The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


Dumbest privacy issue of the decade?

Episode 214 of the Cyberlaw Podcast


This episode features a new technology-and-privacy flap: The police finally catch a sadistic serial killer, and the press can't stop whining about DNA privacy. I argue that DNA privacy is in the running for Dumbest Privacy Issue of the Decade, in which it turns out that privacy is all about making sure the police can't use your data to catch killers. Paul Rosenzweig refuses to take the other side of that debate.

Ray Ozzie has released a technical riposte to the condescending Silicon Valley claim that math proves the impossibility of securely accommodating law enforcement access. Paul and I muse on the aftermath, in which Silicon Valley may actually have to try winning the debate rather than claiming that there is none.

Jim Lewis and I note the likelihood that ZTE is contemplating litigation against the US ban on technology sales to the company. What really bothers Jim, though, is the likelihood that the US sanction will accelerate China's move to complete self-sufficiency in the technology sphere. That's something that neither the US government nor US industry is really ready for.

The House intel committee's report on Russia and the election is out. It finds no scandal, other than Russia's shocking attack on our institutions, though it does criticize "ill-advised" action by Trump campaign officials. The minority report says that the investigation should have gone on even longer. Paul and I have different takes on the value of the exercise.

Gen. Paul Nakasone is about to take over at NSA, after a remarkably easy ride to confirmation. Jim Lewis finds comfort and diversion in the effort of privacy campaigners to add some bumps to the general's road.

Finally, Paul and I debate whether Donald J. Trump Jr. committed a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act felony by logging on to an opposition website with "guessed" credentials supplied by Wikileaks. Actually, there isn't much debate about whether that's a crime, but I question whether criminalizing such a trivial violation of network mores raises more questions about the CFAA than about DJT Jr.

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Download the 214th Episode (mp3).

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