High Res Photo of Jennifer Granick
Photo credit: Michael Sugrue
This week, Eastern District of New York Judge Nicholas Garaufis rejected an FBI effort to use an individual’s cell phone tower records to track his movements over a 113 day period without first obtaining a warrant based on probable cause. Judge Garaufis’ opinion stakes some new ground and draws a line in the sand in the battle over location privacy. The reasoning may have some influence on location tracking and the Fourth Amendment, as the United States Supreme Court considers GPS tracking this term, in United States v. Jones. For more, click here.
This past weekend we saw another volley of rounds fired in the ongoing digital privacy wars. As with previous battles, this one started with the publication of an academic study and culminated in a class action lawsuit filed in the federal court in San Francisco.
July 19th was a big day in hacker news. First, the Department of Justice announced the arrests of sixteen individuals thought to be associated with Anonymous and LulzSec, the loosely affiliated hacker groups that have been romping through corporate networks (and consumer data) this summer. Second, Reddit founder Aaron Swartz was arrested and charged with mass download of academic articles from JSTOR, a non-profit that contracts with universities to make such research materials available for free to affiliated students and scholars. Read more.
[For the original of this post, with links, go to the ZwillGen blog]: The U.S. Supreme Court promises some interesting Fourth Amendment activity next term, having granted certiorari review in two important cases. In the first, United States v. Jones, FBI agents planted a GPS device on a car and then used it to track the position of the automobile every ten seconds for a full month, all without securing a search warrant. I helped file an amicus brief on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of the National Capital Area in Jones, urging the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to hold the search unconstitutional. It did, and that opinion is now on review. The Obama administration urged the high Court to reverse, arguing that individuals have no expectation of privacy in their movements on public streets under the 1973 case of U.S. v Knotts. In Knotts, officers used a beeper to help them figure out whether they were getting closer to or farther away from a can of drug precursor chemicals stored in a car. In the brief, we argued that Knotts didn't apply because the primitive beepers at use there were not analogous to the comprehensive surveillance information GPS technology can provide and the appellate court agreed:
On June 1, Judge Kaplan of the Southern District of New York dismissed the complaint in Hubbard v. Myspace. Hubbard is the latest case to reject the claim that a social network violated the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) by disclosing certain user information pursuant to law enforcement demands. Last month, this firm won a similar case, obtaining a dismissal in Sams v. Yahoo!. While the Sams case involved a subpoena for user records, the Hubbard case involved a Georgia search warrant for records and communications content.
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.
Reply brief of Movants-Appellants EFF, ACLU, and Riana Pfefferkorn to the Ninth Circuit in our appeal from the district court's denial of our motion to unseal filings in a sealed case wherein the Department of Justice allegedly sought to compel Facebook to comply with a wiretap order for Facebook's end-to-end encrypted voice calling app, Messenger.
Opening brief of Movants-Appellants EFF, ACLU, and Riana Pfefferkorn to the Ninth Circuit in our appeal from the district court's denial of our motion to unseal filings in a sealed case wherein the Department of Justice allegedly sought to compel Facebook to comply with a wiretap order for Facebook's end-to-end encrypted voice calling app, Messenger.
Brief of amici curiae ACLU, ACLU of Georgia, and Riana Pfefferkorn in support of appellant Victor Mobley in Mobley v. State, a Georgia Supreme Court case presenting the question of whether the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant for the seizure of digital data stored by a vehicle -- specifically, a car's event data recorder (EDR).
Reply brief in support of January 2019 objections to magistrate judge's report and recommendation.
"The Apple-FBI fight over encryption was a rare event. Most of the time, the public never has a clue when authorities come knocking and ask a company for “technical assistance” to help get access to digital communications. That makes the true scale of U.S. government surveillance hard to assess—even if we can glean that it’s pervasive nowadays. And probably equally as important, it doesn’t really allow the public to tell just how difficult it is for prosecutors to convince a judge that communications should be turned over.
"Jennifer Granick had harsh words at the Our Security Advocates Conference for the growing state of mass surveillance and government hacking in the United States.
Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, took the stage at OURSA on Tuesday to discuss the state of modern surveillance and hacking performed by the U.S. government, arguing that both cross the line of traditional legal searches.
"Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), noted that “increasingly, modern surveillance is mass surveillance” which can be facilitated by new technologies and the internet.
Secretive large scale surveillance differs from warrant-directed searches by the volume and depth of data and could be abetted by the ease of converting in-home appliances with microphones and cameras into “surveillance machines”, she said."
"Even Hutchins’s defenders say if he’s guilty some punishment is in order, but his prosecution also sends a mixed message. Hutchins had been a model of public-private cooperation at a time when the government was having difficulty recruiting cybersecurity talent. (James Comey irritated the community in 2014 when he said the FBI struggled to hire people because “some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview.”) Some security researchers said they would stop sharing information with the government in protest.
"“The law is clearly targeted at economic activity and is being applied to an entirely different category to suppress speech,” said Jennifer Granick, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union."
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".
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.
In the post-Snowden era, we don't have to tell you how important it is to stay engaged with (and vigilant about) the surveillance state in America. Jennifer Granick is the Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, and author of the new book American Spies — and this week she joins us for an in-depth discussion about the surveillance sta
Intelligence agencies in the U.S. (aka the American Spies) are exceedingly aggressive, pushing and sometimes bursting through the technological, legal and political boundaries of lawful surveillance.
The Snowden revelations, while dramatic, have done little to amp up public concern about personal surveillance.
After all, thanks to technology, electronic spying is cheap — so cheap the government can’t afford not to do it.
The internet makes access to information incredibly easy, and we normally see that as a good thing. But what if the information being accessed is details of our private lives? And what if the person accessing them is a government intelligence agency? This week we speak with Jennifer Granick, author of "American Spies" and director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, about the quest for privacy in the age of surveillance.