Georgetown law professor, Laura Donohue’s Bulk Metadata Collection: Statutory and Constitutional Considerations (link is to the pdf; caution: it’s long – 86 pages), which is forthcoming in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. A brief overview of the topics covered in her paper appears today at Just Security.
Cyber Law, Tech and Policy
Google Unveils Tools to Access Web From Repressive Countries and Defend Websites: (1) uProxy, a browser extension that uses p2p technology to enable people to provide others with a trusted internet connection, (2) Project Shield, to help human-rights activists, NGOs, and news organizations defend their websites from distributed denial of service (DDos) attacks, (3) and Digital Attack Map, a live data visualization, displaying DDoS attacks in real time. In addition to those Google-related tools, the Freedom of the Press Foundation recently launched a confidential, open-source submission platform for whistleblowers: SecureDrop.
But: Door May Open for Challenge to Secret Wiretaps – New York Times.
Breaking Through Cancer’s Shield – New York Times. Are we seeing the dawn of a new era in cancer fighting based upon immunotherapies?
Now We are Five – At the New Yorker, David Sedaris on the death of his youngest sister.
The Government Thinks It’s Legal to Access Your Emails. This Theory Explains Why – Jane Chong at The New Republic:
“[T]he “sieve theory”: the idea is that the filtration techniques the government applies to extract certain pieces of data should have implications for the legality of the initial acquisition of a much larger dataset to which the government would not otherwise be entitled. The sieve theory is kind of the converse of a much-better-understood theory of the Fourth Amendment. The “mosaic theory,” as Fourth Amendment scholar Orin Kerr has dubbed it . . . That theory posits that many otherwise-insignificant and disparate data points can be combined to yield a highly revealing—and unconstitutionally invasive—composite. Like the mosaic theory, the sieve theory is built on the idea that constitutional protections do not attach to information per se but rather hinge on how that information gets processed and used. Just as privacy proponents use the mosaic theory to argue that bits of information not individually entitled to constitutional protections might be entitled to protections when aggregated, the government is effectively using the sieve theory . . . . . to argue that a large data set comprising information to which it might normally not be entitled should be produced anyway where the government both establishes its necessity and institutes satisfactory filters to prevent its misuse. Put more simply, the mosaic theory has been used to argue the unconstitutionality of certain types of government data collection. Conversely, the sieve theory is being used to argue the lawfulness of carefully conducted government data filtration.”
More on the mosaic theory: Professor Orin Kerr‘s (GW Law School) law review article, “The Mosaic Theory of the Fourth Amendment,” 111 Mich. L. Rev. 311 (2012).
Cyber Law, Tech and Policy
How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?: Richard Stallman at Wired. Also recently by Stallman: Why Free Software Is More Important Now Than Ever Before.
Want to Evade NSA Spying? Don’t Connect to the Internet: Bruce Schneier at Wired. Key takeaway: it’s hard to avoid the NSA (or, perhaps more accurately, it’s very, very inconvenient).
Special Report: The Obama Administration and the Press – Leak Investigations and Surveillance in post-9/11 America: CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists).
Time to Tame the NSA Behemoth Trampling our Rights by Yochai Benkler at The Guardian.
The Secret FISA Court Must Go by law professors Christopher Sprigman and Jennifer Granick at The Daily Beast.
The U.S. Government has Betrayed the Internet – We Need to Take it Back by Bruce Schneier at The Guardian.
“[A] structural approach, which focuses on preserving an overall balance between state control and citizen autonomy, seems to me more appropriate for evaluating mass surveillance programs such as the NSA’s … . [T]he appropriate question is whether the creation of a system of surveillance perilously alters that balance too far in the direction of government control, whether or not we have problems with the current use of that system. We might imagine a system of compulsory cameras installed in homes, activated only by warrant, being used with scrupulous respect for the law over many years. The problem is that such an architecture of surveillance, once established, would be difficult to dismantle, and prove too potent a tool of control if it ever fell into the hands of people who—whether through panic, malice, or a misguided confidence in their own ability to secretly judge the public good—would seek to use it against us.”
— Julian Sanchez: A Reply to Epstein & Pilon on NSA’s Metadata Program
Bruce Schneier and Jonathan Zittrain at The Berkman Center (video: one hour, thirty minutes).