The Volokh Conspiracy

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Episode 255 of the Cyberlaw Podcast: Russia and China revamp their military technologies


In our interview, Elsa Kania and Sam Bendett explain what China and Russia have learned from the American way of warfighting – and from Russia's success in Syria. The short answer: everything. But instead of leaving us smug, I argue it ought to leave us worried about complacency followed by unpleasant military surprises. Elsa and Sam both try to predict where the surprises might come from. Yogi Berra makes an appearance.

In the News Roundup, David Kris explains the Fourth Circuit's decision to turn a hostile spouse-swap dispute into an invitation to screw up the law of stored electronic communications for a generation.

And in other litigation, a Trump-appointed judge dismisses a lawsuit charging Silicon Valley with unlawfully censoring the right. Nate Jones and I agree that, while the decision is broadly consistent with law, it may spell trouble for Silicon Valley in the long run. That's because it depends on an idiosyncratic DC Court of Appeals interpretation of the District's public accommodation law. I speculate that Alabama or Texas or Mississippi could easily draft a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of viewpoint in public accommodations like,say, Internet platforms.

Nick Weaver and I note the UN report that North Korea has stolen $571 million, much of it in cryptocurrency. I ask whether the US Treasury could seize those ill-gotten bits. Maybe, says Nick, but it would really bollix up the world of cryptocurrency (not that he minds).

I explain that DHS will be rolling out facial scanning technology to a boatload of US airports – and why there's no hidden privacy scandal in the initiative.

And this story kind of makes you wonder about their banks and their chocolate: Nick gloats as Switzerland's proposed Internet voting system follows his predicted path from questionable undertaking to deep, smoking crater.

Elsa Kania and I offer praise for the Navy Secretary's willingness to accept scathing criticism of the Navy's cybersecurity.

And Nick and I close with an effort to draw lessons from the disastrous software and human factor interactions at the heart of the Boeing 737 MAX crashes.

Download the 255th Episode (mp3).

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