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Category Archives: Privacy

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

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

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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?

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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 . . .
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Germany’s Prosecutor Rolls Up His Sleeves On NSA Surveillance

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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 . . .
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FTC’s Data Broker Report

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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

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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 . . .
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Munk Debate on State Surveillance

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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

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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 . . .
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Heartbleed as Metaphor

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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 . . .
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Readings: NSA Report on the 702 Program

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

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

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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 . . .
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The NYT on NSA’s Huawei Penetration [UPDATED]

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Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 8:41 PM

David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth report about how the NSA has successfully placed backdoors into the networks of the Chinese Telecommunications giant Huawei for purposes of (a) discerning Huawei’s links to the People’s Liberation Army and (b) preparing for offensive operations in third countries.   It also has some detail (apparently based on leaks other than . . .
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A Modest Proposal for NSA

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 11:29 AM

I had an idea the other day—a way for NSA to serve the national interest, do good for humanity, and improve its public image all at once. Drum roll, please! NSA should get into the business of publishing trade secrets stolen from companies in countries that conduct active industrial espionage against U.S. companies. Before you . . .
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NYU School of Law Event: “‘The Snowden Operation’: A Victory for Privacy Rights or for Russia?”

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Friday, March 14, 2014 at 11:04 AM

  NYU School of Law hosted a debate yesterday between Edward Lucas, Senior Editor of The Economist and author of The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster—which Ben reviewed last month—and Stephen Holmes, Professor at NYU Law. The event was moderated by Ryan Goodman, also of NYU Law. Here is the description of the panel . . .
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So How Do We Feel About These (Almost) All-Seeing Cameras?

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 4:00 PM

This question occurred to me last week, after I served as an alternate juror in a criminal trial here in D.C. Two men were charged with, and—after two days’ worth of evidence—found guilty of, robbing another man. The case turned on testimony by the victim and some corroborating stuff, including extensive video footage from security . . .
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International Court of Justice Bans Australian Spying on East Timor and its Lawyers

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Speaking of Australian spying on its regional neighbors and its lawyers, which we were the other day, the International Court of Justice has handed down a decision in a dispute between Australia and East Timor. Here’s the Brisbane Times on the decision, which I have not read yet: Australia has been ordered to cease spying . . .
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The Latest Snowden Leak: NSA Isn’t Spying on Lawyers

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Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Unless the public is really tiring of matters Snowden, the New York Times’s latest is going to stir up the hornet’s nest. “Spying by N.S.A. Ally Entangled U.S. Law Firm,” blares the headline of the story by reporter James Risen and freelancer Laura Poitras—from whom the Times (which insists it never pays for information) sometimes . . .
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Bruce Schneier on NSA v. Private Meta-Data Storage

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Friday, February 14, 2014 at 4:18 PM

In December I said this about the Presidential Review Group’s recommendation to transfer meta-data from NSA to private control: “I understand the Report’s concerns about the storage of bulk meta-data by the government.  But I do not understand the Report’s implicit assumption that the storage of bulk meta-data by private entities is an improvement from the perspective . . .
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The NSA Meets International Law: Advantage US?

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Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 3:00 PM

While NSA critics including David Cole have asserted that the Section 702 program is inconsistent with international privacy norms, the reality is far more complex.  As I explain in a forthcoming Fordham Law Review article, European courts have upheld national security surveillance programs with striking similarities to U.S. practice.  Indeed, the FISC’s role actually makes . . .
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