The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
The backlash against Big Tech dominates this episode, as we cover new regulatory initiatives in the US, EU, Israel, Russia, and China. The misbegotten link tax and upload filter provisions of the EU copyright directive have survived the convoluted EU legislative gantlet. My prediction: the link tax will fail because Google wants it to fail, but the upload filter will succeed because Google wants YouTube's competitors to fail.
Rumors are flying that the FTC and Facebook will agree on a billion-dollar-plus fine on the company for failure to adhere to its consent decree. My guess? This is not so much about law as about the climate of hostility around the company since it took the blame for Trump's election.
And, in yet another attack on Big Tech, the EU is targeting Google and Amazon for unfair practices as sales platforms. Uncharacteristically, I refuse to criticize the EU over this policy.
Artificial intelligence is so overworked a tech theme that it has even attracted the attention of the White House and DOD. We ask a new contributor, Jessica "Zhanna" Malekos Smith, to walk us through the President's Executive Order on AI. I complain that it's a cookie-cutter order that could as easily apply to alien abductions. DOD's AI strategy, in contrast, is somewhat more substantive.
If you can't beat 'em, ban 'em. Instead of regulating Big Tech, Russia is looking to take its own Internet offline in an emergency. The real question is whether Russia is planning to cause the emergency it's protecting itself against. If so, the West is profoundly unready.
China's Ministry of Public Security is now authorized to conduct no-notice penetration testing of Internet businesses operating in China. I must say, it was nice of them to offer the service in beta to OPM, Anthem, and Equifax. Speaking of which, this mayspell (more) trouble for Western firms doing business in China.
Brian touches on Treasury's new sanctions against Iranian organizations for supporting intelligence and cyber operations targeting US persons. It turns out that the hackers had help – and that there is no ideology so loathsome it can't win converts among Americans.
This Week in Old Guys You Shouldn't Mess With: Nate reveals how 94-year-old William H. Webster helped take down a Jamaican scam artist. Of course, if he was any younger, he probably wouldn't have picked up when the landline rang.
Our colleagues Nate Jones and David Kris have launched the Culper Partners Rule of Law Series. Be sure to listen as episodes are released through Lawfare.
Do you have policy ideas for how to improve cybercrime enforcement? Our friends at Third Way and the Journal of National Security Law & Policy are accepting proposals for their upcoming Cyber Enforcement Symposium. You can find the call for papers here.
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 CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com. Remember: If your suggested guest appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!
The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.