High Res Photo of Jennifer Granick
Photo credit: Michael Sugrue
Over at Just Security, I have a new piece on the Washington Post's interesting story about the increasingly aggressive role some federal magistrate judges are playing in policing criminal investigations involving digital media.
Today the Fourth Circuit refrained from deciding the first legal challenge to government seizure of the master encryption keys that secure our communications with web sites and email servers. Nevertheless, the Court upheld contempt of court sanctions, because of the Lavabit owner’s foot dragging during proceedings. Lavabit had failed to raise the substantive issues below, it decided, thus precluding appellate review.
Today I filed comments with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) in connection with its hearing on section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. That law is the legal basis for the PRISM surveillance program and involves warrantless collection of communications contents via targeting non-U.S. individuals or entities reasonably believed to be located abroad. I've written previously about questions the PCLOB should investigate with regards to section 702.
Last week, the New York Times reported that the U.S. is spying on router company Huawei to get information about the Chinese government and to learn how to surveil our allies and other countries that might purchase Huawei routers. On Just Security, I refute the argument of some that it is not “in the public interest to reveal how democracies spy on dictatorships”.
Right now, a battle is underway to reform the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a statute that can transform innocuous workplace behavior into a federal crime, simply because a computer is involved. The CFAA is a bludgeon that Big Business and the Department of Justice have willingly used against the American worker, and its time for that to stop.
The first part of this article outlined the mechanics of the Megaupload website, and the novel questions of criminal inducement on which the government's indictment is premised. Here, we explore two more extensions of existing law on which the indictment is based, and the impact this prosecution is likely to have on Internet innovators and users alike.
Days after anti-piracy legislation stalled in Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice coordinated an unprecedented raid on the Hong Kong-based website Megaupload.com. New Zealand law enforcement agents swooped in by helicopter to arrest founder Kim Dotcom at his home outside of Auckland, and seized millions of dollars worth of art, vehicles and real estate. Six other Megaupload employees were also arrested. Meanwhile, the Justice Department seized Megaupload's domain names and the data of at least 50 million users worldwide.
"That right also applies to acts that are "testimonial" and have communicative aspects, according to Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.
"And as Jennifer Granick notes in her excellent new book American Spies, executive-branch claims that Section 702 has been vital to preventing terrorist attacks on America are just as specious as previous such claims about the warrantless telephone metadata program that Snowden exposed in 2013.
""It differs in that the victim often wears a fur bikini, but is not otherwise an out-of-the-ordinary dispute over this issue in my opinion," Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, told Ars by e-mail."
"“The anonymous account holder is safe, for now,” said Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. “Perhaps the Department of Justice has learned a lesson. Perhaps the Trump administration may try to find the poster another way, for example by monitoring the government’s INS network.”"
"Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, called the government’s behavior “craven” and described the CBP summons as a “classic case of abuse”.
“For the government, a federal law enforcement officer, to not understand the very basics of protecting free speech and following the rule of law is egregious,” she said.
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.
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).
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.