The Volokh Conspiracy

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


"If I save Earth, you're gonna owe me."

Episode 247 of the Cyberlaw Podcast


So says the remarkable Jeff Jonas, CEO of Senzing. And he's got a claim to be doing just that. A data scientist before data science was cool, Jeff has used his technical skills and an intuitive grasp of complex data problems to stop card counters in Las Vegas and terrorists targeting the US, and then to launch an initiative making voter registration more accurate and widespread. Most recently, in the course of an effort to improve maritime security around Singapore, he also found a key to identifying asteroids that are about to collide with each other and head off on a new course (one that might intersect with, well, ours).

The media has been hyping a strikingly bad magistrate judge's opinion giving 5th Amendment protection to biometric phone security. This leads Gus Hurwitz and me to question why Congress ever promoted US magistrates to "magistrate judges" in the first place. We suggest striking the word "judge" from the title given to these Article I judicial aides; call it the Truth in Judging Act.

Congress and the President can't even agree on a compromise that would end the partial government shutdown. So what genius decided that our security from terrorist attacks should depend on Congress and the President agreeing every couple of years on yet another part of our counterterrorism system? Like it or not, though, 2019 will feature another cliffhanger debate over several national security provisions of FISA that are scheduled to come to an end unless renewed. Jamil Jaffer and David Kris talk about the provisions and possible outcomes. I plead for a compromise that takes seriously the Trumpist concern about partisan abuse of the law.

I suspect the government would have imposed serious fines on the owner of EDGAR for enabling a new form of insider trading—if the SEC didn't own EDGAR itself. Jamil and Gus debate the harder question: How can hackers with access to guaranteed market moving info manage to make only $4 million in six months of trading?

The Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel has reversed an Obama-era interpretation limiting the scope of federal criminal laws governing online gambling. David provides the background; I introduce our listeners to the Baptist-bootlegger coalition.

If you would like to hear more from Jeff Jonas and you'll be in London on January 29, be sure to attend his talk, "AI for Entity Resolution," at the SAGE Ocean speaker series. Event details can be found here.

Download the 247th Episode (mp3).

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

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