For those who think the podcast is best when we have a guest from the opposite end of the political spectrum, episode 35 should be a treat. (We’re late this week, but it will be well worth the wait.)
Our guest is Julian Sanchez, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who studies surveillance and other issues at the intersection of technology and civil liberties. He is a founding editor of the policy blog Just Security, and recently debated another of our guests, Orin Kerr, on Apple’s recent announcement that it would no longer be able to decrypt iPhones for law enforcement. We dig into that issue in detail, asking such questions as how often encryption has actually stymied an investigation, whether “hacking” the phone is a substitute for help from the company, what this means for corporate users of iPhones, the implications for Apple (and Google) in other countries, and whether Google/Apple run a risk under current US law of lawsuits by prosecutors or by crime victims.
Our news roundup begins with some of the first good news NSA has received in months. It looks as though Snowden fatigue may finally be setting in abroad as well as here. Last week, Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, and Internet multimillionaire Kim Dotcom teamed up to “close one of the Five Eyes” by driving New Zealand’s government out of office in national elections. They combined strategic leaks, a Snowden attack on the prime minister as a liar, and Dotcom’s multimillion dollar campaign war chest. Well, the elections are over, and the Anti-NSA Dream Team was trounced. In less good news, NSA Director Mike Rogers admits to having missed more than he’d like about ISIS’s rise. We debate how much the political furor over the agency contributes to these problems.
In other news, we discover that auto-forwarding someone else’s email is a wiretap – and why suing for privacy violation is much better than seeking alimony. Meanwhile, the Home Depot case sets a new record, and the Neiman Marcus data breach case gives comfort to class action defense lawyers all across the country. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals tells us that the constitution may protect upskirt photos.
And, finally, we speculate whether the whole privacy law thing will finally melt down over health data, especially now that concerns about HIPAA are stifling innovation by app companies, spurring a turf war between the FTC and HHS, and, most of all, getting in the way of rapid response by government agencies accused of wrongdoing.
Finally, we announce a new feature of the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast: feedback. Send your questions, suggestions for interview candidates or topics to [email protected]. If you’d like to leave a message by phone here’s the number: 202.862.5785. We may play your message on the podcast if it’s particularly insightful or entertainingly abusive.