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:
Reply brief in support of January 2019 objections to magistrate judge's report and recommendation.
Three dimensional printing turns bits into atoms. The technology is simply amazing. These machines draw on programming, art and engineering to enable people to design and build intricate, beautiful, functional jewelry, machine parts, toys and even shoes. In the commercial sector, 3D printing can revolutionize supply chains as well. As the public interest group Public Knowledge wrote once, "It will be awesome if they don't screw it up."
Jennifer Granick will be presenting her paper Principles for Regulation of Government Surveillance in the Age of Big Data.
For more information visit: http://law.scu.edu/hightech/2013-internet-law-wip.cfm
Solutions to many pressing economic and societal challenges lie in better understanding data. New tools for analyzing disparate information sets, called Big Data, have revolutionized our ability to find signals amongst the noise. Big Data techniques hold promise for breakthroughs ranging from better health care, a cleaner environment, safer cities, and more effective marketing. Yet, privacy advocates are concerned that the same advances will upend the power relationships between government, business and individuals, and lead to prosecutorial abuse, racial or other profiling, discrimination, redlining, overcriminalization, and other restricted freedoms.
Have you ever borrowed a smartphone without asking? Modified a URL? Scraped a website? Called an undocumented API? Congratulations: you might have violated federal law! A 1986 statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), provides both civil and criminal remedies for mere "unauthorized" access to a computer.
The Journal of National Security Law & Policy and The Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law proudly present "Swimming in the Ocean of Big Data: National Security in an Age of Unlimited Information".
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."