The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
We could not avoid President Biden's trip to Europe this week. He made news (and perhaps a little progress) on cybersecurity at every stop. Nick Weaver and I dig into the President's consultations with Vladimir Putin, which featured veiled threats and a modest agreement on some sort of continuing consultations on protecting critical infrastructure. Jordan Schneider sums up the G7 and NATO statements aligning with U.S. criticisms of China. And our newest contributor, Michael Ellis, critiques the EU-U.S. consultations on technology, which featured a complete lack of U.S. resolve in seeking an outcome on transatlantic data flows that would preserve US intelligence capabilities.
Michael also recaps the latest fallout from the Colonial Pipeline ransomware shutdown – new regulatory initiatives from TSA and a lot of bipartisan regulatory proposals in Congress. He's not as supportive as I am. In that context, I explain the very unusual (or, maybe, all too usual) meaning given to "bipartisanship" on Capitol Hill.
Nick is not exactly mourning the multiple hits now being suffered by ransomware insurers, from unexpected losses to the ultimate in concentrated loss – gangs that hack the insurer first and then systematically extort all its ransomware insurance customers.
Jordan sums up China's new data security law. He suggests that, despite Western reporting, which emphasizes a "government control of data" narrative, the motive for the law may be closer to the motive for data protection laws in the West – consumer suspicion over how private data is being used. I'm less convinced, but we have a good discussion of how bureaucratic imperatives and bureaucratic competition work in the Peoples Republic of China.
Michael and Nick dig into the White Paper on FISA applications published by Adam Klein, outgoing chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Notably, to my mind, the White Paper doesn't support the Justice Inspector General's suggestion that the FISA process is riddled with error. The paper does call urgently for renewal of the expired FISA section 215 authority, and it suggests several constructive changes to the FISA paperwork flow.
In quick hits, Michael brings us up to date on the FCC's contribution to U.S. decoupling from China: a unanimous vote to exclude Chinese companies from the U.S. telecom infrastructure and a Fifth Circuit decision upholding the FCC's exclusion of Chinese companies from federal subsidies for U.S. telecom carriers. Finally, Jordan reminds us just how much progress China has made in exploring space.
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