Stanford Law School Appoints Judge Stephen Smith as Director of Fourth Amendment & Open Courts at the Center for Internet and Society

Stanford Law School today announced the appointment of retired Federal Judge Stephen Wm. Smith as Director, Fourth Amendment & Open Courts at the Center for Internet and Society (CIS). Smith will focus on the constitutionality of digital search and surveillance, as well as public access to court records authorizing those investigative techniques.

Tool Without A Handle: Tools and the Search for Meaning

“Tool Without A Handle”: Tools and the Search for Meaning

In a New York Times review of Edward Tenner’s book The Efficiency Paradox, Gal Beckerman observes that a key point is not simply to watch how much time we spend using technology, but to remember that “the tools we’ve invented to improve our lives are just that, tools, to be picked up and put down. We wield them.”

Which pretty succinctly states the main point of this entire series of blog posts: that human agency matters. Or, perhaps more directly, that while we all know human agency matters, we all too frequently overlook that point. This post (on Labor Day, 2018) thus asks what is the real value of human agency? By identifying value in it, I hope to set the stage for future posts on the urgency of fostering greater awareness of it.

CRYPTO 2018: “Middle Ground” Proposals for a Going-Dark Fix

On August 19, the CRYPTO 2018 conference on cryptographic research hosted a one-day workshop in Santa Barbara called “Encryption and Surveillance.” The goal of the workshop was to “examine how encryption and related technologies pose both challenges and opportunities for surveillance and reform of surveillance.” I was fortunate to be able to attend this workshop, listen to the panelists’ presentations, and observe the intelligent discussion between speakers and attendees about the topics at hand.

Google privacy. Oxymoron?

If you use Google, have you ever read their privacy policy? If you haven’t, please keep reading. The policy delineates under what circumstances Google can peruse your information, including your e-mails, for disclosure to third parties.

Comments on DOJ's "Cyber-Digital Task Force" Report

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice’s “Cyber-Digital Task Force” released a report “assess[ing] the Department’s work in the cyber area.” The report, which runs over 150 pages, covers a broad range of topics. Among these, in the “Looking Ahead” chapter, is “Going Dark”: DOJ’s name for a constellation of issues that render the government “unable to obtain critical information in an intelligible and usable form (or at all),” primarily encryption (and default encryption in particular).

Failing the Real Test: SB 822 No Longer Restores All the Lost Net Neutrality Protections

On June 20, SB 822 had its first committee hearing in the California Assembly. The bill, authored by Senator Scott Wiener, sought to bring back net neutrality to California and restore all of the important protections that the FCC voted to eliminate in December. It was widely viewed as a net neutrality model bill that would set the standard for other states. But instead of passing the bill, the committee adopted amendments that effectively gutted it, removing critical protections at a time when they are more important than ever. 

FBI v. Apple -- Round 2 . . .

How important is your iPhone privacy? Does it defeat law enforcement's interest in obtaining evidence of child pornography productions from your iPhone? According to a recent New York Times article, Apple decided to plug a privacy hole in its iPhone through which law enforcement could crawl. This plug was in response to FBI's previous end-run around iPhone software.


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