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Leslie Harris
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Leslie Harris is the President and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology. Ms. Harris is responsible for the overall vision, direction and management of the organization and serves as the organization's chief spokesperson. Since joining CDT, she has been involved with a wide range of issues related to civil liberties and the Internet, including, government data- mining for counterintelligence, government secrecy, privacy, global Internet freedom, intellectual property, data security and Internet censorship.

Ms. Harris has over two decades of experience as a civil liberties, technology and Internet lawyer, public policy advocate and strategist in Washington. She testifies before Congress on issues related to technology, the Internet and civil liberties and writes, speaks on Internet issues and is regular contributor to several online publications and blogs.

Prior to joining CDT, Ms. Harris was the founder and president of Leslie Harris & Associates, a public policy a firm committed to harnessing the power of new information technologies for public good. She has played a lead role in several key pieces of Internet-related legislation, including E-rate, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and the Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization Act. She was also a key strategist and spokesperson in the effort to defeat the Communications Decency Act.

Prior to establishing Leslie Harris & Associates, Ms. Harris served in senior leadership positions in two prominent civil liberties organizations, People for the American Way, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Entries by Leslie Harris

Restoring the Balance Between Privacy and Security

(2) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 11:40 AM

Twelve years after 9/11, One World Trade Center recently became the tallest building in America. Its construction, while not without controversy, is the product of open discussion, criticism and compromise among architects, security personnel, engineers, political leaders, 9/11 families and citizens. In the same time, another edifice has arisen from...

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What Monitoring Your Phone Records Has to Do With Fighting Terrorism

(16) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 4:06 PM

We now all know that the call records of millions of Americans are handed over to the government on an ongoing basis by the nation's phone providers under a secret order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). This "metadata" -- which includes who called who and when,...

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The Six Vital Questions About NSA Surveillance

(76) Comments | Posted June 9, 2013 | 10:00 AM

The startling revelations about NSA surveillance this week -- from the collection of phone records to an Internet collection program named "PRISM' -- have brought a firestorm of media attention, but there are few solid answers about how these programs operate, how our personal information is being used or indeed,...

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How to Fix the EU's 'Right to Be Forgotten'

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 3:18 PM

Co-authored by Jens-Henrik Jeppesen, CDT Director of European Affairs

It has been more than a year since the European Union Data Protection Regulation (DPR) was unveiled, including a controversial proposal known as the "Right to Be Forgotten" (RTBF). While the proposal is intended to give Internet users more...

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CISPA Changes Show Power of Internet Advocacy

(1) Comments | Posted April 28, 2013 | 9:23 PM

Last week CISPA, the cybersecurity information-sharing bill, passed the House. Though fundamentally flawed, the bill is very different from when it passed the House a year ago, demonstrating the power of a growing Internet advocacy community that sometimes underestimates its own influence. Two game-changing achievements stand out.

When CISPA was...

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Not All UN Bodies Are Trying to 'Take Over' the Internet: Multistakeholder Governance Shines at UNESCO

(1) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 4:12 PM

Last December's World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), hosted by the ITU in Dubai, revealed a broad spectrum of views about the future of the Internet. Many commentators have focused on the binary outcome: more than 50 countries, including the U.S. and the EU nations, did not sign the treaty,...

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Do You Know Who's Doing What With Your Data Day

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 10:01 AM

You've remembered to schedule the kids' dentist appointments and the car inspection is up to date, but what about your personal information? If you are like most people, you are probably overdue for a data privacy tune-up and Data Privacy Day, which took place yesterday, is as good...

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The Bizarre, Belated Assault on 'Do Not Track'

(3) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 1:22 PM

For nearly two years now, industry and advocates have been discussing how to implement "Do Not Track" -- a setting in browsers that would allow companies to serve ads while limiting the collection of personal information about users. This week, dozens of ad industry representatives, browser makers, and consumer advocates...

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Keep Partisan Politics Out of Internet Policy

(3) Comments | Posted August 13, 2012 | 4:49 PM

Is there anything to be gained by interjecting the strangling kudzu of partisan politics into Internet policy? I strongly doubt it and that's why I am frankly mystified by the Competitive Enterprise Institute's (CEI) Fred Campbell's bombastic and highly partisan July 26 opinion piece in the Atlantic calling...

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A League of Our Own

(1) Comments | Posted July 26, 2012 | 3:07 PM

After the historic SOPA-PIPA Internet blackout last winter, there was some question about whether that epic moment was the beginning of a sustained online movement for Internet freedom. In the last few months the answer is beginning to emerge.

The diverse set of groups that participated in SOPA have...

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Internet Governance, or Just Governing the Internet?

(0) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 11:41 AM

Yes, yes, got it: There is no International Telecommunications Union (ITU) plot to take over the Internet.

Yet, that is the message from the ITU Secretary General in a carefully worded campaign to tamp down concerns that renegotiation of the ITU's underlying treaty may provide an opportunity for mischief...

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From a Moment to a Movement: Sustaining the Internet's New Power

(1) Comments | Posted June 12, 2012 | 5:17 PM

These are the prepared remarks of Leslie Harris' speech; text may differ slightly from remarks as delivered. This speech was the opening keynote for Personal Democracy Forum 2012.]

So here's a story. Maybe you've heard it:

The Internet is threatened by a shortsighted attempt by Congress to pass...

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Warrant Requirement Past Due for Cell Phone Tracking

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2012 | 10:47 AM

The Constitution provides a clear and simple rule for any time the government wants to search someone: it has to get a warrant, except in cases of emergency. However, the ACLU has documented how police across the U.S. are sidestepping that requirement when tracking people's location using their cell phones.

...
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NSA's Cyber Power Grab

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2012 | 4:45 PM

As Congress moves to take up the complex issues of cybersecurity, the National Security Agency is gaining traction in its aggressive campaign to secure statutory authority to monitor private computer networks in real time to prevent cyber attacks.

The Washington Post reports, that the NSA's quest to lead...

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China as Poster Boy for IP Protection?

(9) Comments | Posted December 9, 2011 | 11:30 AM

In the middle of one of the most contentious debates in Congress about intellectual property in recent memory, the MPAA appears to have finally found an analogy that it believes will persuade skeptics to support slash-and-burn piracy bills now before Congress: Google in China.

On Thursday, Variety

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Not Without A Warrant

(3) Comments | Posted September 27, 2011 | 3:58 PM

Today a remarkable "left/right" coalition that includes ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, TechFreedom, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and my own organization, the Center for Democracy & Technology, has launched a campaign urging Congress to require warrants when the...

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Knocking the Rust off of the Anti-Hack Act

(1) Comments | Posted August 4, 2011 | 5:54 PM

In the wake of a number of high-profile computer invasions, Congress is looking to fight back against malicious hackers. The Senate Judiciary Committee recently announced hearings identifying its preferred legislative vehicle in that race: the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and the Obama...

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Of Sense and Sensenbrenner

(0) Comments | Posted July 13, 2011 | 2:06 PM

It's always refreshing when a Member of Congress uses point-blank declarative statements that leave little room for misinterpretation. Such was the case today when Rep. James Sensenbrenner, (R-WI), opened a hearing on a bill that would require major ISPs, private and non-profit companies, libraries, coffee shops and diners...

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Don't Tread on My Cloud

(3) Comments | Posted June 20, 2011 | 12:41 PM

When Apple announced its iCloud service, commentators spilled much ink wondering if the data of users would be safe from hackers. But an equally important angle to the story was ignored: whether the data in the cloud has enough legal protection to keep it from the prying eyes of the...

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Cybersecurity: Lots of Answers, Now Let's Ask the Right Questions

(1) Comments | Posted May 25, 2011 | 9:57 AM

Government and private institutions from the Pentagon to Wall Street regularly face significant threats from unseen and unknown assailants in cyberspace -- from casual hackers to nation-state actors. The bipartisan desire in Washington to craft a national cybersecurity plan to address this broad range of threats has led to a...

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