High Res Photo of Jennifer Granick
Photo credit: Michael Sugrue
Today’s reporting by the Intercept calls into question whether the NSA minimizes so-called metadata relating to Americans’ digital communications and telephone calls. This is one of the questions I implored the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) to get to the bottom of. It is a question that PCLOB Chairman David Medine thought the Board had a definitive—affirmative--answer to. But today’s story shows doubt still plagues our understanding of how the NSA’s information collection affects American privacy.
TL;DR: A little bit, but not enough.
Yesterday, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) issued a massive report about the legally and technologically complicated government surveillance program operating under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act
Today, the Eleventh Circuit rejected the exceedingly common law enforcement practice of warrantlessly tracking suspects’ physical location using cell phone tower data. The opinion, United States v. Davis, is both welcome and overdue. Defendants who have and will be physically tracked without a warrant have new legal support to challenge that surveillance.
On Friday, Congress will vote on a mutated version of security threat sharing legislation that had previously passed through the House and Senate. These earlier versions would have permitted private companies to share with the federal government categories of data related to computer security threat signatures. Companies that did so would also receive legal immunity from liability under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and other privacy laws.
Here’s the latest in the encryption case we’ve been writing about in which the Justice Department is asking Magistrate Judge James Orenstein to order Apple to unlock a criminal defendant’s passcode-protected iPhone. The government seized and has authority to search the phone pursuant to a search warrant.
Pending before federal magistrate judge James Orenstein is the government’s request for an order obligating Apple, Inc. to unlock an iPhone and thereby assist prosecutors in decrypting data the government has seized and is authorized to search pursuant to a warrant.
Last week, we wrote about an order from a federal magistrate judge in New York that questioned the government’s ability, under an ancient federal law called the All Writs Act, to compel Apple to decrypt a locked device which the government had seized and is authorized to search pursuant to a warrant.
"How long have you operated with that assumption?
Probably 20 years. I had an incident occur in my hotel room at Black Hat. My room was broken into, and my tech was compromised. They pulled the hard drive out of the wall safe, plugged it into my Linux laptop, booted it up off of a different drive, and then accessed files and copied it. Then they put the drive back in the safe.
"“There’s a secretive process with no real appeal where people are making extremely difficult subjective calls that have to do with politics, culture and religion,” said Jennifer Granick, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. “This example shows why it is dangerous. If I want to find good information about vaccines, I can’t find it.”"
"Jen King, director of consumer privacy at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, thinks it's a sign Facebook may be ready to actually take privacy seriously. "It's possible that Facebook has finally gotten the memo and is really trying to make change," King told WIRED.
"Some cyberlaw experts fear a ruling against Grindr will put the creativity of the internet as we know it at risk. They say that requiring platforms to more closely monitor users would give an advantage to tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google while hindering smaller startups with niche audiences, including Grindr. It would be more expensive to start new businesses online because of the cost of hiring watchdogs, said Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union.
""So far, we've likely only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the government’s use of hacking in criminal and immigration investigations,” Jennifer Granick, the ACLU's surveillance and cybersecurity counsel, said in a statement after the suit was filed."
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Stanford Cryptography Policy Project, we are holding an afternoon event highlighting our research and accomplishments over the past year. As our keynote speakers, it is our pleasure to welcome the Honorable Stephen W. Smith, Magistrate Judge of the Southern District of Texas, and Paul S. Grewal, former Magistrate Judge of the Northern District of California.
On Wednesday, February 17, The Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford, The Center for International Governance Innovation, and the Research Advisory Network of the Global Commission on Internet Governance will present an all-day conference entitled "New Alliances in Cybersecurity, Human Rights and Internet Governance." The conference will discuss the challenges of creating a regime of internet governance that pays attention to security and human rights in the digital context.
Over the course of two days in February 2016, the Strauss Center at the University of Texas-Austin will host a unique and timely conference focused on the legal and policy dimensions of cybersecurity.