Podcasts

The Cyberlaw Podcast: ByteDance Bitten by CFIUS

By Stewart Baker
Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 11:44 AM

We open the episode with David Kris’s thoughts on the two-years-late CFIUS investigation of TikTok, its Chinese owner, ByteDance, and ByteDance’s US acquisition of the lip-syncing company Musical.ly. Our best guess is that this unprecedented reach-back investigation will end in a more or less precedented mitigation agreement.

I cover the WhatsApp suit against NSO Group over the use of spyware on WhatsApp’s network. I predict that this is going to be a highwire act given the applicable precedents on whether violating terms of service also violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. I also muse on whether NSO will find ways to make this a much less comfortable lawsuit for WhatsApp to pursue.

I award the ACLU the prize for making a PR and fundraising mountain out of a molehill of a lawsuit. Matthew Heiman and I try to decide which took less effort – cutting and pasting the ACLU’s generic FOIA complaint or cutting and pasting the ACLU’s generic “Oh my God, it’s a surveillance dystopia” press release. 

I comment on a heart-warming story about a geek in Normal, Illinois, who runs the most successful ransomware-rescue site in the world – and is going broke doing it. Advice to DHS’s CISA: Why not sponsor prizes for people who post ransomware decryptors with real impact? 

Mark MacCarthy discusses the guidance provided by the Defense Innovation Board on building ethical AI. I complain that political correctness seems to outweigh things like, you know, winning wars.

Matthew tells us that Israel is creating its own CFIUS-like panel, and we note the longstanding tension between the US and Israel over Chinese access to Israeli technology.

David notes more decoupling: The Interior Department has grounded its entire drone fleet, citing the risk from Chinese manufacturers.

Mark and I find common ground in thinking the Facebook got the political ad censorship question more right than wrong. Twitter rises to the challenge, naturally. 

Matthew fills us in on a story suggesting that North Korea breached an Indian nuclear plant’s network. He and I also briefly note that Georgia was the victim of a massive case of cyber vandalism.

In updates of past stories, I cover Coalfire’s persuasive critique of the sheriff who arrested the company’s pentesters in an Iowa courthouse. In another even longer-running story, the latest and perhaps the last word on the LabMD-Tiversa-FTC imbroglio can be found in an excellent New Yorker story that leaves LabMD looking good, the FTC looking bad, and Tiversa looking like a candidate for criminal prosecution. Finally, David updates the story of the 2016 Uber hack that cost the company’s chief security officer his job. It’s also going to cost the hackers their freedom, as they plead guilty to CFAA violations.

 

Download the 285th Episode (mp3).

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The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.