High Res Photo of Jennifer Granick
Photo credit: Michael Sugrue
The Internet is under threat, mostly from governments. We need companies to help people stand up to government threats, but companies cannot solve the problems for us. This is what I told the audience on Thursday, at an event co-hosted by CIS and the Program on Liberation Technology.
Tomorrow, all five members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about their recent report concluding that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of phone records under section 215 is illegal and ill-advised. Meanwhile, the PCLOB is gearing up to report in a few months its conclusions regarding mass surveillance of the content of Internet transactions under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act
Today, Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society joins Greenpeace, Mozilla, Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Libertarian Party, and an array of ideologically diverse groups in The Day We Fight Back against mass surveillance.
Yesterday, I wrote generally about the problems with section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA). Today I focus on categories of information—including content—that NSA collects under section 702 but maybe never minimizes—meaning one of the few safeguards for U.S. person privacy is non-existent. In short, since the thirteen-page 702 minimization procedures only apply to communications, and since today's NSA probably excludes unshared cloud-stored data from the definition of communications, it's possible no minimization rules apply to protect American privacy.
I've written a lot about the problems with the FISA Amendments Act and section 702, which 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.
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.
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.
"“There’s always been employees who have misused the keys,” said ACLU surveillance and cybersecurity counsel Jennifer Granick. She pointed to the tension among some who would prefer that tech platforms censor users' content, whether that’s policing Russian-planted accounts and ads or kicking Trump off Twitter for what they perceive as hate speech. “They’re under extreme pressure from Congress,” she said."
"“Congress has subpoena power, of course,” says Al Gidari, the director of privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, who previously represented several big tech companies in national security cases.
"Albert Gidari, Director of Privacy for the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, told us he agrees with the EFF’s argument:
Asking for metadata on everyone that visits a particular website implicates more than just the particularity required by the 4th Amendment. It implicates the 1st Amendment rights of anyone that visited the site.
"It can be tempting to try to hide information or use technological tricks such as 'duress passwords' that, if used instead of the genuine one, unlock the device but keep a portion of the data hidden and encrypted. But Jennifer Granick, who studies cybersecurity law at Stanford University in California, warns against such strategies. “You don't want to lie to a government agent. That can be a crime.” And border guards are not likely to be sympathetic to the argument that a researcher has a legal duty to prevent anyone from seeing confidential data.
"Jennifer Stisa Granick is an attorney, educator and the director of civil liberties for the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) at Stanford Law School. A prominent advocate for intellectual property law, free speech and privacy, she has represented a number of high-profile hackers, including internet activist Aaron Swartz.
The American Bar Association White Collar Crime Committee Presents:
The Internet’s Own Boy: A Discussion Of U.S. v. Aaron Swartz And The Prosecution And Defense Of Cyber-Crime
Featuring Brian KNAPPENBERGER, Filmmaker And Director Of The Internet’s Own Boy, Jennifer GRANICK, Director Of Civil Liberties For The Center For Internet And Society At Stanford Law School, And More.
Only LLM and SPILS students are invited.
Lunch will be provided.
Please join Giancarlo Frosio and Jennifer Granick on Tuesday for a presentation on the activities of the Stanford Intermediary Liability Lab (SILLab).
Because of Edward Snowden’s remarkable public service, we know that the National Security Agency, with the cooperation of some large firms, has amassed an unprecedented database of personal information. The ostensible goal in collecting that information is to protect national security. The effect, according to Reed Hundt, is to undermine democracy.
Come meet CIS and hear about our exciting work and ways to get involved.
You will meet:
Barbara van Schewick - Associate Professor of Law and Helen L. Crocker Faculty Scholar at Stanford Law School, Director of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, and Associate Professor (by courtesy) of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University
Jennifer Granick - Director - Civil Liberties
Aleecia McDonald - Director - Privacy
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."