As Congress barrels toward an election that could see at least one house change hands, efforts to squeeze big bills into law are mounting. The one with the best chance (and better than I expected) would drop $52 billion in cash and a boatload of tax breaks on the semiconductor industry. Michael Ellis points out that this is industrial policy without apology, and a throwback to the 1980s, when the government organized SEMATECH, a name derived from “Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology” to shore up U.S. chipmaking. Thanks to a bipartisan consensus on the need to fight a Chinese challenge, and a trimming of provisions that tried to hitch a ride on the bill, there now looks to be a clear path to enactment for this bill.

And if there were doubt about how serious the Chinese challenge in chips will be, an under covered story revealed that China’s chipmaking champion, SMIC has been making 7-nanometer chips for months without an announcement. That’s a diameter that Intel and GlobalFoundries, the main U.S. producers, have yet to reach in commercial production.

The national security implications are plain. If commercial products from China are cheap enough to sweep the market, even security-minded agencies will be forced to buy them, as it turns out the FBI and DHS have both been doing with Chinese drones. Nick Weaver points to his Lawfare piece showing just how cheaply the U.S. (and Ukraine) could be making drones.

Responding to the growing political concern about Chinese products, TikTok’s owner ByteDance, has increased its U.S. lobbying spending to more than $8 million a year, Christina Ayiotis tells us — an amount, I point out, that just about matches what Google spends on lobbying.

In the same vein, Nick and Michael question why the government hasn’t come up with the extra $3 billion to fund “rip and replace” for Chinese telecom gear. That effort will certainly get a boost from reports that Chinese telecom sales were offered on especially favorable terms to carriers who service America’s nuclear missile locations. I offer an answer: The Obama administration actually paid these same rural carriers to install Chinese equipment as part of the 2009 stimulus law. I cannot help thinking that the rural carriers ought to bear some of the cost of their imprudent investments and not ask U.S. taxpayers to pay them both for installing and ripping out the same gear.

In news not tied to China, Nick tells us about the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s serious progress on a compromise federal data privacy bill. It is still a doomed bill, given resistance from Dems and GOP in the Senate. I argue that that’s a good thing, given the egregious effort to impose “disparate impact” quotas for race, color, religion, national origin, sex, and disability on every algorithm that processes even a little personal data. This is a transformative social engineering project that just one section (208) of  the “privacy” bill will impose without any serious debate.

Christina grades Russian information warfare based on its latest exploit: hacking a Ukrainian radio broadcaster to spread fake news about Zelensky’s health, As a hack, it gets a passing grade, but as a believable bit of information warfare, it is a bust.

Tina, Michael and I evaluate YouTube’s new policy on removing “misinformation” related to abortion, and the risk that this policy, like so many Silicon Valley speech suppression schemes, will start out sounding plausible and end in political correctness.

Nick and I celebrate the Department of Justice’s increasing success in sometimes seizing cryptocurrency from hackers and ransomware gangs. It may just be Darwin at work, but it’s nice to see.

Nick offers the recommended long read of the week –  Brian Krebs’s takedown of the VPN malware supplier, 911.

And in updates and quick hits:

                                                                                                                           

Download the 418th Episode (mp3)

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or our RSS feed. As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with @stewartbaker on Twitter. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com. Remember: If your suggested guest appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of their institutions, clients, friends, families, or pets.

Kicking off a packed episode, the Cyberlaw Podcast calls on Megan Stifel to cover the first Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) report. The CSRB does exactly what those of us who supported the idea hoped it would do – provide an authoritative view of how the Log4J incident unfolded along with some practical advice for cybersecurity executives and government officials.

Jamil Jaffer tees up the second blockbuster report of the week, a Council on Foreign Relations study called “Confronting Reality in Cyberspace Foreign Policy for a Fragmented Internet.” I think the study’s best contribution is its demolition of the industry-led claim that we must have a single global internet. That has not been true for a decade, and pursuing that vision means that the U.S. is not defending its own interests in cyberspace. I call out the report for the utterly wrong claim that the U.S. can resolve its transatlantic dispute with Europe by adopting a European-style privacy law. Europe’s beef with us on privacy reregulation of private industry is over (we surrendered); now the fight is over Europe’s demand that we rewrite our intelligence and counterterrorism laws. Jamil Jaffer and I debate both propositions.

Megan discloses the top cybersecurity provisions added to the House defense authorization bill – notably the five year term for the head of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and a cybersecurity regulatory regime for systemically critical industry. The Senate hasn’t weighed in yet, but both provisions now look more likely than not to become law.

Regulatory cybersecurity measures look like the flavor of the month. The Biden White House is developing a cybersecurity strategy that is expected to encourage more regulation. Jamil reports on the development but is clearly hoping that the prediction of more regulation does not come true.

Speaking of cybersecurity regulation, Megan kicks off a discussion of Department of Homeland Security’s CISA weighing in to encourage new regulation from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to incentivize a shoring up of the Border Gateway Protocol’s security. Jamil thinks the FCC will do better looking for incentives than punishments.

Tatyana Bolton and I try to unpack a recent smart contract hack and the confused debate about whether “Code is Law” in web3. Answer: it is not, and never was, but that does not turn the hacking of a smart contract into a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Megan covers North Korea’s tactic for earning dollars while trying to infiltrate U.S. crypto firms – getting remote work employment at the firms as coders. I wonder why LinkedIn is not doing more to stop scammers like this, given the company’s much richer trove of data about job applicants using the site.

Not to be outdone, other ransomware gangs are now adding to the threat of doxing their victims by making it easier to search their stolen data. Jamil and I debate the best way to counter the tactic.

Tatyana reports on Mark Warner’s D-Va., effort to strongarm the intelligence community into supporting Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s, D-Minn., antitrust law aimed at the biggest tech platforms – despite its inadequate protections for national security.

Jamil discounts as old news the Uber leak. We didn’t learn much from the orgy of coverage that we didn’t already know about Uber’s highhanded approach in the teens to taxi monopolies and government.

Jamil and I endorse the efforts of a Utah startup devoted to following China’s IP theft using China’s surprisingly open information. Why Utah, you ask? We’ve got the answer.

In quick hits and updates:

                                                                                                           

Download the 417th Episode (mp3)

 

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or our RSS feed. As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with @stewartbaker on Twitter. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com. Remember: If your suggested guest appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of their institutions, clients, friends, families, or pets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Aitel introduces a deliciously shocking story about lawyers as victims and – maybe – co-conspirators in the hacking of adversaries’ counsel to win legal disputes. The trick, it turns out, is figuring out how to benefit from hacked documents without actually dirtying one’s hands with the hacking. And here too, a Shakespearean Henry (II this time) has the answer: hire a private investigator and ask “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome litigant?” Before you know it, there’s a doxing site full of useful evidence on the internet.

But first Dave digs into an intriguing but flawed story of how and why the White House ended up bigfooting a possible acquisition of NSO by L3Harris. Dave spots what looks like a simple error, and we are both convinced that the New York Times got only half the story. I suspect the White House was surprised by the leak, popped off about how bad an idea the deal was, and then was surprised to discover that the intelligence community had signaled interest.

That leads us to the reason why NSO has continuing value – its ability to break Apple’s phone security. Apple is now trying to reinforce its security with the new, more secure and less convenient, lockdown mode. Dave gives it high marks and challenges Google to match Apple’s move.

Next, we dive into the US effort to keep Dutch firm ASML from selling chip-making machines to China. Dmitri Alperovich makes a special appearance to urge more effective use of export controls; he and Dave both caution, however, that the U.S. must impose the same burdens on its own firms as on its allies’.

Jane Bambauer introduces the latest government proposal to take a bite out of crime by taking a bite out of end-to-end encryption (“e2e”). The U.K. has introduce an amendment to its pending online safety bill that would require regulated user-to-user services to identify and swiftly take down terrorism and child sex abuse material. The identifying isn’t easy in an e2e environment, Jane notes, so this bill could force adoption of the now-abandoned Apple proposal to do local scanning on your phone. I’m usually a cheap date for crypto-skeptical laws, but I can’t help noticing that this proposal will stir up 90% as much opposition as requiring companies to be able to intercept communications when they get a court order while it probably addresses only 10% of the crimes that occur on e2e networks.

Jane and I take turns pouring cold water on journalists, NGOs, and even Congress for their feverish effort to turn the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling into a reason to talk about privacy. Dumbest of all, in my view, is the claim that location services will be used to gather evidence and prosecute women who visit out of state abortion clinics. As I point out, such prosecutions won’t even muster five votes on this Court.

Dave spots another doubtful story about Russian government misuse of a red team hacking tool. He thinks it’s a case of a red team hacking tool being used by … a red team.

Jane notes that Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has announced a surprisingly anodyne (and arguably unnecessary) post-quantum cryptography initiative. I’m a little less hard on DHS, but only a little.

Finally, in updates and quick hits:

                                                                                                           

Download the 416th Episode (mp3)

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or our RSS feed. As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with @stewartbaker on Twitter. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com. Remember: If your suggested guest appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of their institutions, clients, friends, families, or pets.

 

 

 

For decades, U.S. cyber exploits were notoriously lawyer-ridden, to the point where it was a key element of attribution. But it looks like Israel has matched and surpassed U.S. cyberwarriors. In an attack claimed by some “hacktivist” group but widely attributed to Israel, Nate Jones reports, several Iranian mills shut down in a flood of sparks and molten steel. But the most interesting thing about the attack was the video pre-roll, which went out of its way to note that the mills were under international sanction and that the attackers sent workers warnings to avoid casualties. Some of that was prudence; when you’re escalating cyber tactics, it’s a good idea to emphasize the limits you’re observing. But a lot of it was lawyers worried about the law of armed conflict. On top of an earlier campaign that cut off gasoline supplies but also warned emergency medical and fire services to gas up in advance, it looks as though lawyers are shaping some of the best cyber attacks.

China, meanwhile, is putting resources into exporting its Fifty Cent Army to the United States. Sultan Meghji and Maury Shenk cover a Chinese campaign on social media to turn American rare earths processing into an environmental controversy. In this case, I argue, China is taking a leaf from the Russian playbook for driving up costs for American frackers who were holding down the price of Russian oil. I urge someone to do the research necessary to figure out just how many of those fake American accounts are also on TikTok, and how TikTok’s algorithm is treating them. Speaking of Chinese propaganda, Maury tells us that one of its cybersecurity firms is accusing the U.S. of planting Trojans in hundreds of important Chinese information systems, which might be interesting if the report actually provided some details.

Feeling the spur of competition from Israel’s cyber lawyers, NSA’s counsel has opened a new front. They persuaded the Justice Department to fight a merger on the grounds that it will reduce competition in the bidding on a single NSA program. Nate and I are stuck on the market definition problems for the case, but Sultan thinks it’s an investment opportunity.

This Week in Stupid Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research: We never lack for stories in this category, but this week the two contenders are evenly matched. Sultan tells us about a story that proves you can always find sex and race discrimination in AI if your study is designed badly enough. But Maury finds another group of researchers who went one better, designing a moderately effective crime prediction algorithm and then arguing that the police were racist if they put more police into high-crime neighborhoods and racist if they didn’t send more police to neighborhoods with rising crime. Since the whole point of most AI bias research is to get your story into the press by finding racism, being able to find it no matter how the study  turns out is a pretty impressive strategy.

Speaking of unimpressive journalism, Sultan flags a Wall Street Journal story that lazily dumps on AI research for not doing everything we want, while pretty much ignoring things it has done well.

Sultan also leads us through the wreckage of one cryptocurrency domino after another, but he thinks it’s likely to put a firmer, and more regulated, foundation under the businesses that survive. Nate reprises the EU contribution to the issue – more regulation, natch – but in a surprise twist for the Cyberlaw Podcast, the Brussels proposal gets pretty high marks.

Updating a few stories from past weeks,

  • Google is really getting hurt by the study showing it favoring Democratic fundraising messages over Republicans by about 7 to 1. The GOP has always believed (correctly) that its views are being handicapped by Silicon Valley, but this time the evidence is hard to refute. Indeed, Google isn’t really refuting it, just promising to do better in future, while Republicans are claiming that Gmail bias cost them $2 billion in donations and proposing tough new transparency laws.
  • The Justice Department is upping the stakes for Uber’s former chief information security officer (CISO) with the trial court’s permission, charging Joe Sullivan with wire fraud for treating what looks like a data breach ransom as a bug bounty. The Department of Justice says this defrauded Uber drivers and customers. Sullivan is the first, but probably not the last, CISO who’ll face this charge, as government slips away from “public-private partnership” as the reason to report breaches and instead embraces fear of prosecution.
  • And the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), after taking criticism for the harshness of its secret cybersecurity standards for pipelines, had offered some secret amendments to those standards. Is that a good thing? Who knows?

                                                                                                           

Download the 415th Episode (mp3)

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or our RSS feed. As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with @stewartbaker on Twitter. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com. Remember: If your suggested guest appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of their institutions, clients, friends, families, or pets.

It’s that time again on the Congressional calendar. All the big, bipartisan tech initiatives that looked so good a few months ago are beginning to compete for time on the floor like fat men desperate to get through a small door. And tech lobbyists are doing their best to handicap the bills they hate while advancing those they like.

We open the Cyberlaw Podcast by reviewing a few of the top contenders. Justin (Gus) Hurwitz tells us that the big bipartisan compromise on privacy is probably dead for this Congress, killed by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and the new politics of abortion. The big subsidy for domestic chip fabs is still alive, Jamil Jaffer but beset by House and Senate differences, plus a proposal to regulate outward investment by U.S. firms that would benefit China and Russia. And Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MIN) platform anti-self-preferencing bill is being picked to pieces by lobbyists trying to cleave away GOP votes over content moderation and national security.

David Kris unpacks the First Circuit decision on telephone pole cameras and the fourth amendment. Technology and Fourth Amendment law is increasingly agoraphobic, I argue, as aging boomers find themselves on a vast featureless constitutional plain, with no precedents to guide them and forced to fall back on their sense of what was creepy in their day.

Speaking of creepy, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has a detailed report on just how creepy content moderation and privacy protections are at TikTok and WeChat. Jamil gives the highlights.

Not that Silicon Valley has anything to brag about. I sum up This Week in Big Tech Censorship with two newly emerging rules for conservatives on line: First, obeying Big Tech’s rules is no defense; it just takes a little longer before your business revenue is cut off. Second, having science on your side is no defense. As a Brown University doctor discovered, citing a study that undermines Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) orthodoxy will get you suspended. Who knew we were supposed to follow the science with enough needle and thread to sew its mouth shut?

If Sen. Klobuchar fails, all eyes will turn to Lina Khan’s Federal Trade Commission, Gus tells us, and its defense of the “right to repair” may give a clue to how it will regulate.

David flags a Google study of zero-days sold to governments in 2021. He finds it a little depressing, but I note that at least some of the zero-days probably require court orders to implement.

Jamil also reviews a corporate report on security, Microsoft’s analysis of how Microsoft saved the world from Russian cyber espionage – or would have if you ignoramuses would just buy more cloud services. OK, it’s not quite that bad, but the marketing motivations behind the report show a little too often in what is otherwise a useful review of Russian tactics.

In quick hits:

Gus tells us about a billboard that can pick your pocket: In NYC, naturally.

                                                                                               

Download the 414th Episode (mp3)

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or our RSS feed. As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with @stewartbaker on Twitter. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com. Remember: If your suggested guest appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of their institutions, clients, friends, families, or pets.

This episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast begins by digging into a bill more likely to transform tech regulation than most of the proposals you’ve actually heard of – a bipartisan effort to repeat U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s bipartisan success in transforming the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) four years ago. The new bill holds a mirror up to CFIUS, Matthew Heiman Where CFIUS regulates inward investment from adversary nation, the new proposal will regulate outward investment – from the U.S. to adversary nations. The goal is to slow the transfer of technical expertise (and capital) from the U.S. to China. It is opposed by the Chinese government and the same U.S. business alliance that angered Senator Cornyn in 2018. If it passes, I predict, it will be as part of must-pass legislation and will be a big surprise to most technology observers.

The cryptocurrency world might as well make Leslie Gore its official chanteuse, because everyone is crying at the end of the crypto party. Well, except for Nick Weaver, who does a Grand Tour of all the overleveraged cryptocurrency firms on or over the verge of collapse as bitcoin values drop to $20 thousand and below.

Scott Shapiro and I trade views on the spate of claims that Microsoft is downgrading security in its products. It would unfortunately make sense for Microsoft to strip-mine value from its standalone proprietary software by stinting on security, we think, but we can’t explain why it would neglect cloud security as it is increasingly accused of doing.

That brings us to NickTalk about TikTok, and a behind-the-scenes look at what has happened to the TikTok-CFIUS case in the years since former President Donald Trump left the stage. Turns out that CFIUS has been doggedly pursuing pieces of the deal that were still on the table in 2020: localization in the U.S. for U.S. user data and no Chinese access to the data. The first is moving forward, Nick tells us; the second is turning out to be a morass.

Speaking of localization, India’s determination to localize credit card data has been rewarded. Matthew reports that cutting off new credit card customers did the trick: Mastercard has localized its data, and India has lifted the ban.

Scott reports on Japan’s latest contribution to the techlash: a law that makes ‘online insults’ a crime.

Scott also reports on a modest bright spot in NSO Group’s litigation with Facebook: The Supreme Court answered the company’s plea, calling on the U.S. government to comment on whether NSO could claim sovereign immunity for the hacking tools it sells to government. Nick puts his grave dancing shoes back on to report the bad news for NSO: the Biden administration is trashing a rumored acquisition by U.S. – based L3Harris Technologies.

                                                                                                                                               

Download the 413th Episode (mp3).

 

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or our RSS feed. As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with @stewartbaker on Twitter. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com. Remember: If your suggested guest appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of their institutions, clients, friends, families, or pets.

This bonus episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast is an interview with Amy Gajda, author of “Seek and Hide: The Tangled History of the Right to Privacy.” Her book is an accessible history of the often obscure and sometimes “curlicued” interaction between the individual right to privacy and the public’s (or at least the press’s) right to know. Gajda, a former journalist, turns what could have been a dry exegesis on two centuries of legal precedent into a lively series of stories behind the case law. All the familiar legal titans of press and privacy — Louis Brandeis, Samuel Warren, Oliver Wendell Holmes – are there, but Gajda’s research shows that they weren’t always on the side they’re most famous for defending. You may come for deep thoughts about the law of privacy and press, but you’ll stick around for generous helpings of sex and hypocrisy (which, it turns out, is pretty much the core of privacy and, often, journalism).

This interview is just a taste of what Gajda’s book offers, but lawyers who are used to a summary of argument at the start of everything they read should listen to this episode first if they want to know up front where all the book’s stories are taking them.

                                                                                                                                               

Download the 412th Episode (mp3).

  • This episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast is dominated by things that U.S. officials said in San Francisco last week at the Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) conference. We summarize what they said and offer our views of why they said it.
  • Bobby Chesney, returning to the podcast after a long absence, helps us assess Russian warnings that the U.S. should expect a “military clash” if it conducts cyberattacks against Russian critical infrastructure. Bobby, joined by Michael Ellis sees this as a routine Russian PR response to U.S. Cyber Command and Director, Paul M. Nakasone’s talk about doing offensive operations in support of Ukraine.
  • Bobby also notes the FBI analysis of the NetWalker ransomware gang, an analysis made possible by seizure of the gang’s back office computer system in Bulgaria.  The unfortunate headline summary of the FBI’s work was a claim that “just one fourth of all NetWalker ransomware victims reported incidents to law enforcement.” Since many of the victims were outside the United States and would have had little reason to report to the Bureau, this statistic undercounts private-public cooperation. But it may, I suggest, reflect the Bureau’s increasing sensitivity about its long-term role in cybersecurity.
  • Michael notes that complaints about a dearth of private sector incident reporting is one of the themes from the government’s RSA appearances. A Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) executive also complained about a lack of ransomware incident reporting, a strange complaint considering that CISA can solve much of the problem by publishing the reporting rule that Congress authorized last year.
  • In a more promising vein, two intelligence officials underlined the need for intel agencies to share security data more effectively with the private sector. Michael sees that as the one positive note in an otherwise downbeat cybersecurity report from Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence. And David Kris points to a similar theme offered by National Security Agency official Rob Joyce who believes that sharing of (lightly laundered) classified data is increasing, made easier by the sophistication and cooperation of the cybersecurity industry.
  • Michael and I are taking with a grain of salt the New York Times’ claim that Russia’s use of U.S. technology in its weapons has become a vulnerability due to U.S. export controls. We think it may take months to know whether those controls are really hurting Russia’s weapons production.
  • Bobby explains why the Department of Justice (DOJ) was much happier to offer a “policy” of not prosecuting good-faith security research under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act instead of trying to draft a statutory exemption. Of course, the DOJ policy doesn’t protect researchers from civil lawsuits, so Leonard Bailey of DOJ may yet find himself forced to look for a statutory fix. (If it were me, I’d be tempted to dump the civil remedy altogether.)
  • Michael, Bobby, and I dig into the ways in which smartphones have transformed both the war and, perhaps, the law of war in Ukraine. I end up with a little more understanding of why Russian troops who’ve been flagged as artillery targets in a special Ukrainian government phone app might view every bicyclist who rides by as a legitimate target.
  • Finally, David, Bobby and I dig into a Forbes story, clearly meant to be an expose, about the United States government’s use of the All Writs Act to monitor years of travel reservations made by an indicted Russian hacker until he finally headed to a country from which he could be extradited.

                                                                                                                                               

Download the 411th Episode (mp3).

 

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or our RSS feed. As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with @stewartbaker on Twitter. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com. Remember: If your suggested guest appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of their institutions, clients, friends, families, or pets.

  • If you’ve been worrying about how a leaky U.S. government can possibly compete with China’s combination of economic might and autocratic government, this episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast has a few scraps of good news. The funniest, supplied by Dave Aitel, is the tale of the Chinese gamer who was so upset at the online performance of China’s tanks that he demanded an upgrade. When it didn’t happen, he bolstered his argument by leaking apparently classified details of Chinese tank performance. I suggest that U.S. intelligence should be subtly degrading the online game performance of other Chinese weapons systems we need more information about.
  • There may be similar comfort in the story of Gitee, a well-regarded Chinese competitor to Github that ran into a widespread freeze on open source projects. Jane Bambauer and I speculate that the source of the freeze was government objections to something in the code or the comments in several projects. But guessing at what it takes to avoid a government freeze will handicap China’s software industry and make Western companies more competitive than one would expect.
  • In other news, Dave unpacks the widely reported and largely overhyped story of Cyber Command conducting “hunt forward” operations in support of Ukraine. Mark MacCarthy digs into Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s opinion explaining why he would not have reinstated the district court injunction against Texas’s social media regulation. Jane and I weigh in. The short version is that the Alito opinion offers a plausible justification for upholding the law. It may not be the law now, but it could be the law if Justice Alito can find two more votes. And getting those votes may not be all that hard for a decision imposing more transparency requirements on social media companies.
  • Mark and Jane also dig deep on the substance and politics of national privacy legislation. Short version: House Democrats have made substantial concessions in the hopes of getting a privacy bill enacted before they must face what’s expected to be a hostile electorate. But Senate Democrats may not be willing to swallow those concessions, and Republican members may think they will do better to wait until after November. Impressed by the concessions, Jane and Mark hold out hope for a deal this year. I don’t.
  • Meanwhile, Jane notes, California is driving forward with regulations under its privacy law that are persuading Republicans that preemption has lots of value for business.
  • Finally, revisiting two stories from earlier weeks, Dave notes

                                                                                                                                               

Download the 410th Episode (mp3).

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or our RSS feed. As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with @stewartbaker on Twitter. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com. Remember: If your suggested guest appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of their institutions, clients, friends, families, or pets.

At least that’s the lesson that Paul Rosenzweig and I distill from the recent 11th Circuit decision mostly striking down Florida’s law regulating social media platforms’ content “moderation” rules. We disagree flamboyantly on pretty much everything else – including whether the Court will intervene before judgment in a pending 5thCircuit case where the appeals court stayed a district court’s injunction and allowed Texas’s similar law to remain in effect.

When it comes to content moderation, Silicon Valley is a lot tougher on the Libs of TikTok than the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Instagram just suspended the Libs of Tiktok account, I report, while a recent Brookings study shows that the Chinese government’s narratives are polluting Google and Bing search results on a regular basis. Google News and YouTube do the worst job of keeping the party line out of searches. Both Google News and YouTube return CCP-influenced links on the first page about a quarter of the time.

I ask Sultan Meghji to shed some light on the remarkable TerraUSD cryptocurrency crash. Which leads us, not surprisingly, from massive investor losses to whether financial regulators have jurisdiction over cryptocurrency. The short answer: Whether they have jurisdiction or not, all the incentives favor an assertion of jurisdiction. Nick Weaver is with us in spirit as we flag his rip-roaring attack on the whole field – a don’t-miss interview for readers who can’t get enough of Nick.

It’s a big episode for Artificial Intelligence (AI) news too. Matthew Heiman contrasts the different approaches to AI regulation in three big jurisdictions. China’s is pretty focused, Europe’s is ambitious and all-pervading, and the United States isn’t ready to do anything.

Paul thinks DuckDuckGo should be DuckDuckGone after the search engine allowed Microsoft trackers to follow users of its browser.

Sultan and I explore ways of biasing AI algorithms. It turns out that saving money on datasets makes the algorithm especially sensitive to the order in which the data is presented. Debiasing with synthetic data has its own risks, Sultan avers. But if you’re looking for good news, here’s some: Self-driving car companies who are late to the party are likely to catch up fast, because they can build on a lot of data that’s already been collected as well as new training techniques.

Matthew breaks down the $150 million fine paid by Twitter for allowing ad targeting of the phone numbers its users supplied for two-factor authentication (2FA) security purposes.

Finally, in quick hits:

                                                                                                                           

Download the 409th Episode (mp3).

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