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age, a report that explores how the right to freedom of expression should apply to the Internet. The report explores new challenges (and opportunities) for freedom of expression in the digital age. CDT is releasing version 0.5 as a discussion draft, which we will revise with feedback. We welcome input from all stakeholders.

Privacy Policies Don't Trump Expectation of Privacy

Jim Dempsey argues that online privacy policies, for all their problems, give users a reasonable expectation that their data will not be freely handed over to the government.

CDT Updates Do Not Track Definition

In advance of the upcoming W3C workshop on Do Not Track CDT released an updated version of our definition of the terminology necessary to implement the DNT concept.

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