Skip to content

Category Archives: Privacy

Sweeping Claims and Casual Legal Analysis in the Latest U.N. Mass Surveillance Report

By
Monday, October 20, 2014 at 4:11 PM

U.N. Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson’s report on “mass surveillance” may signal increasing conflict between the US and world bodies on surveillance issues.  The Emmerson report makes sweeping normative claims but fails to ground those claims in an accurate description of the US surveillance program.  The report claims, for example, that a state must impose the . . .
Read more »

U.N. Special Rapporteur Report on Mass Digital Surveillance and Article 17 of the ICCPR

By
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Here it is, via First Look. The latest from the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, concludes as follows (note the language in paragraph 59): 58. States’ obligations under article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights include the . . .
Read more »

Whistleblowers, Leaks and the Media: The First Amendment and National Security

By
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Permit me a small amount of self-promotion, with apologies.  But ABA Publishing has, today, released a new book, Whistleblowers, Leaks and the Media: The First Amendment and National Security, of which I am a co-editor.  The book is a joint project of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security, and the . . .
Read more »

Securing Phones – and Securing US

By
Monday, September 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Apple has encrypted its iPhone6 for real, that is, removing the backdoor for government warrants. The FBI is erupting, claiming that that this will create problems for law enforcement, raising the specter of not being able to investigate terrorist activities, solve murder cases, and arrest child pornographers. In fact, Apple’s decision to remove the backdoor on . . .
Read more »

Readings: An International Legal Framework for Surveillance, a New Article by Ashley Deeks

By
Friday, September 26, 2014 at 7:44 AM

Lawfare’s own Ashley Deeks (University of Virginia School of Law) has released a new article, “An International Legal Framework for Surveillance,” available on SSRN and forthcoming in the Virginia Journal of International Law (Vol. 55, 2015).  The article unsurprisingly has been receiving considerable attention since its release on SSRN, and I wanted to be sure . . .
Read more »

The Encryption Wars Continue

By
Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 12:31 PM

For quite a while it has been the case that properly implemented encryption will defeat efforts to crack it (at least using current technology). Yet it has been the case for an equally long time that very few people actually use encryption to protect their vital secrets – not journalists, not criminals, and most assuredly . . .
Read more »

Cyborgs! Law and Policy Implications

By and
Friday, September 5, 2014 at 10:27 AM

And now for something completely different: Cyborgs. No, this is not a joke. For years, certain technology enthusiasts have floated variations on the question of whether we are becoming cyborgs—or already are cyborgs. In our newly released paper, titled “Our Cyborg Future: Law and Policy Implications,” we take a different, more legal angle. The law remains embryonic on . . .
Read more »

NSA’s Anne Neuberger Speaks at Long Now Foundation

By
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 3:43 PM

The National Security Agency’s Anne Neuberger, the director of the NSA’s Commercial Solutions Center, gave this seminar recently at the Long Now Foundation. Full video is available at the web site. Here’s the audio:

What The Court Didn’t Say in Riley May be the Most Important Thing of All

By
Monday, June 30, 2014 at 9:43 AM

The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Riley v. California that searching a cell phone requires a warrant is groundbreaking—and is, as everyone says, a great step forward for privacy. The decision is notable for what it does say, including: The United States asserts that a search of all data stored on a cell phone is “materially indistinguishable” . . .
Read more »

SCOTUS: Without a Warrant, Police Generally Cannot Search Digital Information on Arrestees’ Cell Phones

By
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:20 AM

You’ve likely heard the news, made earlier this morning by the opinion in Riley v. California.  

What Values Does “Privacy” Protect?

By
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

The question long has confronted policymakers, advocates, scholars, technologists, and consumers.  And it lies at the heart of a newly-minted Brookings paper by Ben and yours truly, which we presented yesterday at the quite fantastic 2014 Computers Freedom and Privacy Conference; and which addresses the obligations that data-ingesting companies should owe to their customers. The gist: “privacy,” for all its . . .
Read more »

Germany’s Prosecutor Rolls Up His Sleeves On NSA Surveillance

By
Friday, June 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM

A few weeks ago, Ben posted some comments about a Der Spiegel article that suggested the tensions between the United States and Germany were likely to die down. Not so fast, it appears. Germany’s top prosecutor has announced that he is opening an investigation into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. A statement . . .
Read more »

FTC’s Data Broker Report

By
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 12:11 PM

The 110-page document was released today, and entitled “Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability.”   If you care about Big Data, then you will want to read the report.

More Declassified Documents from DNI

By
Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 11:33 AM

IC on the Record released this important announcement and new trove of declassified documents: DNI Announces the Release of Additional Documents Related to Collection Activities Authorized by President George W. Bush Shortly After the Attacks of Sept. 11 May 6, 2014 Yesterday the Director of National Intelligence released additional documents related to the intelligence-gathering activities authorized by . . .
Read more »

Munk Debate on State Surveillance

By
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 9:26 AM

The resolution at this Munk Debate in Toronto is “Be it resolved state surveillance is a legitimate defense of our freedoms.” Supporting the motion are former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz. Opposing it are Glenn Greenwald and Reddit cofounder, Alexis Ohanian.

The President’s Big Data Report — Some Hat; Some Cattle

By
Friday, May 2, 2014 at 9:07 AM

The Administration has released its long-awaited, review of Big Data — a report from the Executive Office of the President on the phenomenon of large-scale data collection and analysis.  The review was accompanied by a blog post (apparently, this is now the official form of Executive communication, instead of a formal press release) from Counselor . . .
Read more »

Heartbleed as Metaphor

By
Monday, April 21, 2014 at 1:30 PM

I begin with a paragraph from Wikipedia: Self-organized criticality is one of a number of important discoveries made in statistical physics and related fields over the latter half of the 20th century, discoveries which relate particularly to the study of complexity in nature.  For example, the study of cellular automata, from the early discoveries of . . .
Read more »

Readings: NSA Report on the 702 Program

By
Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Below is the text of a Report/public comment on the 702 program submitted by the NSA Civil Liberties and Privacy Office to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), dated April 16, 2014. It doesn’t appear to have received much notice so far (and doesn’t seem to be online yet).  The following text of the . . .
Read more »

Cyber Paradox: Every Offensive Weapon is a (Potential) Chink in Our Defense — and Vice Versa

By
Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 7:37 AM

As Ben notes, the USG denied a Bloomberg News report that the “U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence.”  The NYT story on this denial says: James A. Lewis, . . .
Read more »

A Reply to Ryan Goodman on the Application of the ICCPR to NSA Surveillance

By
Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 3:05 PM

In a post at Just Security on Thursday, my friend Ryan Goodman takes issue with my testimony before the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, in which I said that even if the U.S. Government agreed that the ICCPR applies outside the territory of the United States, the ICCPR would still not apply to NSA surveillance . . .
Read more »