With our sound system back online, episode 163 is already a big step up from Lost Episode 162. (Transcripts of 162 are available for those who wish by sending email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com.)
Our interview is with Susan Munro, of Steptoe’s Beijing office. Susan unwinds the complex spool of cyberlaw measures promulgated by the Chinese government.
In the news, Maury Shenk and I note that Putin reran his U.S. playbook in the French election, but the French were ready for him. Indeed, what we originally thought to be crude Russian forgeries may actually be Macron “honey docs” meant to look like crude Russian forgeries. If so, my hat is off to Macron’s I.T. team.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov spots a new trend in cybersecurity litigation. It’s nuts, but that’s not the new part.
The intelligence community’s latest transparency report reveals a shocking stat about “backdoor” FBI searches of 702 for criminal cases. The bureau did that all of … one time. Those who want to clog our security services with ever more burdensome processes are going to have to find a bigger scandal.
The Republicans complaining about Susan Rice and “unmasking” can find more to work with in the report. Turns out that Americans were identified in masked or unmasked form in about 4000 reports last year, but by the time the report writers and the intelligence consumers were done, about 3000 reports had seen their Americans unmasked. With numbers like that, if the issue hadn’t been raised first by Republicans, every newspaper in America would be calling for an investigation of unmasking standards.
Okay, this is getting embarrassing. The White House has now spent more time drafting a cyber E.O. calling for urgent reports from the departments than it’s giving the departments to write the urgent reports. And so far, as Alan Cohn points out, all we have to show for it is … another leaked draft.
Jennifer explains why the latest Home Depot settlement is both good and bad for the plaintiffs’ bar.
Alan dives deep for substance in the White House’s EO creating an American Tech Council. He comes up empty. The EO is purely procedural.
Maury explains the UK’s draft surveillance obligations, concluding there’s not much new in them. And Germany’s intelligence service is complaining both about Russian hacking and about its lack of authority to, uh, hack back to destroy third party servers. Chris Painter, call your office!
Alan tells us that DHS cybersecurity did pretty well in budget deal, but only if your point of comparison is EPA’s budget.
At least DHS is making the right enemies. Jennifer explains DHS backpedaling on the privacy rights of non-Americans. And Alan and I flag the ABA’s interest in border searches of lawyers’ electronics.
Finally, in cybersecurity news, the Guardian plays the world’s smallest violin for billionaire superyacht owners, and the recent defeat of a common form of two-factor authentication will put new cybersecurity pressure on SS7.
As always, the Cyberlaw Podcast welcomes feedback. Send an email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.
The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.