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Steptoe Cyberblog

Episode 227: Defending against deep fakes with lifelogs, watermarks … and tatts?

Posted in China, Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, European Union
Patt Cannaday and Stewart Baker

Patt Cannaday and Stewart Baker

In this episode, Bobby Chesney explains the rapid emergence of undetectably forged videos. They’re not here yet, but before we’re ready the Internet will be awash with fake revenge porn, fake human rights atrocities, and fake political scandals. Our talk revolves around a recent paper by Bobby and Danielle Citron. I confess to having seriously considered federal support for a fake video involving Osama bin Laden and kumquats (not what you’re thinking, though that would have been good, too). Bobby and I discuss the ways in which the body politic – and particular political bodies – might protect themselves. This leads Bobby to propose a special Cyberlaw Podcast mug for best listener suggestions for what tattoo – and where – I should get as my last line of defense. He’s on. Send them to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com.

In the news, Maury Shenk and I puzzle over the EU’s questionable competition ruling (and $5 bn fine) for Google’s alleged abuse of a dominant position in mobile operating systems. Once again I find myself agreeing more with Donald Trump than his critics.

Patt Cannaday, a Steptoe summer associate, finds what’s new in the Justice Department’s Cyber Digital Task Force report (PDF): principally a set of rules to make sure that outing foreign interference in our elections doesn’t become Justice Department interference in our elections. We both think Justice plans to give social media platforms privileged access to data about foreign governments’ tactics and plans. I propose that any such access be conditioned on the platforms pledging not to use the information to squelch speech that they just don’t like.

Nick Weaver explains why the recent Spectre and other side channel attacks on speculative execution are going to continue – and how big a performance hit our computers will take as we try to protect ourselves.

Congress is negotiating with the administration on penalties for ZTE. Nick thinks the result has been confusion between the export control penalties, which can be compromised, and supply chain restrictions, which shouldn’t be.

All the states have now asked for federal aid (PDF) to defend their electoral systems from hackers. I argue that it’s now on them to prepare for attacks, including efforts to disrupt rather than throw this fall’s election.

All those podcasts with Steve Vladeck have left Bobby more comfortable blocking left hooks, but he and I still manage to engage profitably on the Carter Page FISA application document dump. We cover its implications for Devin Nunes’s early memo. We question the durability of the application’s reliance on early press stories claiming that Trump forces tilted the GOP platform against Ukraine. And I suggest that higher officials in Justice and the intelligence community should have demanded more overt vetting (and disclosure) of the partisan taint in some of the evidence. It’s a blind spot they wouldn’t have had if the FBI wanted to wiretap Carter Page while he infiltrated the ACLU, I argue. 

Download the 227th Episode (mp3).

Download the transcript for the 227th episode (PDF).

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As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees 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.