Riana Pfefferkorn is the Associate Director of Surveillance and Cybersecurity at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Her work, made possible through funding from the Stanford Cyber Initiative, focuses on investigating and analyzing the U.S. government's policy and practices for forcing decryption and/or influencing crypto-related design of online platforms and services, devices, and products, both via technical means and through the courts and legislatures. Riana also researches the benefits and detriments of strong encryption on free expression, political engagement, economic development, and other public interests.
Prior to joining Stanford, Riana was an associate in the Internet Strategy & Litigation group at the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where she worked on litigation and counseling matters involving online privacy, Internet intermediary liability, consumer protection, copyright, trademark, and trade secrets and was actively involved in the firm's pro bono program. Before that, Riana clerked for the Honorable Bruce J. McGiverin of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. She also interned during law school for the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Riana earned her law degree from the University of Washington School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Whitman College.
High Res Photo of Riana Pfefferkorn
You may recall that in February, a federal district court in Fresno denied a petition I filed with the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Northern California, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to attempt to shed light on the Department of Justice's attempt to force Facebook to break the encryption on its Messenger app for encrypted voice calls so that Facebook could carry out a wiretap order the DOJ had obtained.
Today I'm submitting my latest entry in a series of comments to Australia's Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security to remind them what a terrible idea the Assistance and Access Act is.
After 32 months of litigation, my quest to unseal my local federal district court's sealed surveillance docket has ended with not a single page unsealed and no prospective reforms in place.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” – The Wizard of Oz
Encryption helps human rights workers, activists, journalists, financial institutions, innovative businesses, and governments protect the confidentiality, integrity, and economic value of their activities. However, strong encryption may mean that governments cannot make sense of data they would otherwise be able to lawfully access in a criminal or intelligence investigation.
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.
Submission to Australia's Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) regarding its review of the Assistance and Access Act that had passed into law in early December 2018.
Opening brief of Movants-Appellants EFF, ACLU, and Riana Pfefferkorn to the Ninth Circuit in our appeal from the district court's denial of our motion to unseal filings in a sealed case wherein the Department of Justice allegedly sought to compel Facebook to comply with a wiretap order for Facebook's end-to-end encrypted voice calling app, Messenger.
The key term that recurs throughout Henry Farrell’s and Bruce Schneier’s essay is “trust.” That is no surprise, as the concept unites both authors’ bodies of work: Schneier, a security expert, and Farrell, a political scientist, have each written books about it. Security enables trust, and trust enables a functioning democracy.
Brief of amici curiae ACLU, ACLU of Georgia, and Riana Pfefferkorn in support of appellant Victor Mobley in Mobley v. State, a Georgia Supreme Court case presenting the question of whether the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant for the seizure of digital data stored by a vehicle -- specifically, a car's event data recorder (EDR).
Reply brief in support of January 2019 objections to magistrate judge's report and recommendation.
"The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has landed in appeals court to see through a case which hopes to expose the US government's anti-encryption tactics.
On Wednesday, the civil rights group asked the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to unseal documents relating to a ruling made by a judge to prevent the US Department of Justice (DoJ) from forcing Facebook to purposely break Facebook Messenger encryption protocols.
"“It’s becoming harder to escape the reach of police using technology that didn’t exist before,” said Riana Pfefferkorn, the associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. “And now we are in the position of trying to walk that back and stem the tide.”"
"“Apple was well known for usability before it was known for privacy,” says Riana Pfefferkorn, associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society."
"In a Stanford CIS blog post, Pfefferkorn said she found hope in the opinion. “For one, the court rejected the government’s unfounded attempt to argue that we lack standing to seek to unseal these records at all,” she wrote. “It is well-established that members of the public have standing to seek to unseal sealed court records, and the court refused to depart from that settled law.
A media nonprofit summit celebrating World Press Freedom Day.
Hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists, the oldest and most broad-based journalism professional association in the United States.
Advanced technologies are revolutionizing how the government investigates, charges and prosecutes criminal cases—and defense attorneys must keep pace. Even small police departments can purchase powerful surveillance technologies, and internet companies collect vast troves of data on virtually everyone. This two-day CLE conference will discuss the government's use of technologically advanced investigative techniques in criminal cases, and the issues raised by those techniques under the Fourth Amendment and other federal law.
New software tools use artificial intelligence to create realistic-looking but fake videos of real people seeming to say and do things they never did. These so-called "deepfakes" will soon cause a number of problems for the courts, particularly when it comes to authenticating evidence in litigation. They may even undermine the justice system by eroding juries' belief in the knowability of what is real. Come discuss the implications of deepfakes for trial practice with CIS Associate Director of Surveillance and Cybersecurity Riana Pfefferkorn.
Since its start in 2001, the SF ISACA Fall Conference continues to be the premier education event for information technology audit, security, governance, risk and compliance professionals in Northern California. The SF ISACA Fall conference features five tracks packed with top flight speakers and cutting edge topics. CIS's Riana Pfefferkorn and Ryan Singel will be speaking at the event.
For more information visit the conference website.
In this episode, The Stream speaks with tech industry experts and policy analysts to explore whether the Indian government’s plan will ensure public safety or set a dangerous precedent.
We're yet to see the details of the deal between the Government and Labor which would allow the passage of laws to give police and investigators access to encrypted messages.
That leaves one more day in this sitting of Parliament to get the laws through, after the Government claimed there was an urgent need to do so before Christmas.
Riana Pfefferkorn is a digital security expert and Cryptography Fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. She says that we are living in the “Golden Age of Surveillance,” in which the growing ubiquity of data-rich smart devices has produced a fundamental tension between the rights of users to protect their personal data and the needs of law enforcement to investigate or prevent serious crimes.