High Res Photo of Jennifer Granick
Photo credit: Michael Sugrue
In September 2016, we filed a Petition in the Northern District of California (the federal district court for the Bay Area and much of Northern California) asking the court to unseal years’ worth of surveillance matters filed there. We had our first hearing before the court on May 4.
Senator Chris Coons, Democrat from Delaware, offered a bill today that would delay implementation of proposed changes to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41 for six months. Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society and Mozilla have been studying issues related to government hacking including the Rule 41 changes.
Researchers at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society (CIS) filed a petition yesterday seeking to unseal judicial records in San Francisco federal district court. Their goal is to reveal how the federal government uses U.S. law to obligate smartphone manufacturers and Internet companies to decrypt private user data, turn over encryption keys, or otherwise assist law enforcement with digital surveillance.
On Monday, I wrote a post for Just Security where I reflected on last week's news concerning the FBI's attempts to coerce Apple into creating a forensic bypass to the iPhone passcode lockout. I wrote that we live in a software-defined world. In 2000, Lawrence Lessig wrote that Code is Law — the software and hardware that comprise cyberspace are powerful regulators that can either protect or threaten liberty. A few years ago, Mark Andreessen wrote that software was eating the world, pointing to a trend that is hockey sticking today. Software is redefining everything, even national defense.
Arguing that a defendant’s conviction for website hacking should be overturned because legitimate, highly valuable security and privacy research commonly employs techniques that are essentially identical to what the defendant did and that such independent research is of great value to academics, government regulators and the public even when – often especially when — conducted without a website owner’s permission.
Arguing that if the court should not compel Apple to create software to enable unlocking and search of the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, it will jeopardize digital and personal security more generally.
After the Estate of James Joyce refused to allow a scholar to quote Joyce in her book, we successfully defended her right under the fair use doctrine to use the quotes she needed to illustrate her scholarship. After we prevailed in the case, the Estate paid $240,000 of our client’s legal fees.
In this case, two archives challenged statutes that extended copyright terms unconditionally—the Copyright Renewal Act and the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA)—as unconstitutional under Copyright Clause and the First Amendment.
Today, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced that it would stop some of the surveillance it conducts on the telecommunications backbone under authority granted by section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.
On Wednesday, the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes (R-CA), gave a press conference in which he reported that Trump transition team members’ communications were intercepted by US intelligence agencies through “incidental collection.” This follows on Nunes’ concerns, after Michael Flynn stepped down following intelligence reports that he had talked to the Russian ambassador.
"Jennifer Granick, a lawyer with the ACLU’s technology division, said that abuses of power will become unavoidable if companies continue to face pressure to moderate their content.
“It's not a surprise that Twitter employees have this capability,” Granick said. “The public and Congress have been demanding that the platform companies create the ability to ban people from the platform or delete particular messages.”"
"“There’s always been employees who have misused the keys,” said ACLU surveillance and cybersecurity counsel Jennifer Granick. She pointed to the tension among some who would prefer that tech platforms censor users' content, whether that’s policing Russian-planted accounts and ads or kicking Trump off Twitter for what they perceive as hate speech. “They’re under extreme pressure from Congress,” she said."
"“Congress has subpoena power, of course,” says Al Gidari, the director of privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, who previously represented several big tech companies in national security cases.
"Albert Gidari, Director of Privacy for the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, told us he agrees with the EFF’s argument:
Asking for metadata on everyone that visits a particular website implicates more than just the particularity required by the 4th Amendment. It implicates the 1st Amendment rights of anyone that visited the site.
"It can be tempting to try to hide information or use technological tricks such as 'duress passwords' that, if used instead of the genuine one, unlock the device but keep a portion of the data hidden and encrypted. But Jennifer Granick, who studies cybersecurity law at Stanford University in California, warns against such strategies. “You don't want to lie to a government agent. That can be a crime.” And border guards are not likely to be sympathetic to the argument that a researcher has a legal duty to prevent anyone from seeing confidential data.
Eight years ago, Barack Obama arrived in Washington pledging to reverse the dramatic expansion of state surveillance his predecessor had presided over in the name of fighting terrorism. Instead, the Obama administration saw the Bush era’s “collect it all” approach to surveillance become still more firmly entrenched. Meanwhile, the advanced spying technologies once limited to intelligence agencies have been gradually trickling down to local police departments.
Join Mozilla and Stanford CIS for the second installment in a series of conversations about government hacking. Information from our first event, discussing the upcoming changes to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41, are available at that event’s page here.
On December 1, 2016, significant and controversial changes to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41 are scheduled go into effect. Today, Rule 41 prohibits a federal judge from issuing a search warrant outside of the judge’s district, with some exceptions.Traditionally, federal judges may only issue warrants that will be executed within their own districts. The revised Rule 41 would permit judges to issue search and seizure warrants for computers outside their jurisdictions, in two circumstances: if the computer’s true location has been hidden through technological means (such as Tor), or, in a computer-hacking investigation under the CFAA, if the affected computers are located in five or more districts.
Stanford CIS brings together scholars, academics, legislators, students, programmers, security researchers, and scientists to study the interaction of new technologies and the law and to examine how the synergy between the two can either promote or harm public goods like free speech, innovation, privacy, public commons, diversity, and scientific inquiry. Come hear CIS Directors Jennifer Granick + Daphne Keller and Resident Fellows Riana Pfefferkorn + Luiz Fernando Marrey Moncau talk about our work, and the assistance CIS provides to students in learning about these issues, selecting courses, identifying job opportunities, and making professional connections.
If you attended a recent march to protest, wrote a check to the ACLU, or recently visited a politically leaning website, consider yourself an activist, says Stanford legal scholar Granick. Not only might the government be watching you, but your digital footprint could end up being visible to people and organizations you never imagined would care. Know your risks and take safety precautions, advises Granick, or don’t be surprised at the troubling outcome.
In the post-Snowden era, we don't have to tell you how important it is to stay engaged with (and vigilant about) the surveillance state in America. Jennifer Granick is the Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, and author of the new book American Spies — and this week she joins us for an in-depth discussion about the surveillance sta
Intelligence agencies in the U.S. (aka the American Spies) are exceedingly aggressive, pushing and sometimes bursting through the technological, legal and political boundaries of lawful surveillance.
The Snowden revelations, while dramatic, have done little to amp up public concern about personal surveillance.
After all, thanks to technology, electronic spying is cheap — so cheap the government can’t afford not to do it.
The internet makes access to information incredibly easy, and we normally see that as a good thing. But what if the information being accessed is details of our private lives? And what if the person accessing them is a government intelligence agency? This week we speak with Jennifer Granick, author of "American Spies" and director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, about the quest for privacy in the age of surveillance.