This episode features a much deeper, and more diverse, examination of the Fifth Circuit decision upholding Texas’s social media law. We devote the last half of the episode to a structured dialogue about the opinion between Adam Candeub and Alan Rozenshtein. Both have written about it already, Alan critically and Adam supportively.

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

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

This week’s Cyberlaw Podcast covers efforts to pull the Supreme Court into litigation over the Texas law treating social media platforms like common carriers and prohibiting them from discriminating based on viewpoint when they take posts down. I predict that the Court won’t overturn the appellate decision staying an unpersuasive district court opinion. Mark

Nick Weaver kicks off a wide-ranging episode by celebrating Treasury’s imposition of sanctions on a cryptocurrency mixer for facilitating the laundering of stolen cryptocurrency. David Kris calls on Justice to step up its game in the face of this competition, while Nick urges Treasury to next sanction Tornado Cash — and explains why this

Much of this episode is devoted to how modern networks and media are influencing what has become a major shooting war between Russia and Ukraine. Dmitri Alperovitch gives a sweeping overview. Ukraine and its President, Volodymyr Zelensky, clearly won the initial stages of the war in cyberspace, turning broad Western sympathy into a deeper

In this episode, I interview Thomas Rid about his illuminating study of Russian disinformation, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare. It lays out a century of Soviet, East European, and Russian disinformation, beginning with an elaborate and successful operation against the White Russian expatriate resistance to Bolshevik rule in the 1920s. Rid has dug into recently declassified material using digital tools that enable him to tell previously untold tales – the Soviets’ remarkable success in turning opposition to US nuclear missiles in Europe into a mass movement (and the potential shadow it casts on the legendary Adm. Hyman Rickover, father of the US nuclear navy), the unimpressive record of US disinformation compared to the ruthless Soviet version, and the fake American lobbyist (and real German agent) who persuaded a German conservative legislator to save Willy Brandt’s leftist government. We close with two very different predictions about the kind of disinformation we’ll see in the 2020 campaign.

Continue Reading Episode 312: Russia’s online disinformation has a 100-year history

David Kris, Paul Rosenzweig, and I dive deep on the big tech issue of the COVID-19 contagion: Whether (but mostly how) to use mobile phone location services to fight the virus. We cover the Israeli approach, as well as a host of solutions adopted in Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and elsewhere. I’m a big fan of Singapore, which produced in a week an app that Nick Weaver thought would take a year.

In our interview, evelyn douek, currently at the Berkman Klein Center and an SJD candidate at Harvard, takes us deep into content moderation. Displaying a talent for complexifying an issue we all want to simplify, she explains why we can’t live with social platform censorship and why we can’t live without it. She walks us through the growth of content moderation, from spam, through child porn, and on to terrorism and “coordinated inauthentic behavior” – the identification of which, evelyn assures me, does not require an existentialist dance instructor. Instead, it’s the latest and least easily defined category of speech to be suppressed by Big Tech. It’s a mare’s nest, but I, for one, intend to aggravate our new Tech Overlords for as long as possible.

Continue Reading Episode 308: Location, location, location. And the virus.

That’s the question I debate with David Kris and Nick Weaver as we explore the ways in which governments are using location data to fight the spread of COVID-19. Phone location data is being used to enforce quarantines and to track contacts with infected people. It’s useful for both, but Nick thinks the second application may not really be ready for a year – too late for this outbreak.

Our interview subject is Jason Healey, who has a long history with Cyber Command and a deep recent oeuvre of academic commentary on cyber conflict. Jay explains Cyber Command’s doctrine of “persistent engagement” and “defending forward” in words that I finally understand. It makes sense in terms of Cyber Command’s aspirations as well as the limitations it labored under in the Obama Administration, but I end up wondering whether it’s going to be different from “deterrence through having the best offense.” Nothing wrong with that, in my view – as long as you have the best offense by a long shot, something that is by no means proven.

Continue Reading Episode 307: Is privacy in pandemics like atheism in foxholes?

We interview Dmitri Alperovitch of CrowdStrike on the company’s 2019 Global Threat Report, which features a ranking of Western cyber adversaries based on how long it takes each of them to turn a modest foothold into code execution on a compromised network. The Russians put up truly frightening numbers – from foothold to execution in less than twenty minutes – but the real surprise is the North Koreans, who clock in at 2:20. The Chinese take the bronze at just over 4 hours. Dmitri also gives props to a newcomer – South Korea – whose skills are substantial.

Continue Reading Episode 252: In the cyber adversary Olympics, it’s Russia for the gold and North Korea (!) for the silver