The Volokh Conspiracy

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The "Right to be Forgotten" doubles back and shoots the shark

Episode 290 of the Cyberlaw Podcast


This Week in the Great Decoupling: The Commerce Department has rolled out proposed telecom and supply chain security rules that are aimed at but never once mention China. Acually, what the Department rolled out was more a sketch of its preliminary thinking about proposed rules. Brian Egan and I tackle the substance and history of the proposal and conclude that policymakers are still fighting each other about the meaning of a policy they've already announced.

And to show that decoupling can go both ways, a US-based chip-tech group is moving to Switzerland to reassure its Chinese participants. Nick Weaver and I conclude that there's a little less here than Reuters seems to think.

Mark MacCarthy tells us that reports of UChicago weather turning sunny and warm for hipster antitrust are probably overdone. Even so, Silicon Valley should be at least a little nervous that Chicago School enforcers are taking a hard look at personal data and free services as sources of anti-competitive conduct.

Mark highlights my favorite story of the week, in which the Right to be Forgotten discredits itself in, where else, Germany. Turns out that you can kill two people and wound a third on a yacht in the Atlantic, get convicted, serve 20 years, and then demand that everybody just forget it happened. The doctrine hasn't just jumped the shark. It's doubled back and put a couple of bullets in the poor shark for good measure.

Nick explains why NSA is so worried about TLS inspection. And delivers a rant on the bad cybersecurity software that makes NSA's worries so plausible.

It's been a bad week for TikTok, which was caught blocking an American Muslim teen who posted about Uighurs in China and offered an explanation that was believable only because US social media companies have offered explanations for their content moderation that were even less credible. I suggest that all the criticism will just lead to social media dreaming up more and sneakier ways to downgrade disfavored content without getting caught. Brian tells us how the flap might affect TikTok's pending CFIUS negotiation.

Nick ladles out abuse for the bozo who thought it was a good idea to offer Kim Jong Un's cyber bank robbers advice on using cryptocurrency to avoid sanctions. Brian points out that the prosecution will have to tiptoe past the First Amendment.

Senate Democrats have introduced the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act, an online privacy bill with an unfortunate acronym (think fossilized dinosaur poop). Mark and I conclude that the bill is a sign that Washington isn't going to do privacy before 2021.

Who can resist GPS crop circle spoofing by sand pirates? Not Nick. Or me. Arrrr.

I update our story on DHS's CISA, which has now issued in draft its binding operational directive on vulnerability disclosure policies for federal agencies. It's taking comments on GitHub; Nick approves.

And in quick hits: The death of the Hippie Internet, part 734: Apple changes its map to show Crimea as Russian, but only for Russians. And part 735: Facebook accepts "fake news" correction notice from the Singapore government. Our own Paul Rosenzweig will be an expert witness in the government's prosecution of the Vault 7 leaker;. And Apple's bad IT cost it $467,000 for sanctions violations; I ask whether we should be blaming Scooby-Doo for the error.

Join Steptoe for a complimentary webinar on Tuesday, December 10. We'll be talking about the impacts on retailers of the newly implemented California Consumer Privacy Act and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation. This is a fast-moving area of the law; we can keep you up to date. You can find out more and register here.

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