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”.
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said no this week to tracking your movements using data from your cell phone without a warrant when it declared that this information is constitutionally protected.
Reed Hundt proposes democratic action in response to our government’s secret infrastructure for monitoring and controlling modern communications. “Citizens,” he writes, “should be encouraged to take action on behalf of their own privacy and security.”
Yesterday afternoon, the White House put out a statement describing its vulnerability disclosure policies: the contentious issue of whether and when government agencies should disclose their knowledge of computer vulnerabilities. The statement falls far short of a commitment to network security for all and fails to provide the reassurance the global public needs in the midst of the NSA’s security scandal.
"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."
"“This sanctions law, which was written for one purpose,” said Jennifer Stisa Granick, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology project, “is being used to suppress speech with little consideration of the free expression values and the special risks of blocking speech, as opposed to blocking commerce or funds as the sanctions was designed to do. That’s really problematic.”"
"Jennifer Granick, a lawyer with the ACLU’s technology division, said that abuses of power will become unavoidable if companies continue to face pressure to moderate their content.
“It's not a surprise that Twitter employees have this capability,” Granick said. “The public and Congress have been demanding that the platform companies create the ability to ban people from the platform or delete particular messages.”"
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".