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Steptoe Cyberblog

Coming Up: Blockchain Takes Over the Podcast

Posted in Blockchain

Next week, blockchain is taking over The Cyberlaw Podcast once again. On April 29, Steptoe partners Alan Cohn, Gary Goldsholle, and Will Turner will reconvene to discuss the latest in blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation. At the top of the list is the suite of updates coming out of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Framework for “Investment Contract” Analysis of Digital Assets and a No-Action Letter regarding TurnKey Jet, Inc. We’ll consider what this means for companies trying to issue tokens and lay out potential permissible token launch models. We’ll also examine two recent filings: (1) Blockstack’s filing for a $50M regulated token offering; and (2) Acra’s filing to issue its shares as digitized securities, Acra UST Coins.

Our guest speaker, Jeff Bandman, Co-Founder and Board Member of Global Digital Finance, will add an industry perspective on key regulatory issues such as their recent response to the Financial Action Task Force’s interpretative note on mitigation risks from virtual assets.

Episode 260: Sending our passports to Pornhub

Posted in Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, European Union, International, Privacy Regulation

 

In this episode, Nick Weaver and I discuss new Internet regulations proposed in the UK. He’s mostly okay with its anti-nudge code for kids, but not with requiring proof of age to access adult material. I don’t see the problem; after all, who wouldn’t want to store their passport information with Pornhub?

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Episode 259: Why France understands Chinese policy better than the rest of us

Posted in AI, CFIUS, China, Cloud Computing, European Union, International, Russia

 

Our News Roundup is hip deep in China stories. The inconclusive EU – China summit gives Matthew Heiman and me a chance to explain why France understands – and hates – China’s geopolitical trade strategy more than most.

Maury Shenk notes that the Pentagon’s reported plan to put a bunch of Chinese suppliers on a blacklist is a bit of a tribute to China’s own list of sectors not open to Western companies. In other China news, Matthew discloses that there’s reason to believe that China has finally begun to use all the US personnel data it stole from OPM. I’m so worried it may yet turn my hair pink, at least for SF-86 purposes.

And in a sign that it really is better to be lucky than to be good, Matthew and I muse on how the Trump Administration’s China policy is coinciding with broader economic trends to force US companies to reconsider their reliance on Chinese manufacturing.

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Episode 258: The death of Section 230

Posted in CFIUS, China, International, Russia

 

Our News Roundup leads with the long, slow death of Section 230 immunity. Nick Weaver explains why he thinks social media’s pursuit of engagement has led to a poisonous online environment, and Matthew Heiman replays the astonishing international consensus that Silicon Valley deserves the blame – and the regulation – for all that ails the Internet. The UK is considering holding social media execs liable for “harmful” content on their platforms. Australia has already passed a law to punish social media companies for failure to remove “abhorrent violent material.” And Singapore is happily drafting behind the West, avoiding for once the criticism that its press controls are out of step with the international community. Even Mark Zuckerberg is reading the writing on the wall and asking for regulation. I note that lost in the one-minute hate directed at social media is any notion that other countries shouldn’t be able to tell Americans what they can and can’t read. I also wonder whether the consensus that platforms should be editors will add to conservative doubts about maintaining Section 230 at all – and in the process endanger the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement that would enshrine Section 230 in US treaty obligations.

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Episode 257: How we know the North Korean Embassy break-in wasn’t the work of the CIA

Posted in Data Breach, International, Privacy Regulation

 

In today’s News Roundup, Klon Kitchen adds to the North Korean Embassy invasion by an unknown group. Turns out some of the participants fled to the US and lawyered up, but the real tipoff about attribution is that they’ve given some of the data they stole to the FBI. That rules out CIA involvement right there.

Nick Weaver talks about Hal Martin pleading guilty to unlawfully retaining massive amounts of classified NSA hacking data. It’s looking more and more as though Martin was just a packrat, making his sentence of nine years in prison about right. But as Nick points out, that leaves unexplained how the Russians got hold of so much NSA data themselves.

Paul Hughes explains the seamy Europolitics behind the new foreign investment regulations that will take effect this month.

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Episode 256: National Bloviation Strategy

Posted in Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, International, Security Programs & Policies

 

I know. That could be any national strategy written in the last 15 years. And that’s the point. In our interview, Dr. Amy Zegart and I discuss the national cyber strategy and what’s wrong with it, along with the culture clash between DOD and Silicon Valley (especially Google), and whether the Mueller report should lead to a similarly thorough investigation into how the Intelligence Community and Justice handled the allegations at the start of the Trump Administration. Plus, Amy answers this burning question: “If a banana republic is a country where losing an election means getting criminally investigated, what do you call a country where winning an election means you get criminally investigated?”

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Episode 255: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery: Russia and China revamp their military technologies

Posted in China, International, Russia

 

In our interview, Elsa Kania and Sam Bendett explain what China and Russia have learned from the American way of warfighting – and from Russia’s success in Syria. The short answer: everything. But instead of leaving us smug, I argue it ought to leave us worried about surprise. Elsa and Sam both try to predict where the surprises might come from. Yogi Berra makes an appearance.

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Episode 254: Skating on Stilts without Baker

Posted in China, International, Security Programs & Policies

 

On Episode 254 of The Cyberlaw Podcast, Stewart spends a few days off the grid, and David Kris, Maury Shenk, and Brian Egan extol the virtues of data privacy and the European Union in his absence.

Maury interviews James Griffiths, a journalist based in Hong Kong and the author of the new book, The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet.

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Episode 253: Where angels fear to tread: NewsGuard takes on fake news

Posted in Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, International, Russia

 

Our interview is with two men who overcame careers as lawyers and journalists to become serial entrepreneurs now trying to solve the “fake news” problem. Gordon Crovitz and Steve Brill co-founded NewsGuard to rate news sites on nine journalistic criteria. Using, of all things, real people instead of algorithms. By the end of the interview, I’ve confessed myself a reluctant convert to the effort. This is despite NewsGuard’s treatment of Instapundit, which Gordon Crovitz and I both read regularly but which has not received a green check.

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