Podcasts

The Cyberlaw Podcast: Is CCPA short for 'Law of Unintended Consequences'?

By Stewart Baker
Thursday, January 23, 2020, 3:55 PM

This week’s episode includes an interview with Bruce Schneier about his recent op-ed on privacy. Bruce and I are both dubious about the current media trope that facial recognition technology was spawned by the Antichrist. He notes that what we are really worried about is a lot bigger than facial recognition and offers ways in which the law could address our deeper worry. I’m less optimistic about our ability to write or enforce laws designed to restrict use of information that gets cheaper to collect, to correlate, and to store every year. It’s a good, civilized exchange.

The News Roundup is a little truncated due to a technical failure. (It was a glitch in Zencastr for those of you keeping score, and I definitely am). As a result, we lost Nick Weaver’s audio for about half the program, including a hammer and tongs debate over Apple’s fight with the FBI. (But never fear, opportunities for that fight come by about as often as the Red Line comes to Dupont Circle.)

That said, it’s still a feisty episode. It begins with Michael Vatis teeing off on the California Consumer Privacy Act, the worst-drafted law he’s worked with in over 30 years of practice – and not much better on policy grounds.

We then return to Illinois’s recent law regulating AI hiring interviews systems like HireVue, and sparks fly again as Mark MacCarthy and I mix it up over allegations of AI “bias.” (I’m a skeptic, to put it mildly.)

Matthew Heiman covers the surprisingly thin claim that the GRU has phished its way into Burisma Holdings. And Nick comments on (yet another!) Italian surveillance tech firm getting into trouble by misusing its capabilities.

Not-so-Big Tech has begun asking Congress for antitrust help against Big Tech. Mark is skeptical; I’m a little less so.

Matthew and I compliment frequent contributor David Kris on his speed in delivering an amicus report on the FBI’s Horowitz reforms between one episode and the next – and before his Congressional critics can finish a letter questioning his appointment. One lingering, and possibly salutary, effect of the kerfuffle is that questions are being directed at the FISA Court itself, asking why it didn’t do a better job of policing the Carter Page excesses.

Mark reports on an unusual effort by Europe’s chief privacy officer to exempt academic researchers from strict compliance with data protections laws.

In quick hits, Matthew notes that Erdogan has bowed to the Turkish Supreme Court and has reinstated access to Wikipedia. He also reports on the Department of the Interior permanently grounding its drone fleet over spying concerns. Nick chuckles over China’s APT 40 getting doxed, and we both give credit to NSA’s Anne Neuberger for disclosing and enabling the patch by Microsoft of a major vulnerability in the Crypt32 library. And I note the likelihood that Clearview will be sued for violating terms of service to obtain the facial recognition data it uses to provide identification services to law enforcement.

Download the 296th 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.