Position / Title:
jennifer at law dot stanford dot edu
High Res Photo of Jennifer Granick
Photo credit: Michael Sugrue
High Res Photo of Jennifer Granick
Photo credit: Michael Sugrue
In the public debate over secret NSA spying, we keep hearing three refrains to justify, or at least accommodate people, to the U.S. government's surveillance practices. These are, "the spying is legal, so there's nothing improper", "mass surveillance is the price we have to pay for national security" and "I have nothing to hide so why should I worry?"
On Wednesday, news broke that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had been routinely collecting all call metadata on every Verizon (and presumably other telco) customer for the past seven years.
This has been a busy Internet law week. I'd like to sum up some of the more interesting developments:
I am a signatory to a letter to Rep. Robert Goodlatte and other legislators critiquing draft legislation reportedly slated for consideration this month that would amend the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by increasing penalties and expanding the scope of conduct punishable under the statute. The letter points out that the draft under discussion is a significant expansion of the CFAA at a time when
public opinion is demanding the law be narrowed. This language would, among other things:
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 a defendant’s conviction for website hacking should be overturned because legitimate, highly valuable security and privacy research commonly employs techniques that are essentially identical to what the defendant did and that such independent research is of great value to academics, government regulators and the public even when – often especially when — conducted without a website owner’s permission.
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.
After the Estate of James Joyce refused to allow a scholar to quote Joyce in her book, we successfully defended her right under the fair use doctrine to use the quotes she needed to illustrate her scholarship. After we prevailed in the case, the Estate paid $240,000 of our client’s legal fees.
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said no this week to tracking your movements using data from your cell phone without a warrant when it declared that this information is constitutionally protected.
Reed Hundt proposes democratic action in response to our government’s secret infrastructure for monitoring and controlling modern communications. “Citizens,” he writes, “should be encouraged to take action on behalf of their own privacy and security.”
Yesterday afternoon, the White House put out a statement describing its vulnerability disclosure policies: the contentious issue of whether and when government agencies should disclose their knowledge of computer vulnerabilities. The statement falls far short of a commitment to network security for all and fails to provide the reassurance the global public needs in the midst of the NSA’s security scandal.
"Riana Pfefferkorn, associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, said the strategy provided a false choice. "There’s this fundamental gut-level disgust that basically everyone has for the abuse of children,” Pfefferkorn said. “So, you can paint people who are trying to protect security and enhance [digital] protections as unsympathetic to preventing child sex abuse. I think it’s extremely cynical.”
Concerns are growing around privacy and government surveillance in today’s hyper-connected world. Technology is smarter and faster than ever — and so are government strategies for listening in.
"“We are thinking very much about functionality. What happens if the box is taken? Then obviously, if the box is taken we have technological concerns about the contents escaping,” Granick said. She added, “if someone does either subpoena or hack their way into the box we need to make sure that they’re not going to be able to see anything, without any opportunity for us to get into court to challenge it."
"“YouTube as a private company is well within its rights,” said Jennifer Granick, a speech and technology expert at the American Civil Liberties Union. But “YouTube will make mistakes, and over-censor.”"
"Jennifer Granick, a surveillance and cybersecurity counsel with the ACLU, explains that the purpose of the law “isn’t necessarily to protect the tech companies, but to protect the American people in having a platform where you can post information and post our stories, because if the platforms were liable for information that their users publish, then they wouldn’t be able to publish that information. They would have to go through some kind of advanced review process.”"
Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties, will speaking at the ISSA-LA Summitt.
More information: https://issalasummit9.wpengine.com/?page_id=285/#Granick
Title: American Spies, Modern Surveillance, and You
Join Just Security for a fireside chat on the current state of U.S. surveillance and a celebration of Jennifer Granick‘s new book, American Spies: Modern Surveillance, Why You Should Care, And What to Do About It. Opening remarks by Senator Ron Wyden.
US intelligence agencies - the eponymous American spies - are exceedingly aggressive, pushing and sometimes bursting through the technological, legal and political boundaries of lawful surveillance. Written for a general audience by a surveillance law expert, this book educates readers about how the reality of modern surveillance differs from popular understanding.
Jennifer Granick talks about how notions of privacy have changed over the years and where she thinks things are headed in the future. She is a professor at the Stanford School of Law and Director of Civil Liberties at the Center for Internet and Society, where she specializes in the intersection of engineering, privacy and the law.
What kind of surveillance assistance can the U.S. government force companies to provide? This issue has entered the public consciousness due to the FBI's demand in February that Apple write software to help it access the San Bernardino shooter's encrypted iPhone. Technical assistance orders can go beyond the usual government requests for user data, requiring a company to actively participate in the government's monitoring of the targeted user(s).
In this week's feature interview we're chatting with Stanford's very own Jennifer Granick about a recent ruling in a Virginia court that appears to give the FBI permission to hack into any computer it wants, sans warrant. Well that's what the headlines are screaming, anyway. But as you'll hear, it's not quite that black and white.
""What was remarkable was that the public hadn't seen the argument surfaced," says Jennifer Granick at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. She says Judge Orenstein was trying to stoke a public debate. "Judge Orenstein had concerns about whether the government's legal argument was a valid legal argument."