The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Elliot Setzer
Saturday, March 28, 2020, 11:41 AM

In the past weeks, countries worldwide have put in place or considered a range of surveillance technologies to monitor and control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Alan Rozenshtein analyzed how the coronavirus outbreak will affect U.S. government surveillance law. Susan Landau argued that determining whether surveillance will help combat COVID-19 requires understanding how the virus spreads and how cell phone tracking works. And Peter Swire discussed what the response to 9/11 can tell us about how to understand the security and privacy questions associated with the pandemic.

Amir Cahane summarized the Israeli emergency regulations for location tracking of coronavirus carriers.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, examining the ways in which governments are using location data to fight the spread of COVID-19:

Evelyn Douek analyzed the implications of COVID-19 for social media content moderation, as tech companies grapple with coronavirus misinformation and an increased reliance on artificial intelligence tools for content moderation.

Jen Patja Howell shared the most recent episode of the Lawfare Podcast, a discussion of fact-checking with Baybars Örsek, the director of the International Fact-Checking Network at the Poynter Institute:

Benjamin Wittes hosted a webinar with Steve Vladeck, David Kris and Margaret Taylor to discuss the federal government’s legal authorities in a public health crisis:

Scott Anderson hosted a Lawfare webinar on how the COVID-19 crisis may change the field of national security:

Taylor and Wittes analyzed what’s in the Justice Department’s proposals to Congress for issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Elliot Setzer shared the draft legislation.

Anderson and Taylor argued that Congress needs to move fast to establish a coronavirus failsafe as more legislators become sick or are forced into quarantine. Taylor also shared the House Rules Committee’s recently released report on remote voting.

Shibley Telhami and Stella Rouse shared findings from a poll examining how American views of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis have evolved over time.

Patja Howell shared the most recent episode of Rational Security, discussing the Administration’s response to the pandemic:

Eric Posner analyzed what the coronavirus pandemic can tell us about four theories of crisis government under the current constitutional system.

Baker argued that recovered COVID-19 patients could be a vital resource for public health and for the economy.

Bobby Chesney examined whether the federal government can override state government rules on social distancing, a subject on which Ben Berwick, John Langford, Erica Newland and Kristy Parker also weighed in.

Chesney and Vladeck shared the most recent episode of the National Security Law Podcast, discussing the major categories of potential federal action to combat the novel coronavirus:

Richard Altieri and Benjamin Della Rocca shared Lawfare’s biweekly roundup of U.S.-China technology policy news, discussing how China has launched a public messaging campaign to shift blame for the coronavirus.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk featuring an interview with Sinocism’s Bill Bishop on the Chinese domestic politics of coronavirus:

Schneider also shared an episode of ChinaTalk discussing how Chinese government fundamentals impact health care and national security:

Jack Goldsmith and Ben Miller-Gootnick argued that the Presidential Succession Act is a disaster waiting to happen.

As part of a two-episode Lawfare podcast series on the state of global democracy, Wittes interviewed Alina Polyakova and Torrey Taussig about “The Democracy Playbook,” a report outlining strategies that supporters of liberal democracy can implement to prevent and reverse democratic backsliding:

In the second episode, David Priess spoke with Michael Abramowitz and Sarah Repucci of Freedom House about the organization’s annual “Freedom in the World” report:

In non coronavirus news, Lawfare continued to host a discussion of the recently released Cyberspace Solarium Commission report. Joshua Rovner argued that cyber warfare exhibits all of the characteristics of an intelligence conflict. Brandon Valeriano considered how to measure strategic success in cyber operations. David Forscey and Herb Lin argued that “just say no” is not a strategy for supply chain security. Michael Fischerkeller responded to Ben Jensen’s questioning of the strategic value of persistent engagement. And Matthew Ferraro and Preston Golson argued that the next gray zone conflict will be state-based disinformation attacks on the private sector.

Elsewhere on the site, Lin argued that the Pentagon’s use of terms such as “information warfare” “and “psychological operations” with elastic and ambiguous meanings reveals doctrinal confusion and cultural dysfunction at the Defense Department.

Richard Harknett argued that progress is being made in national cybersecurity strategy.

Setzer shared the criminal complaint against a Russian who allegedly operated a hacking platform for selling illegally-obtained data.

Elena Chachko analyzed Israel’s year-and-a-half-long constitutional crisis, which appears to be approaching its apex. And Lila Margalit discussed a recent decision by the Israeli Supreme Court overturning a decision to disqualify Palestinian-Isaeli Member of Knesset Heba Yazbak from running for office.

Emma Broches examined what is happening with the foreign women and children in SDF custody in Syria.

Gregory Johnsen assessed the state of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and argued that its new leader inherits a weakened organization.

Patja Howell shared a Lawfare Podcast Short, in which Priess asks: How do you spy when the world is shut down?

Max Margulies argued that the National Commission on Public Service is right to recommend mandatory draft registration for women.

Following the indictment earlier this month of two Chinese nationals accused of laundering cryptocurrency for the North Korean government, Yaya Fanusie argued that cryptocurrency obfuscation tools and techniques are likely to play a growing role in financing threats to U.S. national security.

President Trump claims that he enjoys immunity from criminal process so sweeping that it prevents a third party from complying with a preindictment grand jury subpoena. But Ashwin Phatak argued that this is not supported by Justice Department precedents.

Setzer also shared indictments charging Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and other Venezuelan officials with drug trafficking crimes.

Lester Munson shared the most recent episode of Fault Lines, discussing U.S.-Iranian policy with Rich Goldberg, former Director for Countering Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction for the White House National Security Council:

And Munson also shared the most recent episode of Fault Lines, discussing the Afghan peace deal:

And that was the week that was.