Publications and Filings

Letter and Commentary on the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act
March 5, 2015

President Obama's Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act was released in late April. Executive Director Alvaro Bedoya joined leading privacy groups to send a letter to the President outlining their concerns. you can also read his views in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

Executive Director Bedoya warns Federal Trade Commission that existing privacy laws fail to protect so-called “passive” data.
August 15, 2014

Today Alvaro Bedoya, the Center’s Executive Director, filed comments before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging the Commission to redouble enforcement efforts to protect users against the non-consensual collection of their sensitive data. In particular, he explained that due to outdated electronic privacy laws, so-called “passive” or “background” data generated by health and fitness apps and wearable devices may garner little to no privacy protection. He wrote: “In the world of Big Data, the less you know about your data, the fewer privacy protections it receives.”

Prof. Vladeck, Bedoya urge the Dept. of Commerce to support strong consumer controls on data collection.
August 5, 2014

Today, in the first regulatory filing by Center faculty and staff, Professor David Vladeck, Faculty Director, and Executive Director Alvaro Bedoya filed comments to the Department of Commerce, pressing the Department to support strong consumer controls on the collection of personal data – and oppose a de-emphasis on consumer controls apparently backed by a recent Big Data report from the President’s Council on Advisors on Science and Technology. 

Prof. Vladeck and Bedoya explain that the ubiquitous collection of consumer data is far from inevitable, and argue that a de-emphasis on consumer controls may be particularly harmful for traditionally disadvantaged groups – including the poor, racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, LGBT individuals, and the elderly. “Privacy is in many ways a shield for the weak,” Prof. Vladeck and Bedoya wrote. “An exclusive focus on use limitations would take away that shield and replace it with promises.”

Prof. Donohue argues that aspects of certain NSA programs are unconstitutional.
July 29, 2014

Professor Laura Donohue, a Faculty Director of the Center, has published the first exhaustive review of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law underlying the NSA’s so-called PRISM program to collect the content of communications from American Internet companies. Prof. Donohue argues that certain practices instituted under section 702 violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches. The article will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

This is the third in-depth article by Prof. Donohue on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; she has published an in-depth review of section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, the authority underlying the collection of Americans’ call records, as well as a broader article exploring FISA reform.

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