Of Interest

  • American Spies

    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.

  • Looking Forward to Our Driverless Future

    Date published: 
    May 19, 2017

    "The challenges are legal as well as technological. Bryant Walker Smith, a member of the legal faculty at the University of South Carolina, says that “historically the federal government has regulated new motor vehicle design, while states have regulated these noncommercial drivers and driving. So here we have an instance where the vehicle is becoming the driver, and that tends to blur some of the lines between the federal role and the state role.”"

  • Jailed for a Facebook post: how US police target critics with arrest and prosecution

    Date published: 
    May 18, 2017

    "“For a country that purports to be guided by democracy and guided by civil rights, this is a very dangerous and very slippery slope,” said Malkia Cyril, the executive director of the Center for Media Justice. “Black activists are expressing anger, rage, hatred even about the conditions that threaten their daily lives, and they are being held liable for how they express that anger, even though they’ve committed no crime.”"

  • Ransomware attack is why we can't have security backdoors, say privacy advocates

    Date published: 
    May 18, 2017

    "What happened this week won’t be lost on judges in the future should the government again try to get tech companies to build backdoor access into programs,  said Kristen Eichensehr, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles with an expertise in national security law and cybersecurity.

    “What we’ve seen happen with WannaCry lends credence to that — and certainly any court is going to take it into account. The government has shown that it itself is persistently incapable of keeping its tools secure,” she said."

  • Trump’s values are abhorrent to the Federalist Society of conservative lawyers. That doesn’t stop them from helping him.

    Author(s): 
    Henry Farrell
    Publication Date: 
    May 17, 2017
    Publication Type: 
    Other Writing

    New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin describes the Federalist Society as an enormously influential network of conservative lawyers. Its executive vice president, Leonard Leo, played a key role in the nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and has quietly advised the Trump administration on other judicial nominations. Yet few people outside the legal profession know what the Federalist Society is.

  • How the WannaCry Attack Will Impact Cyber Security

    Date published: 
    May 16, 2017

    "Meanwhile, threats of similar – or perhaps worse – attacks have continued to surface. “This was not the big one. This was a precursor of a far worse attack that will inevitably strike — and it is likely, unfortunately, that [the next] attack will not have a kill switch,” said Andrea M. Matwyshyn, professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University.

  • The U.S. census is in trouble. This is why it’s crucial to what the nation knows about itself.

    Author(s): 
    Henry Farrell
    Publication Date: 
    May 15, 2017
    Publication Type: 
    Other Writing

    The U.S. census has recently been the subject of political argument. After contentious discussions before a congressional panel, John Thompson, the director of the Census Bureau, stepped down last week. To provide background information on the census and what it does, I interviewed Kenneth Prewitt, the Carnegie professor of public affairs and the vice president for global centers at Columbia University, and a former director of the Census Bureau, about how the census works, why it has become political and why it remains important.

  • Cybercriminals have just mounted a massive worldwide attack. Here’s how NSA secrets helped them.

    Author(s): 
    Henry Farrell
    Publication Date: 
    May 12, 2017
    Publication Type: 
    Other Writing

    Computers around the world are suffering an attack from malicious software. The compromised computers have been hit by “ransomware” — software that encrypts the computer’s hard drive so that all the information on it is unavailable, and refuses to release it until a ransom is paid in Bitcoin, an online currency that is difficult to trace.

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