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Category Archives: Privacy: Technology

Cyborgs! Law and Policy Implications

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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 . . .
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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.  

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.

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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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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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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Morosov on the Significance of Snowden

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Friday, December 27, 2013 at 7:43 AM

Evgeny Morosov has an interesting piece in the FT that asks about the broader and mostly ignored implications of Snowden’s revelations about the scope of NSA surveillance.  He argues that controlling the NSA and raising government privacy protections does not begin to get at the root of what he sees as the essential problem of . . .
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My Senate Testimony — The NSA and Transparency

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Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 5:43 PM

I testified on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law.  The hearing was on the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013 — a proposal by Senator Franken to increase disclosure about NSA surveillance activities.  As Ritika has already noted, ODNI General Counsel Bob Litt was on the main panel, and . . .
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Lavabit — The Government’s Response

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Earlier, I noted the Lavabit appeal filing in the Fourth Circuit.  Today the government filed its reply brief.  A summary of the argument: Lavabit appeals a contempt order from the district court. But instead of attempting to justify Lavabit’s contemptuous conduct, Lavabit instead launches a host of new challenges to the underlying orders. Almost none . . .
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An Overview of FISA Reform Options on Capitol Hill

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Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Edward Snowden’s disclosures and subsequent government declassifications have prompted a wave of proposals to retool the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”). Some of these proposed revisions are new; others merely reprise older ideas which were put forward earlier in Congress, as recently as 2012. Rare bipartisan alliances have coalesced during the debate—ones that have more . . .
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Indonesia and China Question Use of Embassies for Spying

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Friday, November 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Voice of America is reporting that the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta (like the U.S. Embassy in Berlin) was apparently used by the NSA for spying on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.  Indonesia is seeking an explanation from the United States.  It also appears that that Australia permitted covert NSA programs to operate in “its embassies in . . .
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We Robot 2014 – Call for Presentation Proposals (Including on National Security Topics)

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Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:30 AM

For reasons that won’t surprise anyone, Lawfare deals a lot with automation and robotic technologies, ranging from cyber to big data to military robotics.  So readers might be interested to learn of next year’s We Robot 2014, the third annual conference devoted to the intersection of law, society, and technologies of robotics and automation.  The . . .
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