Our guest for the first podcast of 2015 is Jim Lewis, a senior fellow and director of the Strategic Technologies Program at CSIS, where he writes on technology, security, and the international economy.
We try a new, slightly shorter format for 2015, with quick takes on a batch of headlines:
- Will fingerprint phone locks protect you from the police? Our take: No.
- Google faces $18m fine from Dutch privacy watchdog. Our take: dog bites men, and Europe still hates the Internet, which it confuses with Google.
- Over 80% of dark net traffic goes to child abuse sites. But we’re reassured that internet anonymity is still good for the world. Because NSA. Or something.
- German iron plant suffers severe damage due to cyberattack. It might be the most destructive cyberattack after Stuxnet, and the motives are still unknown.
- NSA forced to disclose oversight reports of past violations. Our take: the overhyped story of Christmas Week: the reports are unreadable, and most of these were unintentional violations that had already been disclosed. But apparently news doesn’t really need to be new, as long as it fits The Narrative.
- The FCC and FTC are increasingly policing the same beat, such as text message “cramming” and privacy and security failures. Awkward turf battle? Cooperative regulation? Regulatory double jeopardy? Our take: Yes.
We dig a little deeper into other stories.
- FBI investigates banks for revenge hacking of Iran: Stewart, Jason, and Jim Lewis debate the wisdom of taking down DDOS command and control servers without waiting for the government. And Israel’s role as a haven for private hacking back.
- And, of course, all things Sony: We discuss the weird “grassy knoll” determination to blame someone other than North Korea. Turns out many of those challenging the FBI’s attribution have questionable credentials or are outspoken Snowden supporters, calling into question their judgment. We deprecate US financial sanctions on North Korea as a deterrent and the South Korean who is taking seriously Stewart’s suggestion that The Interview be dropped on the North from balloons.
- Finally, Jim Lewis offers his insider’s view of China’s approach to cyber conflict – the norms that apply in cyberwar, where cyberweapons fit into China’s warfighting doctrine, and a possible split between China’s leadership and its PLA on when and whether to carry out cyberespionage for Chinese companies.
Later this year we will be joined by Becky Richards of the NSA Privacy office.
We remind everyone that the Podcast welcomes feedback, either by email (CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com) or voicemail (+1 202 862 5785).
The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.