Brad Smith is President of Microsoft and author (with Carol Ann Browne) of Tools and Weapons: The Promise and Peril of the Digital Age. The book is a collection of vignettes of the tech policy battles in the last decade or so. Smith had a ringside seat for most of them, and he recounts what he learned in a compelling and good-natured way in the book – and in this episode’s interview. Starting with the Snowden disclosures and the emotional reaction of Silicon Valley, through the CLOUD Act, Brad Smith and Microsoft displayed a relatively even keel while trying to reflect the interests of its many stakeholders. In that effort, Smith makes the case for more international cooperation in regulating digital technology. Along the way, he discloses how the Cyberlaw Podcast’s own Nate Jones and Amy Hogan-Burney became “Namy,” achieving a fame and moniker inside Microsoft that only Brangelina has achieved in the wider world. Finally, he sums up Microsoft’s own journey in the last quarter century as a recognition that humility is a better long-term strategy than hubris.

Continue Reading Episode 289: Brad Smith on Microsoft’s Journey from Hubris to Humility

We open the episode with David Kris’s thoughts on the two-years-late CFIUS investigation of TikTok, its Chinese owner, ByteDance, and ByteDance’s US acquisition of the lip-syncing company Musical.ly. Our best guess is that this unprecedented reach-back investigation will end in a more or less precedented mitigation agreement.

Continue Reading Episode 285: ByteDance bitten by CFIUS

Our interview is with Alex Joel, former Chief of the Office of Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Transparency at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Alex is now at the American University law school’s Tech, Law, and Security Program. We share stories about the difficulties of government startups and how the ODNI carved out a role for itself in the Intelligence Community (hint: It involved good lawyering). We dive pretty deep on recent FISA court opinions and the changes they forced in FBI procedures. In the course of that discussion, I realize that every “reform” of intelligence dreamed up by Congress in the last decade has turned out to be a self-licking compliance trap, and I take back some of my praise for the DNI’s lawyering.

Continue Reading Episode 283: Is intelligence “reform” a self-licking ice cream cone and compliance trap?

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.

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

Episode 190: Interview with United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

In our 190th episode Stewart Baker has a chance to interview United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has a long history of engagement with technology and security issues.  In this episode, we spend a remarkably detailed half-hour with him, covering the cybersecurity waterfront, from the

No holds are barred as a freewheeling panel of cryptographers and security pros duke it out with me and the Justice Department over going dark, exceptional access, and the Apple-FBI conflict.  Among the combatants:  Patrick Henry, a notable cryptographer with experience at GCHQ, NSA, and the private sector; Dan Kaminsky, the Chief Scientist at White Ops; Kiran Raj, who is Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General; and Dr. Zulfikar Ramzan the CTO of RSA Security.  Our thanks to Catherine Lotrionte who generously agreed to let me record this one-hour panel at her remarkable Annual International Conference on Cyber Engagement.
Continue Reading Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast – Interview with Patrick Henry, Dan Kaminsky, Kiran Raj, and Dr. Zulfikar Ramzan

What is the most surprising discovery a law firm partner makes when he jumps to the National Security Agency?  I direct that and other questions at Glenn Gerstell, who has just finished six months in the job as General Counsel at the National Security Agency.

In the news roundup, we begin, of course, with the fight between Apple and the Justice Department.  I open the discussion by reminding the audience that the war on terror cannot be a war on one of the world’s great religions and insisting that Apple remains a religion of peace.  Michael Vatis describes the Justice Department’s latest filing, and we trade for deep discovery, not only at the FBI but also at Apple.
Continue Reading Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast – Interview with Glenn Gerstell

Our guest commentator for episode 49 of the Steptoe Cyberlaw podcast is Juan Zarate, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the senior national security analyst for CBS News, a visiting lecturer at the Harvard Law School, and chairman and co-founder of the Financial Integrity Network.  Before joining CSIS,