Wed, 15 July 2015
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.