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Stewart Baker
Former government official now practicing law
Recent Activity
The big cyberlaw story of the week is the Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit against Google and the many hats the company wears in the online ad ecosystem. Lee Berger explains the Justice Department's theory, which is not dissimilar to the Texas Attorney General's two-year-old lawsuit. When you have lost both the Biden administration and the Texas Attorney General, I suggest, you cannot look too many places for friends – and certainly not to Brussels, which is also pursuing similar claims of its own. So what is the Justice Department's late-to-the-party contribution to this dogpile? At least two things, Lee suggests: a jury demand that will put all those complex Borkian consumer-welfare doctrines in front of a Northern Virginia jury and a "rocket docket" that will allow Justice to catch up with and maybe lap the other lawsuits against the company. This case looks as though it will be long and ugly for Google, unless it turns out to be short and ugly. Still, Mark reminds us, for Justice, finding an effective remedy may be harder than proving anticompetitive conduct. Nathan Simington assesses the administration's announced deal with Japan and the Netherlands to enforce its tough decoupling policy against China's semiconductor... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Skating on Stilts
We kick off a jam-packed episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast by flagging the news that ransomware gangs' revenue fell substantially in 2022. There is lots of room for error in that Chainalysis finding, Nick Weaver notes, but the drop is large. Among the reasons to think it might be real is a growing resistance to paying ransom on the part of companies and their insurers, who are especially concerned about liability for payments to sanctioned ransomware gangs. I also note a fascinating additional insight from Jon DiMaggio, who infiltrated the Lockbit ransomware gang. He says that when Lockbit threatened to release Entrust's internal files, the company responded with days of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on Lockbit's infrastructure – and never did pay up. That would be a heartening display of courage on the part of corporate victims. It would also be a felony, at least according to the conventional wisdom that condemns hacking back. So I cannot help thinking there is more to the story. Like, maybe Canadian Security Intelligence Service is joining Australian Signals Directorate in releasing the hounds on ransomware gangs. I look forward to hearing more about this undercovered disclosure. Gus Hurwitz offers two explanations... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2023 at Skating on Stilts
The Jan. 6 committee exposed norm-breaking in surprising places. Take the conduct of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who abused the classified information system to hide information about how the Pentagon reacted to the Capitol riot. In my latest piece for Lawfare, I argue that Gen. Milley's conduct overclassified information in violation of the relevant executive order. Worse, it may have prejudiced some of the Jan.6 defendants and denied FOIA access to the most important DOD documents about that day. The press and Congress bitterly criticized a similar handling of the Trump-Zelensky phone transcript, but it's been silent about Gen. Milley. Excerpts from Lawfare below. Here's Gen. Milley's candid statement about what he did: The document—I classified the document at the beginning of this process by telling my staff to gather up all the documents, freeze-frame everything, notes, everything and, you know, classify it. And we actually classified it at a pretty high level, and we put it on JWICS, the top secret stuff. It's not that the substance is classified. It was[.] I wanted to make sure that this stuff was only going to go [to] people who appropriately needed to see it, like yourselves. We'll take... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2023 at Skating on Stilts
In this bonus episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, I interview Andy Greenberg, long-time WIRED reporter, about his new book, Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency. This is Andy's second author interview on the Cyberlaw Podcast. He was also interviewed about an earlier book, Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers. They are both excellent cybersecurity stories. Tracers in the Dark is a kind of sequel to the Silk Road story, which ended with Ross Ulbricht, aka the Dread Pirate Roberts, pinioned to the table in a San Francisco library, with his laptop open to an administrator's page on the Silk Road digital black market. At that time, cryptocurrency backers believed that Ulbricht's arrest was a fluke, and that, properly implemented, bitcoin was anonymous and untraceable. Greenberg's book tells, story by story, how that illusion was trashed by smart cops and techies (including our own Nick Weaver!) who showed that the blockchain's "forever" records make it almost impossible to avoid attribution over time. Among those who fell victim to the illusion of anonymity were: two federal officers who helped pursue Ulbricht – and to rip him... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2023 at Skating on Stilts
The Cyberlaw Podcast kicks off 2023 by staring directly into the sun(set) of Section 702 authorization. The entire panel, including guest host Brian Fleming (Stewart having been "upgraded" to an undisclosed location) and guests Michael Ellis and David Kris, debates where things could be headed this year as the clock is officially ticking on FISA Section 702 reauthorization. Although there is agreement that a straight reauthorization is unlikely in today's political environment, the ultimate landing spot for Section 702 is very much in doubt, and a game of chicken will likely precede any potential deal. (Baker and Ellis have contributed to the debate, arguing that renewal should be the occasion for legislating against the partisan misuse of intelligence authorities.) That, and everything else, seems to be in play, as this reauthorization battle could result in meaningful reform or a complete car crash come this time next year. Sticking with Congress, Michael also reacts to President Biden's recent bipartisan call to action regarding "Big Tech" and ponders where Republicans and Democrats could potentially find agreement on an issue everyone seems to agree on (for very different reasons). The panel also discusses the timing of the call and debates whether it is... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2023 at Skating on Stilts
Our first episode for 2023 features Dmitri Alperovitch, Paul Rosenzweig, and Jim Dempsey trying to cover a months' worth of cyberlaw news. Dmitri and I open with an effort to summarize the state of play in the tech struggle between the U.S. and China. I say recent developments show the U.S. doing better than expected. U.S. companies like Facebook and Dell are engaged in voluntary decoupling as they imagine what their supply chains will look like if the conflict gets worse. China, after pouring billions into a so-far-fruitless effort to take the lead in high-end chip production, may be pulling back on the throttle. Dmitri is less sanguine, noting that Chinese companies like Huawei have shown that there is life after sanctions, and there may be room for a fast-follower model in which China dominates production of slightly less sophisticated chips, where much of the market volume is concentrated. Meanwhile, any Chinese retreat is likely tactical; where it has a dominant market position, as in rare earths, it remains eager to hobble U.S. companies. Jim lays out the recent medical device security requirements adopted in the omnibus appropriations bill. It is a watershed for cybersecurity regulation of the private sector.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2023 at Skating on Stilts
Despite the title, rest assured that the Cyberlaw Podcast has not gone woke. This bonus episode is focused on how cybersecurity is undermined by the attorney-client privilege. To explore that question, I interview Josephine Wolff and Dan Schwarcz, who along with Daniel Woods have written an article with the same title as this post. Their thesis is that breach lawyers have lost perspective as they've waged a no-holds-barred (and frequently losing) battle to preserve the attorney-client privilege for forensic reports that diagnose their clients' cybersecurity breaches. Remarkably for the authors of a law review article, they did actual field research, and it tells us a lot. The authors interviewed all the players in breach response -- the breached company's information security teams, the breach lawyers, the forensics investigators who parachute in for incident response, the insurers and insurance brokers, and more. I am reminded of Tracy Kidder's astute observation that, in building a house, there are three main players – owner, architect, and builder – and that if you get any two of them in a room alone, they will spend all their time bad-mouthing the third. Wolff, Schwarcz, and Woods seem to have done that with the breach response... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
It's been a news-heavy week, but we have the most fun in this episode with ChatGPT. Jane Bambauer, Richard Stiennon, and I pick over the astonishing number of use cases and misuse cases disclosed by the release of ChatGPT for public access. It is talented – writing dozens of term papers in seconds. It is sociopathic – the term papers are full of falsehoods, down to the made-up citations to plausible but nonexistent URLs for New York Times stories. And it has too many lawyers – Richard's request that it provide his bio (or even Albert Einstein's) was refused on what are almost certainly data protection grounds. Luckily, either ChatGPT or its lawyers are also bone stupid, since reframing the question tricks the machine into subverting the legal and PC limits it labors under. I speculate that it beat Google to a PR triumph precisely because Google had even more lawyers telling their Artificial Intelligence what not to say. In a surprisingly undercovered story, Apple has gone all in on child pornography. Its phone encryption already makes the iPhone a safe place to record child sexual abuse material (CSAM); now Apple will encrypt users' cloud storage with keys it cannot... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
This episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast delves into the use of location technology in two big events – the surprisingly widespread lockdown protests in China and the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Both were seen as big threats to the government, and both produced aggressive police responses that relied heavily on government access to phone location data. Jamil Jaffer and Mark MacCarthy walk us through both stories and respond to my provocative question: What’s the difference? Jamil’s answer (and mine, for what it’s worth) is that the U.S. government gained access to location information from Google only after a multi-stage process meant to protect innocent users’ information, and that there is now a court case that will determine whether the government actually did protect users whose privacy should not have been invaded. Whether we should be relying on Google’s made-up and self-protective rules for access to location data is a separate question. It becomes more pointed as Silicon Valley has started making up a set of self-protective rules penalizing companies that assist law enforcement in gaining access to phones that Silicon Valley has made inaccessible. The movement to punish such law enforcement access providers has moved from trashing... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
We spend much of this episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast talking about toxified tech – new technology that is being demonized by the press and others. Exhibit One, of course, is "spyware," i.e., hacking tools that allow governments to access phones or computers otherwise closed to them. The Washington Post and the New York Times have led a campaign to turn NSO's Pegasus tool for hacking phones into a radioactive product. Jim Dempsey, though, reminds us that not too long ago, in defending end-to-end encryption, tech policy advocates insisted that the government did not need to mandate access to encrypted phones because they could just hack them instead. David Kris joins in, pointing out that, used with a warrant, there's nothing uniquely dangerous about hacking tools of this kind. I offer an explanation for why the public policy community and its Silicon Valley funders have changed their tune on the issue: Having won the end-to-end encryption debate, they feel free to move on to the next anti-law-enforcement campaign. That campaign includes private lawsuits against NSO by companies like WhatsApp, whose case was briefly delayed by NSO's claim of sovereign immunity on behalf of the (unnamed) countries it builds its products... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
The Cyberlaw Podcast leads with the growing legal cost of Elon Musk's anti-authoritarian takeover of Twitter. Turns out that authority figures have a mean streak, and a lot of weapons, many grounded in law, as Twitter is starting to learn. Brian Fleming explores one of them -- the apparently unkillable notion that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) should review Musk's Twitter deal because of a relatively small share that went to investors with Chinese and Persian Gulf ties. CFIUS may in fact be seeking information on what Twitter data those investors will have access to, but I am skeptical that CFIUS will be moved to act on what it learns. More dangerous for Twitter and Musk, says Charles-Albert Helleputte, is the possibility that the company will lose its one-stop-shop privacy regulator for failure to meet the elaborate compliance machinery set up by European privacy bureaucrats. At a quick calculation, that could expose Twitter to fines up to 120% of annual turnover. That would smart. Finally, I reprise my take on all the people leaving Twitter for Mastodon as a protest against Musk allowing the Babylon Bee and President Trump back on the platform. If the protestors... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
We open this episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast by considering the (still evolving) results of the 2022 federal election. Adam Klein and I trade thoughts on what Congress will do. Adam sees two years in which the Senate does a lot of nominations, the House does a lot of investigations, and neither does much legislation. Which could leave renewal of a critically important intelligence authority, Section 702 of FISA, out in the cold. As supporters of renewal, Adam and I conclude that the best hope for the provision is to package it with trust-building measures to guard against partisan misuse of national security authorities. I also note that foreign government cyberattacks on our election machinery, something much anticipated in election after election, once again failed to make an appearance. At this point, I argue, election interference falls somewhere between Y2K and Bigfoot on the "things we need to worry about" scale. In other news, cryptocurrency conglomerate FTX has collapsed in a welter of bankruptcy, stolen funds, and criminal investigations. Nick Weaver lays out the gory details. A new panelist to the podcast, Chinny Sharma explains for a disbelieving US audience the UK government's plan to scan all the country's internet-connected... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
The war that began with the Russian invasion of Ukraine grinds on. Cybersecurity experts have spent much of 2022 trying to draw lessons about cyberwar strategies from the conflict. Dmitri Alperovitch takes us through the latest learning, cautioning that all of it could look different in a few months, as both sides adapt to the others' actions. David Kris joins Dmitri to evaluate a Microsoft report hinting at how China may be abusing its edict that software vulnerabilities must be reported first to the Chinese government. The temptation to turn such reports into 0-day exploits is strong, and Microsoft notes with suspicion a recent rise in Chinese 0-day exploits. Dmitri worried about just such a development while serving on the Cyber Safety Review Board, but he is not yet convinced that we have the evidence to make a case against the Chinese mandatory disclosure law. Sultan Meghji keeps us in Redmond, digging through a deep Protocol story on how Microsoft has helped build Artificial Intelligence (AI) capacity in China. The amount of money invested, and the deep bench of AI researchers from China, raise real questions about how the United States can decouple from China – and whether China will... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
You heard it on the Cyberlaw Podcast first, as we did a mashup of the week's top stories: Nate Jones commenting on Elon Musk's expected troubles running Twitter at a profit and Jordan Schneider noting the U.S. government's creeping, halting moves to constrain TikTok's sway in the U.S. market. Since Twitter has never made a lot of money, even before it was carrying loads of new debt, and since pushing TikTok out of the U.S. market is going to be an option on the table for years, why doesn't Elon Musk position Twitter to take its place? (Breaking news: Apparently the podcast has a direct line to Elon Musk's mind; he is reported to be entertaining the idea of reviving Vine to compete with TikTok.) It's another big week for China news, as Nate and Jordan cover the administration's difficulties in finding a way to thwart China's rise in quantum computing and artificial intelligence (AI). Jordan has a good post about the tech decoupling bombshell. But the most intriguing discussion concerns China's remarkably limited options for striking back at the Biden Administration for its harsh sanctions. Meanwhile, under the heading, When It Rains, It Pours, Elon Musk's Tesla faces a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
This episode features Nick Weaver, Dave Aitel and I exploring a Pro Publica story (and forthcoming book) on the FBI's difficulties in seeking to become the nation's principal resource on cybercrime and cybersecurity. We end up concluding that, for all its strengths, the bureau's structural weaknesses in addressing cybersecurity are going to thwart its ambitions for years to come. Speaking of being thwarted for years, the effort to decouple U.S. and Chinese tech sectors continues apace. Nick and Dave weigh in on the latest (rumored) initiative -- cutting off China's access to U.S. quantum computing and AI technology -- and what that could mean for U.S. semiconductor companies, among others. We could not stay away from the Elon Musk-Twitter story, which briefly had a national security dimension, due to news that the Biden Administration was considering a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review of the deal. That's not a crazy idea, but in the end, we are skeptical that it will amount to much. Dave and I exchange views on whether it is logical for the Administration to pursue cybersecurity labels for cheap Internet of things (IoT) devices. He thinks it makes less sense than I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
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... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
It's been a jam-packed week of cyberlaw news, but the big debate of the episode is triggered by the White House blueprint for an AI 'bill of rights'. I've just released a long post about the campaign to end "AI bias" in general, and the blueprint in particular. In my view, the bill of rights will end up imposing racial and gender (not to mention intersex!) quotas on a vast swath of American life. Nick Weaver argues that AI is in fact a source of secondhand racism and sexism, something that will not be fixed until we do a better job of forcing the algorithm to explain how it arrives at the outcomes it produces. We do not agree on much, but we do agree that lack of explainability is a big problem for the new technology. President Biden has issued an executive order meant to resolve the U.S.-EU spat over transatlantic data flows -- at least for a few years, until the anti-American EU Court of Justice finds it wanting again. Nick and I explore some of the mechanics created by the executive order. I argue that masking the identities of foreign intelligence targets will be bad for the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
You probably haven't given much thought recently to the wisdom of racial and gender quotas that allocate jobs and other benefits to racial and gender groups based on their proportion of the population. That debate is pretty much over. Google tells us that discussion of racial quotas peaked in 1980 and has been declining ever since. While still popular with some on the left, they have been largely rejected by the country as a whole. Most recently, in 2019 and 2020, deep blue California voted to keep in place a ban on race and gender preferences. So did equally left-leaning Washington state. So you might be surprised to hear that quotas are likely to show up everywhere in the next ten years, thanks to a growing enthusiasm for regulating technology – and a large contingent of Republican legislators. That, at least, is the conclusion I've drawn from watching the movement to find and eradicate what's variously described as algorithmic discrimination or AI bias. Claims that machine learning algorithms disadvantage women and minorities are commonplace today. So much so that even centrist policymakers agree on the need to remedy that bias. It turns out, though, that the debate over algorithmic bias... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
We open today's episode with early news of the Supreme Court's decision to review whether section 230 protects platforms from liability for materially assisting terror groups whose speech they distribute (or even recommend). I predict that this is the beginning of the end of the house of cards that aggressive lawyering and good press have built for the platforms on the back of section 230. Why? Because Big Tech stayed out of the Supreme Court too long. Now, when section 230 finally gets to the Court, everyone hates Silicon Valley and its entitled content moderators. Jane Bambauer, Gus Hurwitz, and Mark MacCarthy weigh in admirably, despite the unfairness of having to comment on a cert grant that is less than two hours old. Just to remind us why everyone hates Big Tech's content practices, we do a quick review of the week's news in content suppression. A couple of conservative provocateurs prepared a video consisting of Democrats embracing "election denial." The purpose was to highlight the hypocrisy of those who criticize the GOP for a trope that belonged mainly to Dems until two years ago. And it worked all too well: YouTube did a manual review of the video before... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
This episode features a much deeper, and more diverse, examination of the Fifth Circuit decision upholding Texas's social media law than we did last week. We devote the last half of this episode to a structured dialogue between Adam Candeub and Alan Rozenshtein about the decision. Both have written about it, Alan critically and Adam supportively. I lead off, arguing that, contrary to legal Twitter's dismissive reaction, the opinion is a brilliant and effective piece of Supreme Court advocacy. Alan thinks that's exactly the problem; he objects to the opinion's grating self-certainty and refusal to acknowledge the less convenient parts of past case law. Adam is closer to my view. We all seem to agree that the opinion succeeds as an audition for Judge Oldham to become Justice Oldham in the DeSantis Administration. We walk through the opinion and what its critics don't like, touching on the competing free expression interests of social media users and of the platforms themselves, whether there's any basis for an injunction today, given the relative weakness of the overbreadth argument, and whether "exercising editorial discretion" is a fundamental right under the first amendment or just an artifact of older technologies. Most intriguingly, we find... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
The big news of the week was a Fifth Circuit decision upholding Texas's law regulating social media speech suppression. The decision was poorly received by the usual supporters of social media censorship but I found it both remarkably well written and surprisingly persuasive. That does not mean it will survive the almost inevitable Supreme Court review but Judge Oldham wrote an opinion that could be a model for a Supreme Court decision upholding the Texas law. The big hacking story of the week was a brutal takedown of Uber, probably by the dreaded Advanced Persistent Teenager. Dave Aitel explains what happened and why no other large corporation should feel smug or certain that the same cannot happen to them. Nick Weaver piles on. Maury Shenk explains a recent European court decision upholding sanctions on Google for its restriction of Android phone implementations. Dave points to some of the less well publicized aspects of the Twitter whistleblower's testimony before Congress. We agree on the bottom line – that Twitter is utterly incapable of protecting either U.S. national security or even the security of its users' messages. If there were any doubt about that, it would be laid to rest by Twitter's... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
Gus Hurwitz brings us up to speed on major tech bills in Congress. They are all dead. But some of them don't know it yet. The big privacy bill, American Data Privacy and Protection Act, was killed by the left, but I argue that it's the right that should be celebrating, since the bill would have imposed race and gender preferences all across the economy, and the GOP members who supported the measure in the House were likely sold a bill of goods by industry lobbyists. The big antitrust bill, American Innovation and Choice Online Act, is also a zombie, Gus argues, lurching undead toward the Senate floor but unlikely to muster the GOP votes needed to pass, mainly because content moderation has become a simple partisan issue: the GOP wants less (or fairer) moderation, Dems want more of what Silicon Valley has been dishing out for the past few years. If the bill doesn't produce viewpoint competition in the tech sector, it offers nothing for the GOP, and industry lobbyists are happily driving wedges into that divide. The same divide also caused a stutter in the bill allowing newspapers to bargain collectively with the big platforms. It may make... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
This is our return-from-hiatus episode. Jordan Schneider kicks things off by covering the passage of a major U.S. semiconductor-building subsidy bill, while new contributor Brian Fleming talks with Nick Weaver about new foreign investment restrictions on chip (and maybe other) technology companies, as well as new export controls on (artificial Intelligence (AI) chips going to China. Jordan also covers a big corruption scandal arising from China’s big chip-building subsidy program, leading me to wonder when we’ll have our version. Brian and Nick cover the month’s biggest cryptocurrency policy story, the imposition of OFAC sanctions on Tornado Cash. They agree that, while the outer limits of sanctions aren’t entirely clear, they are likely to show that sometimes the U.S. Code actually does trump digital code. Nick points listeners to his bracing essay, OFAC Around and Find Out. Paul Rosenzweig reprises his role as the voice of reason in the debate over location tracking and Dobbs. (Literally. Paul and I did an hour-long panel on the topic last week. It’s available here.) I reprise my role as Chief Privacy Skeptic, calling the Dobbs/location fuss an overrated tempest in a teapot. Brian takes on one aspect of the Mudge whistleblower complaint criticizing Twitter's... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
Just when you thought you had a month free of the Cyberlaw Podcast, it turns out that we are persisting, at least a little. This month we offer a bonus episode, in which Dave Aitel and I interview Michael Fischerkeller, one of three authors of "Cyber Persistence Theory: Redefining National Security in Cyberspace." The book is a detailed analysis of how cyberattacks and espionage work in the real world – and a sharp critique of military strategists who have substituted their models and theories for the reality of cyber conflict. We go deep on the authors' view that conflict in the cyber realm is all about persistent contact and faits accomplis rather than compulsion and escalation risk. Dave pulls these threads with enthusiasm. I recommend the book and interview in part because of how closely the current thinking at United States Cyber Command is mirrored in both. Download the 419th Episode (mp3) You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or our RSS feed. As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with @stewartbaker on Twitter. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to Remember:... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2022 at Skating on Stilts
As Congress barrels toward an election that could see at least one house change hands, efforts to squeeze a few big bills into law are mounting. The one with the best chance (better than I expected) would drop $52 billion in cash and a boatload of tax breaks on the semiconductor Dusty Old Trust Building, Providence, RI industry. Michael Ellis points out that this is industrial policy without apology, and a throwback to the 1980s, when the government organized Sematech to shore up US chipmaking. Thanks to a bipartisan consensus on the need to fight a Chinese challenge, and elimination of controversial provisions that tried to hitch a ride on the bill, there now looks to be a clear path to enactment for this bill. And if there were doubt about how serious the Chinese challenge in chips will be, we highlight an undercovered story revealing that China’s chipmaking champion, SMIC, has been making 7-nanometer chips for months without making a public announcement. That’s a diameter that Intel and GlobalFoundries, the main US producers, have yet to reach in commercial production. The national security implications are plain. If commercial products from China are cheap enough to sweep the market, even... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2022 at Skating on Stilts