The Cyberlaw Podcast: David Ignatius and ‘The Quantum Spy’

By Stewart Baker
Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 9:32 AM

We celebrate the holiday season by interviewing , columnist and associate editor at the Washington Post and the author of multiple spy thrillers, including his most recent, “.” David and I discuss themes from the book, from quantum computing to ethnic and gender tensions at the National Security Agency, while managing to avoid spoilers. It’s a fun and insightful work.

Steptoe partner Stewart Baker with David Ignatius.

In the news, I flag Twitter’s weird journey from the free-speech wing of the free-speech party to the censorship wing of the Censor’s Party. Twitter is now revoking for people whose speech it disapproves of. It’s even de-checking people . So maybe that should be the Stasi wing of the Censor’s Party. And, not surprisingly, given Silicon Valley’s steep leftward tilt, the censorship seems to fall far more harshly on the right than on .

Markham Erickson and I treat Twitter’s wobbly stance as a symptom of the breakdown of the Magaziner consensus, as both left and right for their own reasons come to view Big Tech with suspicion. Markham has shrewd observations about what it all means for the (questionable) future of social media’s Section 230 immunity.

We dive into a surprising new analysis of .” Turns out that the Chinese government's strategy for flooding the internet is 180 degrees off from Russia’s. Instead of a trollfest, Chinese government-funded social media is saccharine sweet.  Cheerleading and changing the subject are what its army does best.

Markham, Brian Egan and I give broadly positive reviews to the .  And, in a correction to those who’ve said that other countries don’t have such a process, I point to —in which all the equities seem to point to exploit, exploit, exploit.

All of which ought to turn the story of from disquieting to positively frightening. Speaking of which, the Chinese company that made your drone has provided a case study on . Read it and weep.

On a lighter note, we talk and a surprising peril of traveling with your family this holiday season—. Where is Tim Cook’s privacy schtick when we really need it?


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