Episode 218: The Mugshots.com Case: California Crazy Meets European Crazy
In this episode, Markham Erickson highlights the Mugshots.com prosecution. The site had a loathsome business model, publishing mugshots for free and charging hundreds of bucks to people who wanted the record of their arrests taken down. Now the owners are being prosecuted in a case that combines the worst of European crazy (“surely criminals have a right to be forgotten”) and California crazy (“profits are being earned here – surely that calls for a criminal investigation”). Markham explains why this may be a hard case for California to win – and then joins me in expressing schadenfreude for the owners, whose mugshots are even now spread all across the internet.
Meanwhile, the ZTE mess gets messier as Congress moves to block President Trump’s proposed sanctions relief. Democrats are joining national security Republicans to move legislation on the topic. Who says President Trump is the divider-in-chief?
Michael Vatis digs into the FBI’s latest high-profile problem: it grossly overstated the number of encrypted phones it encountered last year. Was it a mistake or a misrepresentation? Our panel leans toward mistake.
Michael and I also criticize President Trump’s decision to dump government security for his phone. Michael reminds us of the President’s scathing treatment of Hillary Clinton’s insecure email server and asks why an insecure cell phone is different.
And in a new feature that we still haven’t made up our mind about, we do a lightning round of stories we couldn’t get to:
- GDPR has arrived at last, and typically, the European Parliament isn’t ready.
- Suspected CIA leaker Joshua Schulte was busted for kiddie porn but should have been arrested for stone stupidity.
- Kaspersky sets up shop in Switzerland; will that save the business? I’m skeptical.
- Ecuador’s budget for protecting Assange ran into the millions of dollars, and it looks as though he may be on the street any minute now. A bad week for hackers and leakers. ;-)
- Germany’s misbegotten effort to tame hate on Facebook is going to end up censoring what Americans can read. When will Congress act to preserve the first amendment from other governments?
- China’s bragging that its social credit system has blocked people from 11 million flights already; when will that system be expanded to everyone in the hacked OPM files?
- In a declassified report, a federal commission treats EMP attacks as a serious threat, not the stuff of an Alex Jones rant, as elite opinion seems to think.
- There’s a circuit split regarding border cell phone searches.
- The NTSB has issued a preliminary report on the fatal crash involving Uber’s autonomous vehicle.
As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Send your questions and suggestions for topics or interview candidates to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785. Remember: If your suggested interviewee 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 the firm.