TLPC Advocates Before the FCC for Equal Access to Communications and Video Programming

(by Dakotah Hamilton, TLPC Student Attorney)

On June 7th, the TLPC and the Communications and Technology Law Clinic (CTLC) at Georgetown Law filed a comment on behalf of 22 accessibility advocacy and research organizations, including TLPC and CTLC client Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI), in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s public notice to revisit many of its rules under the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). The comment, drafted by Professor Blake E. Reid, TLPC Director, and Professor Laura Moy, CTLC Director, with assistance from TLPC student attorneys Dakotah Hamilton, Rachel Hersch, and Scott Goodstein and CTLC staff attorney Michael Rosenbloom and student attorney Ellen Gardiner, comprehensively reviewed the past decade of FCC proceedings implementing the CVAA as well as some dating back to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, spanning more than two dozen dockets.

The comment identifies numorous specific priorities the FCC should consider for the accessibility of video programming, communications, and hearing device accessibility, including bolstering the availability of interpretation and captioning for video conferencing platforms and expanding captioning requirements for video distributed online. The comment also calls for dedicated inquiries into accessibility barriers facing people who are deaf or hard of hearing and have multiple disabilities, older people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and people who are deaf or hard of hearing and living on rural or tribal lands or in U.S. territories. The comment also urges the Commission to emphasize supervised multistakeholderism, centering the civil rights of people with disabilities, vigorous enforcement, and reporting to Congress.

TLPC Publishes White Paper on 911 and COVID Diagnosis Privacy

In light of the ongoing pandemic, emergency call centers (ECCs) and public safety answering points (PSAPs) are faced with the question of whether to screen callers for COVID-19. The benefits of this screening will protect first responders—but on the other hand, ECC/PSAPs are concerned that screening callers may raise legal issues.

TLPC student attorney Kelsey Fayer drafted a white paper addressing whether ECC/PSAPs need to comply with privacy laws. First, caller screening information, if it is voluntary, likely satisfies relevant compliance requirements. Second, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) likely does not apply to PSAP/ECCs regarding a caller’s COVID-19 status. Finally, PSAP/ECCs should work with local public health authorities to implement privacy best practices. The white paper includes a 50-state chart mapping current PSAP/ECC practices around screening callers and state health privacy laws that may be applicable to PSAP/ECC COVID-19 caller queries.

TLPC Partners with CU Criminal Immigration Clinic to Prepare Report on Protecting Colorado DMV Photos, ICE, and Facial Recognition Tech

(by Conor May, Colorado Law 2L)

This year the TLPC and Colorado Criminal Immigration clinic looked at ways for the State of Colorado to prevent DMV records from being exploited by federal Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). The clinics prepared a report to the Governor’s Office and Colorado DMV that highlights potential vulnerabilities and proposes policies to address those vulnerabilities.

The clinics’ report was sent to the Governor’s Office in March. On May 20th, Governor Polis issued a guidance document to all Colorado executive branch departments and agencies. This guidance on data privacy goes a long way toward addressing the vulernabilities raised in the clinics’ report, by placing restrictions on when state agencies can respond to requests for Personal Identifying Information (PII), which includes licenses and other DMV information.

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TLPC and CIPPIC Samuelson-Glushko Clinics File OPC Comments for Privacy Researchers on the Regulation of Artificial Intelligence

(by Kelsey Fayer, Colorado Law 2L)

Today, the TLPC, in partnership with our sister Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa, filed comments drafted by Prof. Margot Kaminski (Colorado Law) and Prof. Vivek Krishnamurthy (University of Ottowa) on behalf of a coalition of privacy researchers before the
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC).

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TLPC Files Complaint Against Wireless Carriers Over Unauthorized Disclosure and Sale of Customer Location Information

Today, New America’s Open Technology Institute, the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, and Free Press, with the assistance of the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic at Colorado Law, including Colorado Law 2L student attorneys Nathan Bartell and Zachary DeFelice, filed a complaint at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the sale and disclosure of customer location information by all four major U.S. wireless carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

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