The Volokh Conspiracy

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Twitterlaw and the Khashoggi killing

Episode 236 of the Cyberlaw Podcast


In this week's interview we ask whether the midterm elections are likely to suffer as much foreign hacking and interference as we saw in 2016. The answer, from Christopher Krebs, Under Secretary for National Protection and Programs Directorate (soon to be the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency), is surprisingly comforting, though hardly guaranteed. Briefly, it's beginning to look as though the Russians (and maybe the Iranians) are holding their fire for the main event in 2020.

In the News Roundup, Maury Shenk highlights the role of Twitter, trolls, and Saudi royals in the Khashoggi killing. He also explains the apparently ridiculous result in the EU Android competition matter. It may be a case of Google giving the EU what it asked for – good and hard.

Terry Albury certainly got it good and hard from a federal judge. He was sentenced to four years in prison for leaking classified documents to The Intercept. Jamil Jaffer explains why Albury's claim of being a whistleblower didn't win him much relief. I suggest that maybe the only people willing to read Intercept articles to the end are federal agents trying to find clues to the leakers' identities; whatever they're doing, it's working.

Maury and I marvel over the flood of venture capital money into China – and a potential ebb tide for Chinese money in Silicon Valley.

Jamil explains the latest SEC report flagging the cost of email fraud; nine firms lost $100 million to cyberfraud. And to add insult to injury, the SEC hints broadly that future victims may be tagged for violating SEC accounting standards, which should be sufficient to prevent such fraud.

I point to the ABA's recent ethics opinion mandating breach disclosure to clients – and quite a bit more. Maury instructs me on the question of whether putting names on doorbells violates GDPR. Vienna says yes; Germany, no. Maury is sure the Germans have this right.

Finally, I update listeners on the Equifax data breach engineer who figured out that his company must have been breached and traded on his suspicion. In an act of relative mercy for the clueless engineer, he was fined and sentenced to eight months of home confinement.

Download the 236th Episode (mp3).

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