By: Jeff Chester | Oct 18 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – October 18, 2017—A number of brands of “smartwatches” intended to help parents monitor and protect young children have major security and privacy flaws which could endanger the children wearing them. A coalition of leading U.S. child advocacy, consumer, and privacy groups sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today, asking the agency to investigate the threat these watches pose to children.
By: Jeff Chester | Sep 23 2017
Released on September 22, 2017 at a political microtargeting conference held in Amsterdam, in response to the recent announcement by Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg on changes to how they conduct political ad campaigns.
By: Jeff Chester | Sep 13 2017
“Marketers. Ready, aim, engage! It is easier than ever to hit the right marketing targets,” explains Equifax about its far-reaching data capabilities that capture, analyze, and sell our information. Equifax’s admission last week about its loss of personal information on 143 million Americans—including Social Security and drivers license numbers—is also a wake-up call about the dramatic loss of our privacy in the digital era.
By: Kathryn Montgomery, Jeff Chester, Katharina Kopp | Aug 29 2017
By: Jeff Chester | Apr 3 2017
President Trump has killed the first real protections for commercial privacy that Americans have online. Phone and cable giants, allied with the GOP Congressional majority, have just voted to overturn the historic consumer-data safeguards adopted last year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). AT&T, Comcast, Verizon—the country’s dominant providers of high speed broadband—along with industry and Congressional GOP allies, intensely opposed the new FCC rule. Why?
By: Jeff Chester | Mar 23 2017
Americans lost a crucial right today as the GOP-controlled Senate voted to overturn the only federal protection that could have protected their privacy online. This is a key victory for lobbyists from the ISP monopolies, such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon. These companies have built a “Big Data" business model to track—and profit from—our every move online. Today, Americans who use personal computers, mobile phones and other online devices are the victims of continuous monitoring of their digital activities.
By: Jeff Chester | Feb 8 2017
Statement of Jeff Chester, Executive DirectorCenter for Digital DemocracyFebruary 7, 2017
By: Jeff Chester | Feb 1 2017
This blog entry by Jeff Chester originally appeared on the Media Policy Blog of the London School of Economics and Political Science here.
By: Jeff Chester | Jan 14 2017
Edith Ramirez brought the FTC into the 21st century. Under her leadership, the agency made it clear that new technologies had to treat consumers fairly, including when it came to protecting their privacy. Through enforcement, litigation, and publicly exposing new threats, Edith Ramirez’s commission has created a unique consumer protection legacy that will have a long-lasting and positive impact. Ramirez’s tenure has also been marked by a strong commitment to protecting economically vulnerable and other at-risk consumers, including those who reflect the country’s diversity.
By: Jeff Chester | Jan 9 2017
The ease of promoting and profiting from fake news, the use of social media to spread disinformation and twist the truth and the ability to microtarget voters on all their devices reveal how political campaigns and special-interest groups are taking full advantage of the “Big Data”-driven digital marketing system that Google and Facebook have helped unleash. Campaigns now have needle-in-the-haystack capabilities, provided by commercial marketing and media companies, to find and motivate an individual voter.
By: Jeff Chester | Oct 22 2016
This proposed deal raises major challenges for consumers, subscribers and competitors. It reflects the “Big Data” and digitally data-driven imperatives that are reshaping the U.S.
By: Jeff Chester | Oct 21 2016
11 organizations write a letter urging Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners to vote next week to pass strong broadband privacy rules and not to yield to industry calls to weaken the current privacy proposal.
October 20, 2016
Re: WC Docket No. 16-106, Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services
By: Jeff Chester | Jul 13 2016
Researchers of the University of Amsterdam’s Institute for Information Law (IViR) have published an independent study today commissioned by BEUC, EDRi, CDD and TACD. The study shows that the European Union (EU) does not sufficiently safeguard citizens' personal data and privacy rights in its trade agreements.
By: Jeff Chester | Jul 7 2016
We the undersigned privacy scholars support the proposal of the Federal Communications Commission to apply and adapt the Communications Act’s Title II consumer protection provisions to broadband internet access services. We commend the Commission’s much-needed efforts to carry out its statutory obligation and to protect the privacy of broadband internet access customers.
By: Jeff Chester | May 18 2016
Katharina Kopp, Ph.D., will join the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) on 6 June 2016 as its deputy director and director of policy. Dr. Kopp comes to CDD with decades of experience as an advocate, scholar, policy analyst, privacy expert, and corporate leader. She will develop and oversee a range of new initiatives at CDD, expanding the scope of its work on the role and impact of “Big Data” in contemporary society. Dr. Kopp will focus particularly on developing new policies to advance individual autonomy and consumer protections, as well as social justice, equity, and human rights.
By: Jeff Chester | Mar 31 2016
Phone and cable ISPs pose a major threat to the privacy of their subscribers and consumers. They have a growing arsenal of “Big Data” capabilities that eavesdrop on their customers—including families. Internet Service Providers are gathering data on what we do and where we go, using sophisticated algorithms and predictive analytics to sell our information to marketers. As CDD documented in a report released last week, ISPs have been on a data bu
By: Jeff Chester | Mar 22 2016
Julie Brill faces a formidable task as she tries to balance what she knows are industry-wide practices that undermine privacy with the intense commercial pressures to financially harvest our data. Whether Julie can successfully act as a one woman privacy truth squad is to early to tell. She recognizes all the ways that companies take advantage of consumers today, including tracking them on every device and wherever they are.
By: Jeff Chester | Oct 6 2015
Today’s historic decision by the European Court of Justice, which overturned the purposely ineffective “Safe Harbor” deal enabling data to flow to the U.S., is very welcome. As one reads the court’s findings, it’s clear that for the EU, fundamental and human rights include the right to have your personal privacy protected. That means from both governmental surveillance (such as the NSA and other intelligence agencies) and also with commercial Internet companies—as Google or Facebook.
By: Jeff Chester | Sep 30 2015
The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the U.S Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) filed comments today in response to the Treasury Department’s request for information (RFI) on “Expanding Access to Credit through Online Marketplace Lending.” Specifically, the department sought public comment on (1) the various business models of and products offered by online marketplace lenders to small businesses and consumers; (2) the potential for online marketplace lending to expand access to credit to historically underserved market segments; and (3) how the financial regulatory framework sho
By: Jeff Chester | Sep 11 2015
CDD has filed an amicus curiae brief in a potentially landmark case now before the Supreme Court—Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins—in which the corporate plaintiff seeks to overturn a decision of the Ninth Circuit Court that Thomas Robins has standing to bring suit against Spokeo (a self-proclaimed “leading people search platform using proprietary technology to organize information into comprehensive yet easy-to-understand online profiles”) for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).