If your podcast feed has suddenly become a steady diet of more or less the same COVID-19 stories, here’s a chance to listen to cyber experts talk about what they know about – cyberlaw. Our interview is with Elsa Kania, adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and one of the most prolific students of China, technology, and national security. We talk about the relative strengths and weaknesses of the artificial intelligence ecosystems in the two countries.


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This Week in the Great Decoupling: The Commerce Department has rolled out proposed telecom and supply chain security rules that never once mention China. More accurately, the Department has rolled out a sketch of its preliminary thinking about proposed rules. Brian Egan and I tackle the substance and history of the proposal and conclude that the government is still fighting about the content of a policy it’s already announced. And to show that decoupling can go both ways, a US-based chip-tech group is moving to Switzerland to reassure its Chinese participants. Nick Weaver and I conclude that there’s a little less here than Reuters seems to think.


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If the surgeon about to operate on you has been disciplined for neglecting patients, wouldn’t you like to know? Well, the mandarins of the European Union privacy lobby beg to differ. Google has been told by a Dutch court not to index that story, and there seems to have been a six-month lag in disclosing even the court ruling. That’s part of this week’s News Roundup. Gus Hurwitz and I are appalled. I tout my long-standing view that in the end, privacy law just protects the privileged. Gus agrees.

The interview is with John Carlin, author of Dawn of the Code War. It’s a great inside story of how we came to indict China’s hacker-spies for attacking US companies.


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Brazen Russian intrusions into the US electricity grid lead our episode. I ask Matthew Heiman and Nick Weaver whether Russia intended for us to know about their intrusions (duh, yes!) and how we should respond to the implicit threat to leave Americans freezing in the dark. Their answers and mine show creativity if not exactly sobriety.


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Our interview this week is with Hon. Michael Chertoff, my former boss at Homeland Security and newly minted author of Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age. The conversation – and the book – is wide ranging and shows how much his views on privacy, data, and government have evolved in the decade since he left government. He’s a little friendlier to European notions of data protection, a little more cautious about government authority to access data, and even a bit more open to the idea of letting the victims of cyberattacks leave their networks to find their attackers (under government supervision, that is). It’s a thoughtful, practical meditation on where the digital revolution is taking us and how we should try to steer it.

Michael Chertoff and Stewart Baker
Michael Chertoff and Stewart Baker


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155: Debating Hackback

Episode 155 of the podcast offers something new:  equal time for opposing views.  Well, sort of, anyway.  In place of our usual interview, we’re running a debate over hacking back that CSIS sponsored last week.  I argue that US companies should be allowed to hack back; I’m opposed by Greg Nojeim,

Podcast 120European hypocrisy on data protection is a lot like the weather.  Everyone complains about it but no one does anything about it.  Until today.

In episode 120, we announce the launch of the Europocrisy Prize.  With the support of TechFreedom, we’re seeking tax deductible donations for a prize designed to encourage the proliferation of Schrems-style

Our guest, Patrick Gray, is the host of the excellent Risky Business security podcast.  He introduces us to the cybersecurity equivalent of decapitation by paper cut and offers a technologist’s take on multiple policy and legal issues.  In the news roundup, Michael explains the many plaintiff-friendly rulings obtained by the banks suing Home Depot over its data breach.  We wonder whether the rulings are so plaintiff-friendly that the banks will eventually regret their successes.  Michael also explains just how deliberately meaningless is the Supreme Court decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins.
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