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Springtime for CISPA

Spring is here. The flowers are in bloom, the days are longer, and Congress queues up for another legislative proposal to 'address' cybersecurity in the United States. Yes -- springtime is CISPA-time.

Last year, on April 18, 2013, I discussed the "Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act" (CISPA) as it moved through the US House.  (And thankfully failed.) Read more » about Springtime for CISPA

First European Constitutional Court Suspends Data Retention After the Decision of the Court of Justice of EU

Shortly after a series of coordinated suicide attacks in Madrid in 2004 and central London in 2005, the European Union reacted by passing the so called Data Retention Directive. The Directive obliged all the Member States to implement laws forcing telecommunication providers to monitor and store a wide range of meta-data about the Internet and phone activities of its citizens for period ranging from several months to years. The hope was that this data could help Europe to better fight terrorism and other serious crimes. Strong protests of citizens in some of the Member States could not stop this massive scale surveillance. This month, the Court of Justice of the European Union -- in its historical role as a constitutional court -- repealed the entire Data Retention Directive and also broadly squashed any future hopes for similarly far-reaching measures. And the national institutions of the Member States seem to be reacting to this decision. In the wake of the decision, the Slovak Constitutional Court last week temporarily suspended the Slovak national implementation until a review on merits is completed.

The FCC changed course on network neutrality. Here is why you should care.

Wednesday's press reports of the new network neutrality rules proposed by FCC Chairman Wheeler have been met with anger and confusion. According to the Wall Street Journal, "[r]egulators are proposing new rules on Internet traffic that would allow broadband providers to charge companies a premium for access to their fastest lanes. […] [T]he proposal would […] allow providers to give preferential treatment to traffic from some content providers, as long as such arrangements are available on 'commercially reasonable' terms for all interested content companies. Whether the terms are commercially reasonable would be decided by the FCC on a case-by-case basis." Read more » about The FCC changed course on network neutrality. Here is why you should care.

Fourth Circuit Upholds Contempt Against Lavabit, Doesn’t Decide Gov’t Access to Encryption Keys

Today the Fourth Circuit refrained from deciding the first legal challenge to government seizure of the master encryption keys that secure our communications with web sites and email servers.  Nevertheless, the Court upheld contempt of court sanctions, because of the Lavabit owner’s foot dragging during proceedings. Lavabit had failed to raise the substantive issues below, it decided, thus precluding appellate review. Read more » about Fourth Circuit Upholds Contempt Against Lavabit, Doesn’t Decide Gov’t Access to Encryption Keys

ECPA reform is not just a U.S. issue

It doesn’t matter where in the world a police officer is, if he or she wants to access an individual’s Gmail or Facebook records (or many other US-based products), that access is governed by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Despite this, ECPA does not directly address the issue of foreign law enforcement access. This has created a confusing system that does not adequately protect the privacy of users or facilitate legitimate international criminal investigations and prosecutions. Read more » about ECPA reform is not just a U.S. issue

My Comments On NSA Spying to PCLOB

Today I filed comments with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) in connection with its hearing on section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. That law is the legal basis for the PRISM surveillance program and involves warrantless collection of communications contents via targeting non-U.S. individuals or entities reasonably believed to be located abroad. I've written previously about questions the PCLOB should investigate with regards to section 702. Read more » about My Comments On NSA Spying to PCLOB

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