Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast

Our guest for episode 77 is Bruce Andrews, the deputy secretary of the Commerce Department. Alan Cohn and I pepper Bruce with questions about export controls on cybersecurity technology, stopping commercial cyberespionage, the future of the NIST cybersecurity framework, and how we can get on future cybersecurity trade missions, among other things.

In the news roundup, Alan and I puzzle over the administration’s reluctance to blame China for its hacks of US agencies.

The furor over cybersecurity export controls continues unabated, with a couple of hundred hostile comments filed and Congress beginning to stir. Alan Cohn fills us in.

The UK high court ruling on data retention makes history but maybe only the most evanescent of law. Alan and I discuss whether the ruling will resemble Marbury v. Madison in more ways than one.

France finalizes expansion of surveillance. Bush administration figures come out against back doors. Cyberweek begins and, the cyber left hopes, ends without progress on CISA.

This Week in Prurient Cybersecurity: The first Ashley Madison subscriber is outed. And he’s Canadian. Looks like the nights really are longer up there. Ottawa apparently leads the world in percentage of would-be adulterers, followed by Washington, DC. No further comment seems necessary.

And Bloomberg says that the Chinese attempt to build a database on Americans didn’t begin with OPM or Anthem, but with the compromise of travel databases two years ago.

This time, Alan hints, the FTC may throw away the key, as it once again takes action against LifeLock. And the Seventh Circuit wades into the debate over how much harm a data breach plaintiff must suffer to have standing to sue.

 

The Cyberlaw Podcast is now open to feedback.  Send your questions, suggestions for interview candidates, or topics to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com.  If you’d like to leave a message by phone, contact us at +1 202 862 5785.

Direct download: Podcast_77.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:37pm EST

Episode 76 of the podcast features the power couple of privacy and cybersecurity, Peter Swire and Annie Antón, both professors at Georgia Institute of Technology. I question them on topics from the USA FREEDOM Act to the enduring gulf between writing law and writing code. 

In the news roundup, as our listeners have come to expect, we do indeed return to our recurring feature, This Week in Prurient Cybersecurity, with a riff on the Ashley Madison hack. But you’ll have to wait until the end, when we’re loosened up. 

We begin more soberly, with Jason Weinstein and Michael Vatis covering the courts’ mopping up after passage of the USA FREEDOM Act. The DC Circuit has received supplemental briefs on Section 215, and the ACLU is leading the hopeless charge against the 215 program in the Second Circuit.

The Hacking Team doxxing draws attention to the risk involved in hiring hackers. When they’re disgruntled, they don’t just slam the door on the way out. Still, Alan Cohn and I can’t help but be fascinated by the Hacking Team proposal to use drones to hover over the target, intercepting his Wi-Fi connection.

In regulatory news, Alan Cohn and Jason Weinstein discuss the FERC’s revisions to the CIP cybersecurity requirements, with a focus on supply chain practices, and a Boston hospital’s settlement of HIPAA charges, prompting me to ask whether HHS’s Office of Civil Rights is the most hypocritically aggressive privacy regulator in government.

Russia’s Right to Be Forgotten law is signed, after further tweaks. And Google announces that it has officially tipped more than one million links into the dustbin of history.

I respond to listener feedback by walking back my mockery of Tony Scott’s “TLS Everywhere” initiative, noting that it might have some modest security benefits after all. Instead of “privacy theater” perhaps I should have called it a “privacy skit.” And as attribution gets better, so does the temptation to fly false flags. It looks as though the Russians will pioneer this particular development, attacking US sites under the nom de guerre of the Cyber Caliphate. And the US government response to the Russian attacks? A predictable silence.

 

As always, send your questions and suggestions for interview candidates to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com. If you’d like to leave a message by phone, contact us at +1 202 862 5785.

Direct download: Podcast_76.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:29pm EST

Bitcoin and the blockchain – how do they work and what do they mean for financial and government services and for consumers? And who holds massive stores of bitcoin that can’t be spent without solving one of the great financial mysteries of our time? Our guest for episode 75 is Michael Casey, former senior columnist for the Wall Street Journal and – as of last week – senior advisor at the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative. Michael is also the author, along with his former Wall Street Journal colleague Paul Vigna, of The Age of Cryptocurrency:  How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order. Alan Cohn and Jason Weinstein interview him about bitcoin and its underestimated enabling technology, the blockchain.

In the news roundup, Meredith Rathbone, Alan Cohn, and I dive into the Commerce Department’s sweeping proposal for new regulation of the cybersecurity industry under the Wassenaar arrangement. With comments due on July 20, security companies are beginning to identify a host of unintended regulatory consequences.

The FBI and Justice Department had a surprisingly good week complaining about technologists’ deployment of ubiquitous unbreakable encryption. A group of cryptographers offered a contrary view, and I critiqued their position in the roundup and in a blog post.

Hacking Team was itself hacked, with its internal correspondence spread across the internet. One quick lesson: if anyone is expecting export controls to stop sales of hacking tools to repressive regimes, they aren’t paying attention to the Italian government’s licensing policies.

Finally, the right to be forgotten looks like a bad idea whose time has come. Jason doubts that Consumer Watchdog will succeed in smuggling the right to be forgotten into the FTC Act, perhaps because the act is already bulging at the seams. Canadian courts, in contrast, seem happy to impose their speech rules on Americans – whether or not Canadian courts have, you know, jurisdiction over the Americans.

 

As always, send your questions and suggestions for interview candidates to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com.  If you’d like to leave a message by phone, contact us at +1 202 862 5785.

Direct download: Episode_75.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30pm EST

Our guest commentator for episode 74 is Catherine Lotrionte, a recognized expert on international cyberlaw and the associate director of the Institute for Law, Science and Global Security at Georgetown University.  We dive deep on the United Nations Group of Government Experts, and the recent agreement of that group on a few basic norms for cyberspace.  Predictably, I break out in hives at the third mention of “norms” and default to jokes about “Cheers.”

In the news roundup, Michael Vatis and I sort through China’s ever-growing list of vague laws expressing determination to control technology for security purposes.  Jason Weinstein explains the FTC’s settlement with the makers of a stealthy digital currency mining app.  He and Michael also note the remarkably belated filing of a class action arising from the Anthem hack – and cast doubt on whether the class can be sustained.

Speaking of class actions, the OPM hack has also led to litigation.  All the Cyberlaw commentators are in the class, and none of us expect the litigation to succeed.  And speaking of the FTC, it has released new security guidance, a kind of Restatement of FTC Security Law, explaining just how wisely the FTC settled its 50-plus security cases.  I provide a quick update on the status of my FOIA lawsuit on behalf of Phil Reitinger, in which we try to find out what security standards the FTC is actually using to decide which companies are in violation of the law.

In NSA news, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court says the Second Circuit’s opinion on NSA’s 215 metadata program was unpersuasive and mischaracterized the program.  In judicial circles, the trash talk doesn’t get much trashier.  Since this all becomes irrelevant when the program ends later this year, the FISC will likely have the last word.  And WikiLeaks is rolling out more alleged NSA docs, this time focusing on Germany and Brazil.  The documents don’t seem to be from Snowden, and WikiLeaks offers no provenance for them.  Hmm.  Maybe we ought to take another look at those stories claiming that WikiLeaks has been infiltrated by Russian intelligence.  

As always, send your questions and suggestions for interview candidates to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com.  If you’d like to leave a message by phone, contact us at +1 202 862 5785.

Direct download: Podcast_74.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:14pm EST

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