The Volokh Conspiracy

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Chip Wars

Episode 426 of the Cyberlaw Podcast


David Kris opens this episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast by laying out some of the massive disruption that the Biden Administration has kicked off in China's semiconductor industry – and among its Western suppliers. The reverberations of the administration's new measures will be felt for years, and the Chinese government's response, not to mention the ultimate consequences, remains uncertain.

Richard Stiennon, our industry analyst, gives us an overview of the cybersecurity market, where tech and cyber companies have taken a beating but cybersecurity startups continue to gain funding.

Mark MacCarthy reviews the industry from the viewpoint of the trustbusters. Google is facing what looks like a serious adtech platform challenge from many directions – the EU, the Justice Department, and several states. Facebook, meanwhile, is lucky to be a target of the Federal Trade Commission, which rather embarrassingly had to withdraw claims that Facebook's acquisition of Within would remove an actual (as opposed to a hypothetical) competitor from the market. No one seems to have challenged Google's acquisition of Mandiant, meanwhile. Richard suspects that is because Google is not likely to do anything much with the company.

David walks us through the new White House national security strategy – and puts it in historical context.

Mark and I cross swords over PayPal's determination to take my money for saying things Paypal doesn't like. Visa and Mastercard are less upfront about their willingness to boycott businesses they consider beyond the pale, but all money transfer companies have rules of this kind, he says. We end up agreeing that transparency, the measure usually recommended for platform speech suppression, makes sense for Paypal and its ilk, especially since they're already subject to extensive government regulation.

Richard and I dive into the market for identity security. It's hot, thanks to zero trust computing. Thoma Bravo is leading a rollup of identity companies. I predict security troubles ahead for the merged portfolio.

In updates and quick hits:

Download the 426th Episode (mp3)

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