The Volokh Conspiracy

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


A Cyberlaw Podcast—without Stewart Baker at last!

Episode 254 of the Cyberlaw Podcast


You've begged for it in the comments, so here it is. With Stewart Baker off the grid at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, literally, David Kris, Maury Shenk, and Brian Egan take merciless advantage to extol the virtues of data privacy and the European Union.

Maury interviews James Griffiths, a journalist based in Hong Kong and the author of the new book, The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet.

In the news, David and Brian discuss last week's revelation that the NSA is considering whether it will continue to seek renewal of the of the Section 215 "call detail record" program authority when it expires in December. We plug last week's Lawfare podcast in which the national security advisor to House Minority Leader McCarthy made news when he reported that the NSA hasn't been using this program for several months. David waxes poetic on the little-known and little-used "lone wolf" authority, which is also up for renewal this year.

We explore the long lineup of politicians and government officials who are coming up with new proposals to "get tough" on large technology companies. Leading the charge is Senator Warren, who promises to roll out a plan to break up "platform utilities" – basically, large Internet companies that run their own marketplaces – if she is elected president. Not to be outdone, the current chair of the Federal Trade Commission has urged that Congress provide new authorities for the FTC to impose civil enforcement penalties on tech (and presumably other) companies that violate their data privacy commitments. And last – but never least – the French finance minister announced that he will propose a 3% tax on the revenue of the 30 largest Internet businesses in France, most of which are US companies.

David discusses how one technology company is using a more familiar tool – litigation – to fight back against Chinese companies for creating and then selling fake Facebook and Instagram accounts.

In the "motherhood and apple pie" category, Maury explains French President Macron's call for the creation of a "European Agency for the Protection of Democracies" to protect elections against cyberattacks. And Brian covers a recently re-introduced bill, the Cyber Deterrence and Response Act, which would impose sanctions on "all entities and persons responsible or complicit in malicious cyber activities aimed against the United States."

If you are in London this week, you can see James Griffiths during his book tour. On March 13, he will be at the Frontline Club, and on March 14, he will be at Chatham House. You can also see him later this month at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club.

Download the 254th 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!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.