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Stewart Baker
Former government official now practicing law
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Our interview is with Kim Zetter, author of the best analysis to date of the weird messaging from NSA and Cyber Command about the domestic "blind spot" or "gap" in their cybersecurity surveillance. I ask Kim whether this is a prelude to new NSA domestic surveillance authorities (definitely not, at least under this administration), why the gap can't be filled with the broad emergency authorities for FISA and criminal intercepts (they don't fit, quite), and how the gap is being exploited by Russian (and soon other) cyberattackers. My most creative contribution: maybe AWS, where most of the domestic machines are being spun up, would trade faster cooperation in targeting such machines for a break on the know-your-customer rules they may otherwise have to comply with. And if you haven't subscribed to Kim's (still free for now) substack newsletter, you're missing out. In the news roundup, we give a lick and a promise to today's Supreme Court decision in the fight between Oracle and Google over API copyrights, but Mark MacCarthy takes us deep on the Supreme Court's decision cutting the heart out of most, class actions for robocalling. Echoing Congressional Dems, Mark thinks the Court's decision is too narrow. I... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Skating on Stilts
Our interview this week is with Francis Fukuyama, a fellow and teacher at Stanford and a renowned scholar and public intellectual for at least three decades. He is the coauthor of the Report of the Working Group on Platform Scale, an insightful paper on the power of platforms to suppress and shape public debate. Fukuyama understands the temptation to address those issues through antitrust lens – as well as the reasons why antitrust will fail to counter the threat that platform power poses to our democracy. As a solution, the report proposes forcing the platforms to divest their curatorial authority over what Americans (and the world) reads, creating a host of middleware suppliers who will curate consumers' feeds in whatever way consumers prefer. We explore the many objections to this approach, from first amendment purists to those, mainly on the left, who really like the idea of suppressing their opponents on the right. But it remains the one policy proposal that could attract bipartisan support from left and right and at the same time actually make a difference. In the news roundup, Dmitri Alperovich, Nick Weaver, and I have a spirited debate over the wisdom of Google's decision to expose... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
Our news roundup for this episode is heavy on China and tech policy. And most of the news is bad for tech companies. Jordan Schneider tells us that China is telling certain of its agencies not to purchase Teslas or allow them on the premises, for fear that Elon Musk's famously intrusive record-keeping systems will give U.S. agencies insight into Chinese facilities and personnel. Pete Jeydel says the Biden administration is prepping to make the same determination about Chinese communications and information technology, sending subpoenas to a number of Chinese tech suppliers. Meanwhile, Apple's effort to protect its consumers from apps that collect personal data is coming under pressure from what Jordan sees as a remarkable alliance of normally warring Chinese tech companies, including Baidu, Tencent, and Bytedance. In addition to their commercial heft, all these companies likely have more juice in Beijing than Apple, so look for Tim Cook to climb down from his privacy high horse in China. (And in Russia, where Apple has already agreed to let the Russian government specify the apps that must come preinstalled on iPhones sold in Russia.) Still, you can expect that Apple will continue to bravely refuse to cooperate with the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
This week we interview Eliot Higgins, founder and executive director of the online investigative collective Bellingcat and author of We Are Bellingcat. Bellingcat has produced remarkable investigative scoops on everything from Saddam's use of chemical weapons to exposing the Russian FSB operatives who killed Sergei Skripal with Novichok, and, most impressive, calling a member of the FSB team that tried to kill Navalny and getting him to confess. Eliot talks about the origins of the effort (as a part-time break from his job at a lingerie company), the techniques that make Bellingcat so effective, and the hazards, physical and moral, that surround crowdsourced investigations. In the news, Dave Aitel gives us the latest on the Chinese Exchange server attacks, and the reckless hack-everyone spree that was apparently triggered by Microsoft's patch of the vulnerability. Jamil Jaffer introduces us to the vulnerability of the week – dependency confusion, and the startling speed with which it is being exploited. I ask Nate Jones and the rest of the panel what all this means for government policy. No one thinks that the Biden administration's published cyberstrategy tells us anything useful. More interesting are two deep dives on cyber strategy from people with a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
We're mostly back to our cybersecurity roots in this episode, for good reasons and bad. The worst of the bad reasons is a new set of zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Exchange servers. They've been patched, Bruce Schneier tells us, but that seems to have inspired the Chinese government hackers to switch their campaign from Stealth to Promiscuous Mode. Anyone who hasn't already installed the Microsoft patch is at risk of being compromised today for exploitation tomorrow. Nick Weaver and Dmitri Alperovitch weigh in on the scope of the disaster and later contribute to our discussion of what to do about our ongoing cyberinsecurity. We're long on things that don't work. Bruce has pointed out that the market for software products, unfortunately, makes it entirely rational for industry to skimp on security while milking a product's waning sales. Voluntary information sharing has also failed, Dmitri notes. In fact, as OODA Loop showed in a devastating chart, information sharing is one of half a dozen standard recommendations made in the last dozen commission recommendations for cybersecurity. They either haven't been implemented or they don't work. Dmitri is hardly an armchair quarterback on cybersecurity policy. He's putting his money where his mouth is,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
In the news roundup, David Kris digs into rumors that Chinese malware attacks may have caused a blackout in India at a time when military conflict was flaring on the two nation's Himalayan border. This leads us to Russia's targeting of the U.S. grid and to uneasy speculation on how well our regulatory regime is adapted to preventing successful grid attacks. The Biden administration is starting to get its legs under it on cybersecurity. In its first major initiative, Maury Shenk and Nick Weaver tell us, it has called for a set of studies on how to secure the supply chain in several critical products, from rare earths to semiconductors. As a reflection of the rare bipartisanship of the issue, the President's order is weirdly similar to Sen. Tom Cotton's call to "beat China" economically. Nick explains the most recent story on how China repurposed an NSA attack tool to use against U.S. targets. Bottom line: It's embarrassing for sure, but it's also business as usual for attack teams. This leads us to a surprisingly favorable review of the Cyber Threat Alliance's recent paper on how to run a Vulnerability Equities Process. Maury explains the new rules that Facebook, WhatsApp... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
This episode features an interview with Jason Fagone, journalist and author of The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies. I wax enthusiastic about Jason’s book, which features remarkable research, a plot like a historical novel, and deep insights into what I call NSA’s “pre-history” – the years from 1917 through 1940, when the need for cryptanalysis was only dimly perceived by the US government. Elizebeth and William Friedman more or less invented American cryptanalysis in those years, but the full story was never known, even to NSAers. It was protected by a force even stronger even than classification – J. Edgar Hoover’s indomitable determination to get good press for the FBI even when all the credit belonged elsewhere. And, at all its crucial stages, that prehistory is a love story that lasted, literally, right to the grave. Don’t miss this (long!) interview with Jason Fagone, or his book. Meanwhile, in the news roundup. Dmitri Alperovitch covers the latest events in what we just can’t call the SolarWinds hack any more. There’s no doubt that Microsoft code is at the center of the hack, though not because of unintended... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
Our interview this week is with Nicole Perlroth, the New York Times reporter and author of This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race. It's a wide-ranging, occasionally confrontational, interview and a great tour of the issues raised in the book about 0-day exploits, US responsibility for the global cyber arms race, and the colorful personalities whose hard choices helped shape the cybersecurity environment we all now live in. In the news roundup, Nate Jones serves up a second helping of the SuperMicro story, a rerun of a much-maligned Bloomberg report from two years ago, claiming that SuperMicro gear had been elaborately compromised by China. This time, Nate reports, Bloomberg offers much more evidence, but probably not enough to completely satisfy the critics. Still, as we conclude, even giving the critics their due, this is a very bad story for SuperMicro – and for its customers. It seemed like a classic cybersecurity horror story, with hackers using access to the industrial control system to nearly poison Oldsmar's water supply. But Nate and I both suspect that it will turn out to be a much more mundane horror tale, one where the call is always coming... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
This episode features a deep dive into the National Security Agency's self-regulatory approach to overseas signals intelligence, or SIGINT. Frequent contributor David Kris takes us into the details of the SIGINT Annex that governs NSA's collection outside the US. It turns out to be a surprising amount of fun as we stop to examine the SIGINT turf wars of the 40s, the intelligence scandals of the 70s, and how they shaped NSA's corporate culture. In the news roundup, Bruce Schneier and I review the Canadian Privacy Commissioner's determination that Clearview AI violated Canadian privacy law by scraping Canadians' photos from social media. Bruce thinks Clearview had it coming; I'm skeptical, since it appears that pretty much everyone has been scraping public face data for their machine learning collections for years. David Kris explains why a sleepy investment review committee with practically no staff is now being compared to a SWAT team. The short answer is Sen. Cornyn. More and more, Gus Hurwitz and I note, Big Tech CEOs are being treated in Washington like comic book supervillains. But have they finally met their match? Sen. Amy Klobuchar is clearly campaigning to be their nemesis. Like Doc Ock, she's throwing punch... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
My latest op-ed, on Lawfare, argues that the Biden administration's first big counterterrorism blunder was getting rid of the Trump travel ban: How, you might ask, could undoing such an unpopular and racist order possibly be a mistake? The answer is that, by the time of its revocation, the Trump travel ban had become something quite different from its starting point. Under pressure from the courts and the press, the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had reshaped Trump’s order into a calibrated security tool that depended not at all on the majority religion of the countries it affected. One of DHS’s great successes since 9/11 has been finding a way to let huge numbers of people into the country each day without giving up on security. The key is knowing more about each traveler, so that the government can make good risk-based decisions about who to admit. But that data-driven strategy only works if the U.S. has a minimum of cooperation from other governments. If the traveler’s home government makes it easy to obtain a fake identity, or if it refuses to tell the U.S. about travelers with criminal or terrorist ties, a border security system that... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
The US has never really had a "cyberczar." Arguably, though, the U.K. has. The head of the National Cyber Security Center combines the security roles of NSA and DHS's CISA. To find out how cybersecurity issues look from that perspective, we interview Ciaran Martin, the first director of the NCSC. In the news roundup, Paul Rosenzweig sums up recent successes in taking down the NetWalker and Emotet hacking networks: It's a win, and that's good, but we will need more than this to change the overall security status of the country. Jordan Schneider explains the remarkable trove of leaked Chinese police records and the extraordinary surveillance now being imposed on the Uyghur minority in China. Enthusiasts for end-to-end encryption should be worried, Mark MacCarthy and I conclude. First, the EU – once a firm advocate of unbreakable encryption – is now touting "security through encryption and security despite encryption." You can only get the second with some sort of lawful access, an idea that has now achieved respectability inside Brussels government circles, despite lobbying by e2e messaging firms based in Europe. On top of that, there's a growing fifth column of encryption skeptics inside the firms, whose sentiments can be... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
It's a story that has everything, except a reporter ready to tell it. A hostile state attacking the US power grid is a longstanding and quite plausible national security concern. The Trump administration was galvanized by the threat, even seizing Chinese power equipment when it arrived in the US to do a detailed breakdown of the gear and then issuing an executive order and follow-up rulings designed to cut Chinese products out of the US grid supply chain. Yet now the Biden administration has suspended this order for 90 days – the only Trump cybersecurity order to be called into question so far. Industry lobbying? Chinese maneuvering? Tech uncertainty? No one knows, but Brian Egan and I sketch the outlines of an irresistible story that will surely reward a persistent journalist. The SolarWinds story, meanwhile, needs a new moniker, as the compromises spread beyond SolarWinds distributions, reaching victims like Malwarebytes. Increasingly, it looks as though Microsoft and its cloud are the common denominators, Sultan Meghji and I observe, but that's one moniker the story will never acquire. In other cyber TTP news, the Chinese are stealing airline passenger reservation data, Sultan notes. Maybe they're just trying to find out when... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
In this episode, I interview Jane Bambauer on the failure of COVID-tracking phone apps. She and Brian Ray are the authors of "COVID-19 Apps Are Terrible—They Didn't Have to Be," a paper for Lawfare's Digital Social Contract project. It turns out that, despite high hopes, the failure of these apps was overdetermined, mainly by twenty years of privacy scandalmongering and regulation. In essence, Google and Apple set far too strict rules for the apps in an effort to avoid privacy-based political attacks, and the governments that could have reined them in surrendered instead, also in order to avoid privacy-based political attacks. So, we have no one to blame but ourselves, and our delusional valuation of privacy over life itself. Sometimes, privacy really does kill. In the news roundup, we discover that face recognition suddenly isn't toxic at all, since it can be used to identify pro-Trump protestors. Dave Aitel explains why face recognition might work even with a mask but still not be very good. And Jane Bambauer reprises her recent amicus argument that Illinois's biometric privacy law is a violation of the first amendment. If you heard the part of episode 344 last week about Silicon Valley speech suppression,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
The Washington Post has published my op-ed on social media speech suppression and what to do about it. I consider and deprecate the use of section 230 and the antitrust laws, which leads me to using the tax code to induce gatekeeper platforms to break themselves up: What if the federal government imposed a 40 percent tax on the gross revenue of gatekeeper social media companies that have more than, say, 30 million active users in the United States? Instead of fighting antitrust authorities in the trenches for years, companies faced with such a harsh tax rate would rush to break themselves up. (And if they didn’t, well, the treasury could certainly use the revenue after the bailouts of 2008-09 and 2020-21.) Efforts to avoid the tax would surely spur a proliferation of mainstream social media companies, each serving a broad audience. Some might adopt an editorial stance that leans to the left and others to the right, just as broadcast and other news media already do. But their ability to enforce ideological conformity or pursue a unified business interest would be shattered. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/19/rein-in-big-tech-taxes/ Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
In this episode, I interview Zach Dorfman about his excellent reports in Foreign Policy about US-China intelligence competition in the last decade. Zach is a well-regarded national security journalist, a Senior Staff Writer at the Aspen Institute's Cyber and Technology program, and a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. We dive deep into his tale of how the CIA achieved remarkable penetration of the Chinese government and then lost it, inspiring China to mirror-image the Agency's techniques and build a far more professional and formidable global intelligence network. In the news roundup, we touch on the disgraceful demonstration-cum-riot at the Capitol this week and the equally disgraceful Silicon Valley rush to score points on the right in a way they never did with the BLM demonstrations-cum-riots last summer. Nate Jones has a different take, but we manage to successfully predict Parler's shift from platform to (antitrust) plaintiff and to bond over my proposal to impose heavy taxes on social media platforms with more than ten million users. Really, why spend three years in court trying to break 'em up when you can get them to do it themselves and raise money to boot? SolarWinds keep... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
Episode 343 of the Cyberlaw Podcast is a long meditation on the ways in which technology is encouraging other nations to exercise soft power inside the United States. I interview Nina Jankowicz,, author of How to Lose the Information War on how Russian disinformation has affected Poland, Ukraine, and the rest of Eastern Europe – and the lessons, if any, those countries can offer a divided United States. In the news, Bruce Schneier and I dig for more lessons in the rubble left behind by the SolarWinds hack. Nobody comes out looking good. Persistent engagement and defending forward only work if you’re actually, you know, engaged and defending, and Russia’s cyberspies managed (not surprisingly) to hide their campaign from NSA and Cyber Command. More and better defense is another answer (not that it worked during the last 40 years it’s been tried). But whatever solution we pursue, Bruce makes clear, it’s going to be expensive. Taking a quick break from geopolitics, Michael Weiner gives us a rundown on the new charges and details (mostly redacted) in the Texas case against Google for monopolization and conspiring with competitor Facebook. The scariest thing about the case from Google’s point of view, though,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2021 at Skating on Stilts
Our interview is with Alex Stamos, who lays out a complex debate over child sexual abuse that's now roiling Brussels. The application of European privacy standards (and European AI hostility) to internet communications providers has called into question the one tool that has reduced online child sex predation. Scanning for sex abuse images works well, and even scanning for signs of "grooming" is surprisingly effective. But both depend on automated monitoring of communications content, something that has apparently come as a surprise to European lawmakers hoping to impose more regulation on American tech platforms. Left unchanged, the new European rules could make it easier to abuse kids all around the world. Alex explains the rushed effort to head off that disaster – and tells us what Ashton Kutcher has to do with it (a lot, it turns out). Meanwhile, in the news roundup, Michael Weiner breaks down the FTC's (and 46 states') long-awaited antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. Maybe the government will come up with something as the case moves forward, but its monopolization claims don't strike me as overwhelming. And, as Mark MacCarthy points out, the likelihood that the lawsuit will do something good on the privacy front is vanishingly... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2020 at Skating on Stilts
Did you ever wonder where all those trillion dollar tech valuations come from? Turns out, a lot of the money comes from online programmatic advertising, an industry that gets little attention even from the companies it's making wealthy, such as Google. That lack of attention is pretty ironic, because lack of attention is what’s going to kill the industry, according to Tim Hwang, former Google policy maven and current research fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). In our interview, Tim Hwang explains the remarkably complex industry and the dynamics that are leaching the value out of its value proposition. Tim thinks we’re in an attention bubble, and the pop will be messy. I’m persuaded the bubble is real but not that its end will be disastrous outside of Silicon Valley. But first, in the news roundup Sultan Meghji and I celebrate was seems like excellent news about a practical AI achievement in predicting protein folding. It’s a big deal, and an ideal problem for AI, with one exception. The parts of the problem that AI hasn’t solved would be a lot easier for humans to work on if AI could tell us how it solved the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2020 at Skating on Stilts
Our interview in this episode is with Michael Daniel, formerly the top cybersecurity adviser in the Obama NSC and currently the CEO of the Cyber Threat Alliance. Michael lays out CTA’s mission. Along the way he also offers advice to the Biden cyber team – drawing in part on the wisdom of Henry Kissinger. In the news roundup, Michael joins Jamil Jaffer and Nate Jones to mull the significance of Bruce Reed’s appointment to coordinate technology issues in the Biden White House. Reed’s tough take on Silicon Valley companies and section 230 may form the basis of a small-ball deal with Republicans on things like child sex abuse material, but none of us thinks a broader reconciliation on content moderating obligations is in the offing. When it comes to regulating the tech sector, Brussels is a fount of proposals. The latest, unpacked by Jamil and Maury Shenk, is intended to build on the dubious success of GDPR in jumpstarting the EU’s technology industry. If it reminds you of the brilliant success of European regulation in creating a large certification authority industry, you won't be far wrong. Maury and I puzzle over exactly how a Russian divorcee won a court order... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2020 at Skating on Stilts
Here's my favorite story from this episode: David Kris told us about a report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that spelled out the enormous value that European governments have gotten in their fight against terrorism from the same American surveillance programs that European institutions have been trying for twenty years to shut down. The PCLOB report is a delightful takedown of European virtue-signaling, and I hope the Biden Administration gives the PCLOB a new name and mission in honor of the report. The news roundup actually begins with a review of the US-China tech relationship and how it might change under a Biden administration. The Justice Department has given itself a glowing report card for its contribution to decoupling – by opening a new China-related counterintelligence case every 10 hours. I ask how long this can go on before China starts arresting American businessmen – something that will surely kick off another round of decoupling. Speaking of decoupling, the latest legislation aimed at prison labor in China may be getting uncomfortably close to Apple, which is quietly lobbying to water down a bill that is expected to pass soon by overwhelming majorities. Megan Stifel and I conclude... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2020 at Skating on Stilts
This week sees yet another Trump administration initiative to hasten America's decoupling from China. As with MIRV warheads, the theory seems to be that if you launch enough of them, the next administration can't shoot them all down. Brian Egan lays out this week's initiative, which lifts from obscurity a DoD list of Chinese military companies and excludes the companies from U.S. capital markets. Our interview is with Frank Cilluffo and Mark Montgomery. Mark is Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Senior Advisor to the congressionally mandated Cyberspace Solarium Commission. Previously, he served as Policy Director for the Senate Armed Services Committee under Senator John S. McCain—and before that served for 32 years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear trained surface warfare officer, retiring as a Rear Admiral in 2017. Frank is director of Auburn University's Director of Auburn University's McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security. He served on the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and chaired the Homeland Security Advisory Council's subcommittee on economic security. We talk about the unexpected rise of the industrial supply chain as a national security issue. Both Frank and Mark were moving forces in two separate reports highlighting the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2020 at Skating on Stilts
An excerpt from my latest Washington Post article: How to deal with the risks to homeland and national security posed by trade with China (and Russia) is the focus of a report by the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council that is scheduled to be released Thursday. I took part in the study, which reinforces and adds to recent bipartisan supply-chain recommendations of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. The danger from U.S. dependence on trade with China has been growing across more than three decades. Administrations before Trump's clung to an increasingly forlorn hope that opening U.S. markets to Chinese goods would mean cheaper materials for U.S. industries and a growing Chinese commitment to democracy and open markets. By 2016, though, China's aims were clear: Create a domestic alternative to practically every technology it bought from the United States, then allow these Chinese tech companies to squeeze out their Western competitors. Safe from competition at home, the flourishing Chinese companies could target foreign markets, too. Meanwhile, the doctrine of "civil-military fusion" would ensure that the People's Liberation Army benefited from its domestic commercial technology development. The report of the Homeland Security Advisory Council will be posted here under Recommendations. The Cyberspace... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2020 at Skating on Stilts
This episode's interview with Dr. Peter Pry of the EMP Commission raises an awkward question: Is it possible that North Korea already has enough nuclear weapons to cause the deaths of hundreds of millions of Americans -- by permanently frying our electrical infrastructure with a single high-altitude blast? And if he doesn't, could the sun accomplish pretty much the same thing? The common factor in both scenarios is EMP – electro-magnetic pulse. We explore the problem in detail, from the capabilities of adversaries to the controversy that has pitted Dr. Pry and the EMP Commission against the power industry and the Energy Department, which are decidedly more confident that the US would withstand a major EMP event. And, for those disinclined to trust those sources, Dr. Pry offers a few tips on how to make it more likely that your systems will survive an EMP. In the news, the election turned out not to be hacked, not to be violence-plagued, and not to be the subject of serious disinformation. That didn't stop Twitter and YouTube from overreacting when a leftie hate-object, Steve Bannon, used hyperbole ("heads on pikes") to express his unhappiness with Dr. Fauci. Really, Twitter's Trust and Safety... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2020 at Skating on Stilts
Our interview this week is a deep dive into the mess created by the EU Court of Justice in Schrems II – and some pretty good ideas for how companies might avoid the mess, courtesy of a U.S. Government white paper. I interview Brad Wiegmann, Senior Counselor for the National Security Division at the US Department of Justice about the white paper. We cover a host of arguments and new facts that may help companies navigate the wreckage of Privacy Shield and preserve the standard corporate clauses they’ve relied on for transAtlantic data transfers. And, yes, the phrase “hypocritical European imperialism” does cross my lips. In the news, we can’t let election eve pass without a look at all the election security threats and countermeasures now being deployed. I argue that the election security threat is the second coming of Y2K – a threat that is almost certainly an overhyped bogeyman, but one we can’t afford to ignore. Jamil Jaffer and Pete Jeydel push back. Silicon Valley’s effort to ensure that no one questions the legitimacy of a Biden victory also comes in for some criticism on my end – and is defended by Nate Jones. My nomination for Flakiest... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2020 at Skating on Stilts
In this episode, I interview Rob Knake, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, about his recent report, "Weaponizing Digital Trade -- Creating a Digital Trade Zone to Promote Online Freedom and Cybersecurity." The theme of the report is what the US can salvage from the wreckage of the 1990s Magaziner Consensus about the democratizing and beneficent influence of an unregulated Silicon Valley. I suggest that, when you're retreating from global ambition to a battered band of democratic nations, talking about "weaponization" is delusional; what the paper really proposes is a kind of "Digital Dunkirk." Rob and I proceed to disagree about the details but not the broad outlines of his proposal. In the news roundup, we finally have a Google antitrust complaint to pore over, and I bring Steptoe's Michael Weiner on to explain what the complaint means. Bottom line: it's a minimalist stub of a case, unlikely to frighten Google or produce structural changes in the market -- unless a new administration (or a newly incentivized Trump Justice Department) keeps adding to the charges as the investigation wears on. Speaking of Justice Department filings that serve up less than meets the eye, DOJ has indicted GRU hackers... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2020 at Skating on Stilts