An (almost) COVID-19-free episode

Episode 306 of the Cyberlaw Podcast

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If your podcast feed has suddenly become a steady diet of more or less the same COVID-19 stories, here's a chance to listen to cyber experts talk about something they know – cyberlaw. Our interview is with Elsa Kania, adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and one of the country's most prolific students of China, technology, and national security. We talk about the relative strengths and weaknesses of the artificial intelligence ecosystems in the two countries.

In the news, Maury Shenk and Mark MacCarthy describe the growing field of censorship-as-a-service and the competition between US and Chinese vendors.

Elsa and I unpack the report of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. Bottom line: The report is ambitious but constrained by political reality. And the most striking political reality is that there hasn't been a better time in 25 years to propose cybersecurity regulation and liability for the tech sector. Seizing the Zeitgeist, the report offers at least a dozen such proposals.

Nick Weaver explains the joys of trojanizing the trojanizers, and we debate whether that is fourth-party or fifth-party intelligence collection.

In a shameful dereliction, Congress has let important FISA authorities lapse, but perhaps only for a day or two (depending on the president's temperature when the reauthorization bill reaches his desk). The reauthorization bill isn't good for our security, but it tries to avoid crippling intelligence collection, mostly hanging new ornaments on the existing FISA Christmas tree.

Mark covers a Swedish ruling that deserves to be forgotten a lot more than the crimes and embarrassments protected by the "right to be forgotten." This decision fines Google for failing to show sufficient zeal in covering up Sweden's censorship orders.

Nick explains how Microsoft finds itself taking down an international botnet instead of leaving the job to the world's governments.

Maury reports that the federal trial of a Russian hacker is exposing seamy ties between the FSB and criminal Russian hackers. Now we know why Russia fought so hard to head off extradition of the Russian hacker to the US.

Elsa helps me through recent claims that US chip makers face long-term damage from the US-China trade fight. That much is obvious to all; less obvious is what the US can do to avoid it.

Nick and I talk about Facebook's suit against NSO Group. I claim that NSO won this round in court but lost in the media, which has finally found a company it hates more than Facebook. Nick thinks Facebook is quite happy to swap a default judgment for a chance at discovery.

In other quick hits, DOD is wisely seeking a quick do-over in the cloud computing litigation involving AWS and Microsoft. House and Senate committees have now okayed a bill to give CISA much-needed and suprisingly uncontroversial subpoena authority to identify at-risk Internet users. Rebooting my "Privacy Kills" series, I break the injunction against COVID-19 news to point out that dumb privacy laws likely delayed for weeks discovery of how widespread COVID-19 was in Seattle. And Joshua Schulte's trial ends in a hung jury; I ask where the juicy post-trial jury interviews are.

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  1. In a shameful dereliction, Congress has let important FISA authorities lapse, but perhaps only for a day or two (depending on the president’s temperature when the reauthorization bill reaches his desk). The reauthorization bill isn’t good for our security, but it tries to avoid crippling intelligence collection, mostly hanging new ornaments on the existing FISA Christmas tree.

    No, the shameful part here is that the FISA Court was not abolished. These judges should hang their heads in collective shame. They went along with this abhorrent structure, and yet never stopped to ask questions about why there was such a high percentage of warrants granted.

    I don’t understand why Chief Justice Roberts is not all over this.

    1. No, not abolished; yes, strengthened.

      The intel/law enforcement agencies (e.g. FBI, NSA, etc.) are immensely powerful.

      We absolutely need the legislative and judicial oversight (i.e. checks and balances), of these executive agencies.

      Yes, FISA didn’t operate as advertised.

      But fix it – don’t can it.

      1. Sorry….but no. We tried it your way. Look what happened. And BTW, the FBI should be defunded to a point just short of complete dismantlement.

        There is no mending it, there is only ending it. So abolish it.

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