November 9, Washington, DC - Deven McGraw will testify at a Privacy, Technology and the Law Subcommittee hearing on "Your Health and Your Privacy: Protecting Health Information in a Digital World."
November 11, Cambridge, Massachusetts - Harley Geiger will speak on a panel at Harvard Law School's Entertainment Law Symposium on Entertainment in the Digital Age
Today, the U.S. Supreme Curt hears what could be one of the major Fourth Amendment cases of the decade, concerning whether the police can track a person 24/7 using a GPS device without first obtaining a warrant from a judge. CDT filed an amicus brief in the case. In other developments, CDT is warning that a copyright protection bill introduced in the House, while aimed at a serious problem, is dangerously overbroad, potentially creating grave risks for any website that allows users to post content. Finally, with the FCC's Internet neutrality rules set to go into effect on November 20 and the Senate preparing to vote as soon as this week on whether to block them, we addressed some of the hyperbole regarding what the rules actually do.
Supreme Court to Consider Technology's Impact on Privacy
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral argument in a case that will help determine whether technology's advance will be allowed to erode Fourth Amendment rights. At issue in U.S. v. Jones is whether the government can plant a GPS device on a person's car and track that person's movements without a warrant. CDT filed an amicus brief in the case (written by leading Supreme Court litigator Andy Pincus of Mayer Brown) that focuses on the technology of GPS and how it interfaces with existing precedents. Explaining that GPS technology is fundamentally different from the "bumper beepers" whose use the Supreme Court ruled in 1983 was not covered by the Constitution's search and seizure clause, we urge the Court to recognize that the average person is reasonable in expecting not to be tracked surreptitiously by a system of satellites maintained by the U.S. military.
Anti-Piracy Legislation Targets Internet Intermediaries
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has introduced a bill aimed at fighting piracy on the Internet that, if it became law, would seriously chill legitimate online communications tools and future online innovation. CDT, which opposes copyright piracy, previously warned of the dangers of a Senate bill that similarly seeks to thwart online infringement. The House bill includes the flaws of the Senate bill and amplifies them. It appears to impose sweeping new responsibilities on websites offering legitimate online services, giving rights holders new powers to cut off the financial lifeblood of any website or online service that the rights holder believes isn't doing enough to monitor copyright infringement.
Mythbusting the Criticism of FCC Net Neutrality Rules
The Federal Communications Commission decision in December of last year to adopt Internet openness rules has been the subject of heated rhetoric. Those rules are now set to go into effect on November 20. Opponents hoping to block the rules are pushing for a key vote in the Senate as early as this week using a rarely employed statute that enables Congress to overturn specific agency decisions. With that in mind, CDT walks through some of the myths about the FCC rules and finds that, far from being radical, the rules are quite moderate and leave the industry ample flexibility and incentives to invest and innovate.
In comments on a proposed rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to set basic requirements for health insurance exchanges, CDT noted that HHS had paid some attention to privacy and security concerns, but we offered several recommendations for improving the rule.
Ten years ago, CDT began participating in Internet standardization efforts based on our view that policy implications were inherent in design decisions about the protocols that underlie the Internet. As part of our ongoing participation in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) -- the home of protocols such as IP and HTTP -- we are working with the Internet community on guidance for the developers of Internet protocols to help them expressly consider privacy in their design processes.
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