The Volokh Conspiracy

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

Volokh Conspiracy

Ministry of Silly Talk

Episode 239 of the Cyberlaw Podcast


Today's interview is a deep (and long – about an hour) dive into new investment review regulations for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). It's excerpted from an ABA panel discussion on the topic, featuring: Tom Feddo, who currently oversees CFIUS; Aimen Mir, who used to oversee CFIUS; Sanchi Jayaram, who is in charge of the Justice Department's CFIUS and Team Telecom work; David Fagan, a noted CFIUS practitioner; and me as moderator. It turns out the new CFIUS law may be the most innovative – and sweeping – piece of legislation on national security in years.

In the news, it's time for a Cyberlaw Podcast victory lap, as our bold election-eve prediction that foreign governments would not successfully hack the election seems to hold up well, despite laughable Internet Research Agency claims in a new meta-trolling propaganda campaign.

I note that challenges to FISA are increasing as it starts to play a role in more criminal cases. I ask David Kris whether Bob Mueller took unwise risks with intelligence equities when he charged a Russian company with criminal election trolling, since that company is now seeking discovery of intelligence intercepts.

Dr. Megan Reiss notes that China is making what might be called great strides in "gait recognition" software to supplement face recognition, taking what looks like a global lead in the technology. This reminds me that fifteen years ago, when DARPA was researching gait recognition for terrorist identification, the left/lib NGOs got Congress to kill funding by lampooning what they called "a Monty Python-esque 'Ministry of Silly Walks.'" Not so funny now, is it guys? Especially in light of evidence that China is exporting its cyber surveillance tech to Africa.

How does China do it? According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, with plenty of help from the universities of the English-speaking world. Apparently the People's Liberation Army has been sending its scientists to the West under light cover to study cutting edge defense tech.

Nate Jones and I examine the latest chapters in the now-encyclopedic tale of Silicon Valley v. Conservatives. We take a look at a Trump immigration campaign ad that Facebook and broadcast media (Fox included) refused to run. Gab is back, but just by the skin of its teeth. Meanwhile, the pitchforks and torches are being mustered for LinkedIn, which apparently hasn't been sufficiently cowed by lefty censors. And Facebook's effort to suppress Alex Jones's InfoWars site is running into trouble.

Megan and I talk about the prospect that Iran is getting ready to launch cyberattacks on the US and Israel.

Nate covers the collapse of IronChat security as Dutch police managed to decrypt 258,000 messages in the app. Maybe spurred by my taunting, Edward Snowden denies that he ever endorsed the product, notwithstanding the claim on IronChat's website. (My tweet on same: "Hey, @Snowden, IronChat sold secure phones at exorbitant prices because of your endorsement.")

Pakistan says "almost all" its banks have been hacked. Wouldn't it be ironic if North Korea was buying nuclear and missile technology from Pakistan with money stolen from Pakistani banks?

Download the 239th Episode (mp3).

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Pocket Casts, Google Play, or our RSS feed!

As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with Stewart on social media: @stewartbaker on Twitter and on LinkedIn. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to Remember: If your suggested interviewee appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!