Free Minds & Free Markets


Mostly law professors, blogging on whatever we please since 2002 · Hosted by The Washington Post, 2014-2017 · Hosted by Reason 2017 · Sometimes contrarian · Often libertarian · Always independent

The scandularity is near!

Episode 205 of the Cyberlaw Podcast

Today's news roundup begins with Maury Shenk and Brian Egan offering their views about the Supreme Court oral argument in the Microsoft Ireland case. We highlight some of the questions that may tip the Justices' hand.

Brian and I dig into the Dems' reply memo on the Carter Page FISA application. I'm mostly unshocked by the outcome of the dueling memos, though I find one sentence of the application utterly implausible. I also foresee a possible merging of the Clinton-Obama Trump-smearing scandal with the Trump-Russia collusion scandal – call it the scandularity!

In other Russia news, the Justice Department is standing up a task force on all things cyber. Jim Lewis and I disagree about whether Russian hacking of the electoral infrastructure is likely to be a serious problem in 2018. We agree that the Twitter bot war on the American body politic will continue, since it seems to be a pretty cheap hobby for Putin's favorite supplier of catered meals. Indeed, he seems to have gotten into the business as a way of squelching online protests that his school lunches were lousy. I suggest that Michelle Obama probably wishes she'd heard about that tactic sooner.

Google has announced an Advanced Protection program for people who think they may be high value targets for government cyberespionage. In a Cyberlaw Podcast first, I offer a product review. Short version: I'm still using it, despite some flaws in what looks like a beta program, but as a supply chain buff, I can't help wondering who the hell Feitian Technologies is and what ties they have to the Chinese government.

March 1 is D-Day for Apple moving the crypto keys for Chinese IPhones' iCloud data to China.

And Keeper continues to pursue its misguided STFU libel suit against Ars Technica. Ars Technica's answering brief is here. While security researchers have been wasting their time on politically correct whining about the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, libel suits are turning into far more effective tools for chilling security research.

Finally, for fans of the podcast in the Washington area, Steptoe is thinking of hiring a part-time intern to handle much of the organizational work associated with the podcast. If you're interested, keep an eye on , which is where we'll post the position if this idea bears fruit.

As always The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Send your questions, suggestions for interview candidates or topics to or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 205th Episode (mp3).

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  • Sarcastr0||

    The FBI brought a FISA request and were denied? That's the real headline!

    I wouldn't play guilt-by-Ukrainian-association of you want to be an ally of Trump...

    And what was the end-game of your Uranium One conspiracy between the six agencies required to sign off on CFIUS requests? Was Russia going to run out of Uranium? Are we going to now? Canada?

  • Sarcastr0||

    You are second-guessing a process that interrogated the effect on our national interest and found the burden insufficient to interfere with the free market.

    Marginal increases in energy prices are not a good enough reason. And Australia may have problems, but you are the first I've heard citing windmills as one of them.

    Your 'IF GLOBAL WARMING WHY COLD' is really dumb.

  • Greg F||

    And Australia may have problems, but you are the first I've heard citing windmills as one of them.

    It is actually South Australia which doesn't have enough capacity when the wind doesn't blow. They have one of the highest electricity rates in the world. If you want high prices go renewable.

  • jph12||

    "And Australia may have problems, but you are the first I've heard citing windmills as one of them."

    I'm curious how much research Sarcastr0 did before dismissing Michael Cook's comments about Australia. It couldn't be very much, because a single google search brings up a wide variety of articles, from a wide variety of sources, discussing that very issue (concentrated, as Greg F notes, in South Australia) including, to be fair, some claiming the issue is overblown.

    I'd be a little embarrassed myself.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Yeah, I'm not going to go down a rabbit-hole about who has the better talking points regarding Australia's use of renewable energy on a thread about Trump's scandals.

    Feel free to ding me for not being sufficiently zealous in my off-topic pedantry (as seems quite common for you) but I'm pretty comfortable waiting for when that's an actual topic to debate it.

  • jph12||

    It's not about who has the better talking points--you denied it was even an issue. That's what I'm dinging you for. You hadn't heard of an issue so you assumed it wasn't real.

    And you are always comfortable with everything you do. It's one of the things that makes you such a special poster. Not the good kind of special, but still special. Your whole act is really dumb.

  • damikesc||

    The FBI brought a FISA request and were denied? That's the real headline!

    Technically it was twice it got denied.

  • Voize of Reazon||

    There does seem to be rather an excess of Uranium One hoopla. Life would be simpler if CFIUS had objected, U1 would have just divested their rather unimportant US extraction rights and the deal would have completed without US scrutiny. Rosatom's priority was to get control of U1's far more significant holdings in Kazakhstan,

  • MonitorsMost||

    What's the source for the assertion that a warrant application was originally denied? I have not seen that prior to now.

  • santamonica811||

    Fortunately for President Trump, there will always be plenty of people willing to whore any intellectual integrity, so his political safety is, I think, ensured.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Batteries: they are a thing.

    You can argue bad policy, but quit your hoax talk.

  • Greg F||

    Batteries: they are a thing.

    So is me flying a helicopter 2 miles to work everyday.

  • TangoDelta||

    Interesting, Google has brought out a way for high value targets to self identify ensuring that the government will do it's best to spy on them. Maybe we should all sign up and send emails to someone deceased to pique their interest.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I trust more governments than I do google.

  • croaker||

    Not a high bar.

  • santamonica811||

    Oh thank God. I was worried that, somehow, the thread would end without some nutjob blaming Obama for the shooting. Because . . . Obama!!!!

  • Krayt||

    He rightly mocks those who bemoan the US government as being as bad as China or Russia in crypto abuse. However this gets at the wrong thing.

    It's fundamental to US government constitutional design to deny government powers those in power can abuse to maintain their power. The 4th Amendment is all about thwarting the king in efforts to muck about in the papers of opponents to tag them with something arrest them if they get uppity.

    It isn't about believing your government bad. It is about denying those powers to begin with as a prophylactic. Anyone thinking this archaic need only view Russia, China, Venezuela, and so on, and listen to the prognostications of 1984, said panopticons now being "executed by steam", in the words of Babbage.


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