Of Interest

  • The Cybersecurity 202: Five Eyes demand for encryption workarounds raises stakes for tech companies

    Date published: 
    September 5, 2018

    "I certainly see this banding together as a way for the U.S. government to try to exert more gravitas in the U.S. debate,” said Riana Pfefferkorn, cryptography fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.

    “Many of the tech companies that are in the Five Eyes' sights are U.S.-based, and it naturally exerts more pressure on those companies to have five countries (most of which presumably provide significant user bases for those companies), not just the U.S., band together to press them on encryption,” she told me in an email."

  • Security Risks of Government Hacking

    Author(s): 
    Riana Pfefferkorn
    Publication Date: 
    September 5, 2018
    Publication Type: 
    White Paper / Report

    Abstract: As the use of encryption and other privacy-enhancing technologies has increased, government officials in the United States have sought ways to ensure law enforcement’s capability to access communications and other data in plaintext. One of those methods is government hacking, also called “equipment interference.” Government hacking allows investigators to exploit hardware and software vulnerabilities to gain remote access to target computers.

  • New Whitepaper: Security Risks of Government Hacking

    Today, CIS is publishing a whitepaper called “Security Risks of Government Hacking.” Also called “equipment interference” or “lawful hacking,” government hacking allows investigators to exploit hardware and software vulnerabilities to gain remote access to target computers. We hope our new publication will make a valuable contribution to policy discussions about this important topic.

  • 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.

  • Please stop sending sensitive messages via Slack

    Date published: 
    September 4, 2018

    "“It just shows how much education users need to do when they switch around between half a dozen apps, trying to figure out how each one works,” says Riana Pfefferkorn, a cryptography fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. “It would be great if we had a default encryption that any service would use so you wouldn’t have to be such a detective on your own behalf.”"

  • 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.

  • At Facebook and Twitter hearings, Congress needs to bring its A-game

    Date published: 
    August 31, 2018

    ""A lot of it has to do with public faith," said Jen King, director of Consumer Privacy at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. "Who can people hold accountable for protecting them? Who's going to get [tech leaders] in trouble if they get something wrong?""

  • The summer of hate speech

    Date published: 
    August 30, 2018

    "“Users are calling on online platforms to provide a moral code,” says Daphne Keller, director of the intermediary liability project at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society. “But we’ll never agree on what should come down. Whatever the rules, they’ll fail.” Humans and technical filters alike, according to Keller, will continue to make “grievous errors.”"

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