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Digital Bill of Rights - May 2016

Digital Bill of Rights - May 2016

Digital Bill of Rights

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Blog

Regulatory Agencies Exploit Unintended Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Regulatory agencies have entered the space of copyright law and have tipped the balance of the intellectual property system. Now, it is somehow unclear that agency regulations designed to protect health, safety, and the environment have absolutely nothing to do with copyright law. As with many threats to the balance of intellectual property, Section 1201 is responsible for tipping the scale.

07/14/2016
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Blog

Ruling Celebrated as Fourth Amendment Victory Leaves Unanswered Questions

A federal judge in New York ruled for the first time on Tuesday that the use of a surveillance device to capture cell phone location information constitutes a warrantless search. In the case, Lambis v. United States, government officials used a stingray device to track a drug suspect. Stingrays, also known as “cell site simulators,” force cell phones in the area to transmit signals that pinpoint the user’s location through cell site location information, or CSLI data.

07/13/2016
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Blog

If You Build the Blockchain, Regulators Will Come

The hardest part of drafting any new regulation is establishing a definition. In fact, most of the policy work is in the definition and there are alarmingly few policy considerations after something is defined as a covered entity. The definition of cryptocurrency has already proved problematic for regulators. Essentially, to commodities regulators, virtual currency is a commodity. For bank regulators, it is a bank. For securities regulators, it is a security. For those who regulate money transmitters, it is a money transmitter. For the purpose of property taxes, it is a property. Everyone wants a stake in the new world of virtual currency.

07/12/2016
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Blog

A Hidden Threat to Online Freedom: The Lost Balance of Fair Use and Intellectual Property

The current imbalance of our intellectual property system allows copyright law to strangle free speech and innovation. Ideally, the intellectual property system would strike a balance between the rights of the intellectual owner and those of consumer. Intended to support the property’s creator, copyright laws can promote fair compensation and allow for the continued creation of content. At the same time, intellectual property systems are designed so that after the creator is paid after the work enters the public domain and aids in the creation of new works. This balanced is threatened by the misuse and misunderstanding of the roles of copyright and fair use.

07/08/2016
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Blog

Congress Must Shut the Backdoor on Section 702 Surveillance

The fight over NSA surveillance is about to heat up again. This week, the House will consider a measure that would require the NSA and other government agencies to follow due process and obtain a warrant to collect the communications of American citizens. Through an amendment to H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2017, the House could defund warrantless government searches of the database of information collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

06/15/2016
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Blog

Net Neutrality Ruling: A Blow to Internet Freedom

In a blow to Internet freedom, a federal appeals court has given a green light to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Open Internet Order, a plan to impose net neutrality rules on the Internet. Most disturbingly, the ruling yesterday by a 3-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit affirmed the basis for the Order, the FCC's determination that it can apply utility-style regulations – intended for telephone companies under the Communications Act of 1934 – to land-based and wireless Internet service providers (ISP). In one of the most egregious instances of overreaching by federal agencies under the Obama Administration, the FCC used the determination to grant itself sweeping power to regulate the Internet, opening the door to a plethora of burdensome Internet regulations.

06/15/2016
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Blog

Letter to FCC Calls for Transparency of Zero-Rating Plans

In a Tuesday morning letter to the Federal Trade Commission, a group of tech companies and advocates including the Center for Media Justice, Yelp, Pinterest, and Kickstarter have expressed concerned over the FCC’s application of net neutrality rules to zero-rating plans.

05/24/2016
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Blog

A Digital Bill of Rights—It’s Time

In 1995, the Internet began, in earnest, as a commercial endeavor. Since that time, its growth has been explosive. Starting with only 16 million users that first year, the Internet now has over 3.4 billion users today—almost half the world’s population.

05/16/2016
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Blog

With Unanimous Passage through the House, the Email Privacy Act will Modernize Online Data Privacy

Back in the 1980s, everyone was walking around with their perms and mullets, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson were playing sold out concerts, and people still couldn’t believe that Darth Vader was Luke’s father (spoilers). Clearly, things have changed a lot since then, yet, curiously, privacy standards regarding emails have not. While email certainly wasn’t a dominant form of communication back in the 80’s, the computer revolution that our society has undergone makes online data and information more valuable than ever. It’s time for our privacy standards, then, to reflect the new and ever-more-digitized world we live in.

04/28/2016
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Press Release

FreedomWorks Backs the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act

Following the markup of Rep. Peter Roskam’s (R-Ill.) Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act (H.R. 5053) in the House Ways and Means Committee, FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon commented:

04/28/2016

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