High Res Photo of Jennifer Granick
Photo credit: Michael Sugrue
Today’s report from the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies–”Liberty And Security In A Changing World”—is impressive in a number of ways. Importantly, it pushes consideration of the privacy and civil liberties rights of non-U.S. persons into the policy debate. Old-school national security wonks commonly express distain for the idea that the U.S.
Today, the federal District Court for the District of Columbia held that the NSA's bulk telephone metadata collection program under the USA PATRIOT Act violates the 4th Amendment. This is a tremendously important ruling--the first time a public court has had the chance to rule on programs revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Given the program's constitutional infirmities, it is more important than ever that Congress end this misuse of the USA PATRIOT Act. However, Deputy Attorney General James Cole testified earlier this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the NSA might continue its bulk collection of nearly all domestic phone call records, even if Congress does just that. The USA FREEDOM ACT has bipartisan sponsorship from dozens of lawmakers, all of whom agree that the core purpose of the bill is to end NSA dragnet collection of Americans’ communication data. Yet, Cole said that the reform legislation wouldn’t necessarily inhibit the NSA’s surveillance capabilities because “it’s going to depend on how the court interprets any number of the provisions that are in [the legislation].” Comments like this betray a serious problem inside the Executive Branch. The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat. Read more.
In the latest news report based on documents revealed by Edward Snowden, we’ve learned that the NSA creates profiles of porn viewing, online sexual activity and more from its vast database of Internet content and transactional data as part of a plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through speeches promoting disfavored—but not necessarily violent—political views.
In a new post over at Just Security, I look at the recently declassified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) opinions on bulk collection of Internet "metadata". These opinions show that, once again, the NSA has conducted illegal spying. The new documents reveal the National Security Agency’s (NSA) systemic violation of rules for domestic collection and use of Internet metadata.
Last week’s big cybersecurity news was that the FBI obtained a court order to force Apple to develop new software that would bypass several iPhone security features so the FBI can attempt to unlock the work phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Apple plans to challenge that order. (Full disclosure: I am planning on writing a technologists’ amicus brief on Apple’s side in that challenge.)
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.
"In a session at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, Stanford Center for Internet and Society director of Civil Liberties Jennifer Granick and Cryptography Fellow Riana Pfefferkorn, acknowledged that there is more information about us than ever before, with sensors both on and offline. All encryption is doing, they said, is removing a fraction of law enforcement.
"Touching on cases like the Snowden or the Lavabit incidents, the duo strongly emphasized that companies should start asking themselves a couple of questions before law enforcement actually comes knocking at their door. Knowing what they collect, how they store it, for how long, why, what can it access, does it encrypt data and where are keys stored – are only a few of them.
"3. How to push back against law enforcement requests
"“How can we tell if the court process is legitimate if so much of it is under seal?” asked Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society."
"“The lawsuit is asking for two things,” said Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society.
“That people be notified eventually, if they are spied on, and, two, it’s asking for a much more scrupulous and discriminating use of gag orders, which are now seemingly routine when they are supposed to be extraordinary.”"
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".