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Stewart Baker
Former government official now practicing law
Recent Activity
The 11th Circuit’s LabMD decision is a dish served cold for Michael Daugherty, the CEO of the defunct company. The decision overturns decades of FTC jurisdiction, acquired over the years by a kind of bureaucratic adverse possession. Thanks to the LabMD opinion, practically all the FTC’s privacy and security consent decrees are at risk of being at least partly unenforceable — and if the dictum holds, the FTC may have to show that everything it views as an “unfair” lack of security is actually a negligent security practice. Commerce says it has a deal with ZTE. Nate Jones wonders whether the bipartisan opposition to the deal from Congress is too late. David Kris introduces a remarkable week for Justice Department responses to leaks of classified information. A long-time security director at the Senate Intelligence Committee succumbs first to the wiles of an aspiring reporter, and then to the temptation to lie about the romance to the FBI. James Wolfe will pay a heavy price for his leaks of classified information — without ever being tried for leaking classified information. I can’t help asking how the FBI gathered as much information as they did from supposedly secure services like Signal and... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Skating on Stilts
GDPR has finally arrived, Maury Shenk reminds us, bringing both expected and unexpected consequences. Among the expected: New Schrems lawsuits for more money from the same old defendants; and the wasting away of the cybersecurity resource that is WHOIS, as German courts ride to the rescue of insecurity — in the name of privacy. Also probably to be expected, at least for those who have paid attention to the history of technology regulation: The biggest companies are likely to end up boosting their market dominance. Less expected: The decision of some big US media to just say no to European readers, recognizing them as the Typhoid Marys of the Internet, carrying a painful and stupid regulatory infection to every site they visit. In other unsurprising news, Gus Hurwitz and Megan Reiss note, Kaspersky has now lost both its lawsuits against US government bans in a single district court ruling. In genuinely troubling news, Iran is signaling a willingness to attack US industrial controls, which run the electric grid and pipelines and sewage systems, using the same malware it used against the Saudis. Since Iran was willing to launch DDoS attacks on US banks the last time negotiations over its nuclear... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
This episode features a conversation with Nick Bilton, author of American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road. His book, out today in paperback, tells the story of Ross Ulbricht, the libertarian who created the hidden Tor site known as the Silk Road, and rode it to massive wealth, great temptation, and, finally, a life sentence. It’s a fine read in its own right, but for those who know the federal government, the most entertaining parts concern the investigators who bring Ulbricht down. They all have ambitions and flaws that mirror the stereotypes of their agencies, even -- or perhaps especially -- when the agents go bad. It’s got everything – sales of body parts, murder (maybe!), rogue cops, turf fights, and justice in the end. Sadly, I predict this episode will generate more hate mail than any other. Why? You’ll have to listen to find out. Feel free to question my judgment with emails to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com.lp Download the 219th Episode (mp3). You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Pocket Casts, Google Play, or our RSS feed! As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Send your questions and suggestions for topics... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
In this episode, Markham Erickson highlights the Mugshots.com prosecution. The site had a loathsome business model, publishing mugshots for free and charging hundreds of bucks to people who wanted the record of their arrests taken down. Now the owners are being prosecuted in a case that combines the worst of European crazy (“surely criminals have a right to be forgotten”) and California crazy (“profits are being earned here – surely that calls for a criminal investigation”). Markham explains why this may be a hard case for California to win – and then joins me in expressing schadenfreude for the owners, whose mugshots are even now spread all across the internet. Meanwhile, the ZTE mess gets messier as Congress moves to block President Trump’s proposed sanctions relief. Democrats are joining national security Republicans to move legislation on the topic. Who says President Trump is the divider-in-chief? Michael Vatis digs into the FBI’s latest high-profile problem: it grossly overstated the number of encrypted phones it encountered last year. Was it a mistake or a misrepresentation? Our panel leans toward mistake. Michael and I also criticize President Trump’s decision to dump government security for his phone. Michael reminds us of the President’s scathing... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
In our 217th episode of The Cyberlaw Podcast, the blockchain and cryptocurrency team seizes control of the podcast again. Alan Cohn hosts another of the podcast’s periodic deep dives into all things blockchain and cryptocurrency to discuss recent regulatory developments and the current state of play of the industry. Our episode begins by looking at the Department of Treasury’s letter regarding initial coin offerings (“ICOs”). Jack Hayes tells us the key takeaways from the letter, including that persons engaged in ICOs could be considered a Money Transmitter under FinCEN’s regulations. Not only does the letter address companies based in the US that are issuing tokens, but also those based outside of the US that may have a substantial part of their business in the US or be issuing tokens to US persons. The idea that FinCEN can reach outside of the US border is not a new one. Last summer we saw a civil enforcement action against BTC-e, a foreign cryptocurrency exchange. Jack and Alan also discuss the New York Attorney General’s recent voluntary transparency questionnaire sent to both US and non-US cryptocurrency exchanges. New York has seen its fair share of controversy with respect to cryptocurrency with the implementation... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
The Cyberlaw Podcast has now succumbed to an irresistible media trend: We begin the episode with a tweet from President Trump. In this one, he promises to get ZTE “back in business, fast.” Paul Rosenzweig and Nick Weaver provide the backstory, and a large helping of dismay, at the President’s approach to the issue. I question the assumption that this will make the life of Chinese telecom equipment makers easier in the US. If anything it could be worse. The 2019 NDAA being drafted in the House will make it very difficult for telecom companies that do business with the Pentagon to rely on Chinese (or Russian) equipment. If anything, the President probably ensured a unanimous Democratic vote for the measure. The cyber coordinator position in the White House is on the endangered list. Paul explains why it should survive. His take is not completely snark-free. Summing up the first two stories, I suggest that it proves the maxim (which, come to think of it, might be my maxim) that every President gets the White House he deserves. Nick explains how badly American democracy could be harmed by a relatively trivial Russian (or Iranian, or North Korean) cyberattack on voter... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
Our interview is with Nick Schmidle, staff writer for the New Yorker. His report on cybersecurity work that goes to the edge of the law and beyond turns up some previously unreported material, including the tale of Shawn Carpenter, a cybersecurity researcher with a talent for showing up in all the best hackback stories. In the news, Jamil Jaffer reports on domain fronting, a weird form of protection for people hiding the site they’re connecting to behind some bland Google or AWS site. Some of those people are dissidents in authoritarian lands; many are authoritarian governments hacking secrets out of corporate networks. In any event, domain fronting is disappearing before it had even made an impression on the public’s mind. I say good riddance, bolstered in my opinion by the wailing of professional privacy groups that, do I have to remind you?, don’t care about your security at all. The Supreme Court takes a case of great interest to social media and other tech firms who attract class actions. Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov explains the law and the likely outcome. I mostly quibble about how to pronounce “cy pres.” Move fast and break things probably isn’t the best motto if the thing... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
This episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast features a new technology-and-privacy flap: The police finally catch a sadistic serial killer, and the press can’t stop whining about DNA privacy. I argue that DNA privacy is in the running for Dumbest Privacy Issue of the Decade, in which it turns out that privacy is all about making sure the police can’t use your data to catch killers. Paul Rosenzweig refuses to take the other side of that debate. Ray Ozzie has released a technical riposte to the condescending Silicon Valley claim that math proves the impossibility of securely accommodating law enforcement access. Paul and I muse on the aftermath, in which Silicon Valley may actually have to try winning the debate rather than claiming that there is none. Jim Lewis and I note the likelihood that ZTE is contemplating litigation against the US ban on technology sales to the company. What really bothers Jim, though, is the likelihood that the US sanction will accelerate China’s move to complete self-sufficiency in the technology sphere. That’s something that neither the US government nor US industry is really ready for. The House intel committee’s report on Russia and the election is out. It finds no... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
In a news-only episode, we get a cook’s tour of the RSA conference from attendees Paul Rosenzweig, Jim Lewis, and Stewart Baker. Instead of spending a week at RSA, you can listen to us talk for five minutes about the top trends we saw at RSA: more nations attacking cybersecurity firms over attribution, more companies defending themselves outside their own networks (aka hackback), and growing (if still modest) respect for DHS’s role in cybersecurity. Oh, and Microsoft’s Digital Geneva Convention is still a mashup of profound naïveté and deep cynicism, but Microsoft’s Cyber Tech Accord may do better – at least until the FTC gets hold of it. In other news, ZTE is being hammered for showing contempt for US export control enforcement. But the back-splatter on US suppliers will be severe as well. The United States is picking a big, big fight with China on the future of technology, and it’s going to need a strategy. Speaking of fights, Telegram is in a doozy with Russia over its refusal to supply crypto keys to the government. It looks as though Telegram’s use of Google and other domains as proxies (“domain fronting”) is making it hard for Russia to work... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
Our interview is with Chris Bing and Patrick Howell O’Neill of Cyberscoop. They’ve broken two cyberscoops in the last week or so. First, an in-depth look at Kaspersky’s outing of a US cyberespionage program aimed at foreign terrorists. Hint to Kaspersky: Bringing out a brass band to warn terrorists that are being tracked by the US government is not likely to help you win your PR and legal battles in the United States. Chris Bing also covers his other scoop – the surprisingly advanced talks among the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a bill to address the FBI’s “going dark” problem. In the news, Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov and I debate the impact of two recent incidents on the future of self-driving cars. She thinks they’ll weather these events, and that the lives such cars save will outweigh the deaths. I’m less sure, mainly because the mistakes that lead to autonomous vehicle deaths are so different from the usual human-driver error and therefore inherently compelling and disquieting. Nick Weaver and I cover the Grindr security flap and the company's transmission of HIV status without complete encryption protection. I think there’s less to the story than meets the eye, and that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
In the news roundup, Nick Weaver, Ben Wittes, and I talk about the mild reheating of the encryption debate, sparked not just by renewed FBI pleading but by the collapse of the left-lib claim that building law enforcement access into IT devices is impossible because, uh, math. The National Academy report on encryption access has demonstrated that access is well within the zone of plausible technology policy, with support from a group of prominent tech experts, such as Ray Ozzie, all of whom know math. Speaking of law enforcement, it was a good week for cybercrime enforcement. Nick and I touch on two victories for the good guys, with the Carbanak mastermind busted in Spain and Yevgeny Nikulin extradited to the US over Russian objections. Meanwhile, DHS is moving forward on one of the more significant new efforts to control terrorist travel across borders -- using social media data. The agency will be requiring social media names (but not passwords) from visa applicants, according to a proposed rule now gathering comments. Maury Shenk, Ben, Nick, and I talk about the privacy and first amendment issues implicated by the proposal. We don’t agree on most of those issues. But we find... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
It was a cyberlaw-packed week in Washington. Congress jammed the CLOUD Act into the omnibus appropriations bill, and boom, just like that, it was law, and you could wave good-bye to the Microsoft Ireland case just argued in the Supreme Court. Maury Shenk offers a view of the Act from the United Kingdom, the most likely and maybe the only beneficiary of the Act. Biggest losers? For sure the ACLU and EFF and their ilk, who were more or less rendered irrelevant without the funding and implicit backing of Silicon Valley business interests. But wait, there’s more Congressional action, and this time it’s bad news even for Silicon Valley business interests. For the first time, the immunity conferred on social media platforms by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has been breached. Jamil Jaffer and I discuss FOSTA/SESTA, adopted this week. In theory the act only criminalizes media platforms that intentionally promote or facilitate prostitution, but any platforms that actually read their own content are likely at risk. Which is what Craigslist concluded, killing its personals section in response to the act. Worse for Silicon Valley, this may just be the beginning, as its unpopularity with left and right... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
All of Washington is mad at Silicon Valley these days, as our news roundup reveals. Dems and the media have moved on from blaming Hillary Clinton’s loss on Vladimir Putin; now they’re blaming Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Gus Hurwitz and I have doubts about the claims of illegality, but I reprise my frequent critique of privacy laws: they are uniquely likely to be enforced against those who annoy governing elites (because they’re so vague and disconnected from objectionable conduct that they can be enforced against almost anyone). Alan Cohn describes the many regulatory agencies now feeling emboldened to take a whack at cryptocurrencies. He’s hopeful that only bad actors will actually feel the blow. I lay out the remarkably aggressive, and novel, enforcement philosophy behind CFIUS’s rejection of the Broadcom-Qualcomm deal – and the steadily advancing Congressional effort to regulate Silicon Valley’s Chinese connections more closely. That effort has featured some remarkably harsh political attacks on tech giants like IBM and GE. Is all this hate for techies good or bad for the effort to reimpose net neutrality through the courts? The states? Stephanie Roy maps the terrain, which turns out to be every bit as muddled as you thought... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
Our interview this week is with Ambassador Nathan Sales, the State Department’s Counterterrorism Coordinator. We cover a Trump administration diplomatic achievement in the field of technology and terrorism that has been surprisingly undercovered (or maybe it’s not surprising at all, depending on how cynical you are about press coverage of the Trump administration). We also explore new terrorism technology challenges and opportunities in social media, State’s role in designating terrorists, the difference a decade can make in tech and terror policy, and how the Ambassador lost his cowboy boots. In the news roundup, China seems to be hiding behind half our stories this week. Brian Egan and I sift through the entrails of CFIUS’s pronouncements on the Qualcomm/Broadcom takeover fight charts, where Chinese competition in 5G is an ever-present subtext. More broadly, we point to a flood of stories suggesting that the US government is just beginning to struggle with the challenge posed by an economically strong adversary nation. These include accusations of “weaponized capital,” naïve and compromised US academic institutions, and what amounts to a Chinese intelligence-industrial-unicorn complex. The SEC says digital coin exchanges may be unlawful; bitcoin takes a market hit. But Matthew Heiman, in his first appearance... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
Our interview features an excellent and mostly grounded exploration of how artificial intelligence could become a threat as a result of the cybersecurity arms race. Maury Shenk does much of the interviewing in London. He talks to Miles Brundage, AI Policy Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford and Shahar Avin of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and Research Associate at Cambridge. They are principal authors of a paper The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention and Mitigation. The discussion was mostly grounded, as I said, but I do manage to work in a reference to the all-too-plausible threat of a hacking, bargaining AI sent by aliens from other star systems. In the news roundup, semi-regular contributor Gus Hurwitz does a post-mortem on the oral argument in Microsoft’s Ireland case. Maury notes that Google has issued its most detailed report yet on how it’s implementing the right to be forgotten. My takeaway: apart from censoring media in their own countries, everyone’s favorite censorship targets seem to be US sites. I am not comforted that 90 percent of the censorship stays home, since the other ten percent seems aimed at keeping true facts from,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
Today’s news roundup begins with Maury Shenk and Brian Egan offering their views about the Supreme Court oral argument in the Microsoft Ireland case. We highlight some of the questions that may tip the Justices’ hand. Brian and I dig into the Dems' reply memo on the Carter Page FISA application. I’m mostly unshocked by the outcome of the dueling memos, though I find one sentence of the application utterly implausible. I also foresee a possible merging of the Clinton-Obama Trump-smearing scandal with the Trump-Russia collusion scandal – call it the scandularity! In other Russia news, the Justice Department is standing up a task force on all things cyber. Jim Lewis and I disagree about whether Russian hacking of the electoral infrastructure is likely to be a serious problem in 2018. We agree that the Twitter bot war on the American body politic will continue, since it seems to be a pretty cheap hobby for Putin’s favorite supplier of catered meals. Indeed, he seems to have gotten into the business as a way of squelching online protests that his school lunches were lousy. I suggest that Michelle Obama probably wishes she’d heard about that tactic sooner. Google has announced an... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
Looking for a Baker-free episode of The Cyberlaw Podcast? This is your week; I miss the podcast to teach grandchildren how to ski cross country. Brian Egan and Jamil Jaffer hold the fort, covering a few implications of Special Counsel Mueller’s indictment from Friday – the legal theories of the case and what the indictment does and doesn’t cover – as well as the follow-on false statement indictment against a former associate of a major law firm. In an amazing convergence of viewpoints, everyone, from Presidents Obama and Trump to Brian and Jamil – agrees that Russia appears to be winning, and the US is losing, when it comes to interference with US elections. At the same time, the state secretaries of state gathered in Washington last week to discuss cybersecurity and US elections – coming in the face of a fairly damning report published by the Council on American Progress on shortcomings in US election-related cyber defenses. In light of these threats, we ponder whether a return to the old – paper ballots, or even the “mail only” approach that is operative in a few states, is better than an electronic ballot. In other Russia-related news, Kaspersky turned to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
In this episode, Jamil Jaffer and I interview Glenn Gerstell, the General Counsel of the National Security Agency. Glenn explains what it was like inside the effort to reauthorize section 702 of FISA. Jamil and I ask him whether the FISA court has the authority to deal with material omissions in FISA applications, and he actually answers. Glenn also touches on how it feels to discover that data subject to a judicial retention order has been inadvertently deleted, on his secret exercise regime, on his future plans, and on how the United States should respond to the cybersecurity crisis. Download the 203rd Episode (mp3). Subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast here. We are also on iTunes, Pocket Casts, and Google Play (available for Android and Google Chrome)! Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
Cyberlaw Podcast alumnus Marten Mickos was called before the Senate Commerce Committee to testify about HackerOne’s bug bounty program. But the unhappy star of the hearings was Uber, which was heavily criticized for having paid out a large bonus under cloudy circumstances. Sen. Blumenthal and others on the Hill treated the payment as more ransom than bounty and pilloried Uber for not disclosing what they called a breach. Even Uber, under new management, was critical of its performance. As the only cyberlaw podcast with a Davos correspondent, we ask Alan Cohn to give highlights of the event from a cybersecurity point of view. I bring the color commentary and snark. With Microsoft Ireland case heading to argument, the Justice Department and Big Tech are hoping to head the Court off with a legislative solution. Jamil Jaffer explains what the CLOUD Act will do. I point out who’s missing from the Grand Coalition and question whether Big Privacy has the clout to stop the act. Fancy Bear hackers seeking high-tech weapons data from US defense contractors get lucky – up to 40% of their phishing links strike paydirt. Michael Mutek explains what this likely means for the Defense Department – more... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
The crypto wars return to The Cyberlaw Podcast in episode 201, as I interview Susan Landau about her new book on the subject, Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age. Susan and I have been debating each other for decades now, and this interview is no exception. In the news roundup, Brian Egan and Nick Weaver join me for the inevitable mastication of the Nunes memo. (My take: the one clear scandal here is the way Glenn Simpson and Chris Steele treated the US national security apparatus, including the national security press, as just another agency to be lobbied – and the success they had in milking it for partisan advantage and private profit.) Meanwhile, if you needed a reminder of just how enthusiastically and ham-handedly China conducts its espionage, just ask the African Union, whose Chinese-built headquarters is pwned from top to bottom. Brian lays out a significant Ninth Circuit Anti-Terrorism Act case absolving Twitter of liability for providing “material assistance” to ISIS by requiring a more direct relationship between Twitter’s acts and the harm suffered by the private plaintiffs. Not a surprise, but a relief for Silicon Valley. Nick fulminates about the security threat posed by a sophisticated... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
Jim Comey has tweeted his support for Andrew McCabe, who is leaving the No. 2 post at FBI early: "Special Agent Andrew McCabe stood tall over the last 8 months, when small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on. He served with distinction for two decades." I'm sure Andrew McCabe was an able agent for decades, but I can't join Jim Comey in celebrating the way McCabe did his job over the past year or two. That doesn’t mean that all the White House and Congressional attacks on the FBI are justified, simply that we ought to delay McCabe’s canonization until the facts are in. As most people now know, Andrew McCabe’s wife ran for State Senate in Virginia in 2015 with the enthusiastic support of Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic party chief and then Democratic governor of Virginia. McAuliffe’s PAC and the state Democratic party gave Jill McCabe financial and in-kind support totalling more than $650 thousand – over a third of her entire warchest. The PAC had a lot to give in part because Hillary Clinton was a featured speaker at a fundraiser for it in June 2015. At the time, McCabe was the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
Whether they call it the fitbit or the “Ohsh*t!bit” governments are learning that the exercisers' internet of things is giving away their geospatial secrets at a rapid clip. Nick Weaver walks us through what most in the US government would call a security disaster – and how it could become an intelligence bonanza. As an example of what can be done, Jeffrey Lewis highlights Taiwan's secret cruise missile command center. Of course, as soon as authoritarian governments learn to use fitbits to oppress their people, we can expect the European Union and the Wassenaar export control group to slap export controls on them. Meredith Rathbone reports on the effort to persuade Europe and Wassenaar not to throw the security industry out with the bathwater. Turns out that progress is being made on both fronts. Nick and I talk through the latest stories on Russian cyberspying. Meduza and Buzzfeed have a persuasive and dispiriting story about how Eugene Kaspersky might have been forced to cooperate with the Russian FSB. Looking at questions being raised about US firms allowing the Russians to inspect their source code, we conclude that Balkanization of cybersecurity products is a near certainty, with the only question being... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
In this guestless episode 199 of the Cyberlaw Podcast, Michael Vatis, Markham Erickson, and Nick Weaver join me to explore the intense jockeying that led to passage of S. 139 and gave section 702 of FISA a new lease on life. The administration team responsible for shepherding the bill did well, weathering the President’s tweets, providing a warrant process for backend searches that will likely be used once a year if that, and -- almost without anyone noticing -- pulling the unmasking reform provisions from the bill and substituting an ODNI rule. Why? My guess is that dropping unmasking from the bill was a bargaining chip that made it easier for Dems to vote yea; if so, it worked. And just in time, as the days after passage brought new whiffs of scandal, from the four-page House Republican memo alleging improprieties in the FBI’s application for a FISA wiretap on a Trump campaign hanger-on to two cases in which the FBI and NSA destroyed evidence they were supposed to be preserving. Michael Vatis and I cross sword over whether the FISA abuse memo is worth taking seriously or just partisan flak. Nick and I delve into the gigabytes of hacked... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
It turns out that the most interesting policy story about Kaspersky software isn’t why the administration banned its products from government use. It’s why the last administration didn’t. Shane Harris is our guest for the podcast, delving into the law and politics of the Kaspersky ban. Along the way, I ask why the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which allows suits against foreign governments for torts committed in the United States, shouldn’t allow suits against foreign governments that hack computers located in the United States. In the news, the House comfortably adopts a bill to reauthorize 702 surveillance; the Senate is expected to act today as well. While the House bill makes some changes to the law, it endorses the most moderate of the reform proposals. In case you haven’t heard, Apple is handing off its iCloud operations in China to a local cloud storage company – with none of the histrionic civil liberties posturing the company displays in the United States. Whose data is being transferred to the tender mercies of the Chinese authorities? Who knows? Not Apple, which can’t even send out notices to its customers without getting confused about who’s covered by the new policy. It’s a threepeat... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2018 at Skating on Stilts
While the US was transfixed by posturing over the Trump presidency, China has been building the future. Chances are you’ll find one part of that future – social credit scoring – both appalling in principle and irresistible in practice. That at least is the lesson I draw from our interview of Mara Hvistendahl, National Fellow at New America and author of the definitive article on the allure, defects and mechanics of China’s emerging social credit system. In the news roundup, Nick Weaver dives deep on the Spectre and Meltdown security vulnerabilities while I try to draw policy and litigation implications from the debacle. TL;DR? This is bad, but the class actions will settle for pennies. Oh, and xkcd has all you need to know. I note that US Customs and Border Protection under Trump has imposed new limitations on border searches of electronic devices. So naturally the press is all "Trump has stepped up border searches aggressively." No good deed unpunished, as they say. Maury Shenk explains President Macron’s latest plans to regulate cyberspace in the name of fighting Russian electoral interference and fake news. The Germans, meanwhile, have begun implementing their plan to fight hate speech on the internet.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2018 at Skating on Stilts