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Unfortunately, I haven’t been keeping this site up to date as I’ve been blogging on the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society site.  To that end, here are my most recent posts:

The Unintended Consequences of CISPA

New Cybersecurity Bill Available

Revised Cybersecurity Act Needs Amendments for Privacy, Security

Thanks for following along.

 

On October 28, the Department of Justice will argue to a District Court Judge in Arizona that neither the public nor criminal defendants should learn about a special investigative tool it uses to track individuals’ location via their cellphones. According to the Wall Street Journal, law enforcement and the military are regularly using such devices, called “Stingrays”. In the Arizona case, United States v. Rigmaiden, investigators used the technology to assist them in locating the suspect. That defendant is now asking the court to order the government to turn over information about how stingray functions and how it was used in his arrest so that he can litigate whether use of the device violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

For more, click here.

Isn’t it great that when your car, or phone, or laptop gets lost or stolen, you can use modern technology to find your stuff and get it back? One might think only paranoid Luddites or the thieves themselves would oppose such an innovation. But the joy of a ubiquitous communications/tracking network is tempered by the threat to privacy — and potential liability — for enlisting SkyNet to peer into our cars, purses and bedrooms.

Part One: The Wiretap Act and Find My Computer

Last month, in Clements-Jeffrey v. Springfield, a quirky case involving sex and a stolen laptop, a U.S. District Court judge in Ohio ruled that a laptop-tracking company could be liable for intercepting sexually explicit communications in an effort to identify thieves who stole the computer one plaintiff was using to communicate with the other. …

For more, click here

A look at the most recent court opinion on cell phone location tracking: http://bit.ly/o171vy

You might be interested in EFF’s take on Google’s open wi-fi sniffing debacle.

I say “probably” in this article Enter Stage Right: The “Cyber Czar”.

In this week’s Circuit Court column, I write about the legislative battle over changing our communications eavesdropping laws and a related issue of giving telcos immunity for illegally helping the government surveil us. This issue is so important, now that the nominee for Attorney General, Judge Michael Mukasey, says that the President does not have to obey the law if he believes it contradicts his national security responsibilities. Of course, you could argue that the laws are actually less important if the President isn’t even going to follow them. However, if that’s true, lawsuits against telcos may be the only way for the public to find out what our government is actually doing. Read more about one possible future of freedom and privacy here: What’s at Stake in the Surveillance Debate in Congress

Proposed Reporters’ Shield Law Overdue but Underpowered

This week’s Circuit Court column is about the proposed federal reporters’ shield law that just came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. While we need a shield law, this one has a loophole for situations where the leak is criminal or tortious activity, and the loophole may just be too large for this version of a shield to do the trick.

I hope that First Amendment and reporters’ rights groups will be able to address this intelligently before consensus forms around final language for the bill. Its very easy to get caught up in the “you’re protecting criminals” rhetoric, particularly when a lot of business interests have formed a coalition to kill the bill entirely. However, the current version of the bill probably would not protect reporters even in the circumstances which have led Congress to propose this legislation in the first place. Read more here.

Did you know the government can track your movements by your cell phone? And while courts are struggling to define whether agents need probable cause to follow your prospective movements, a new decision out of the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts says they only need to show relevance to get a record of your past movements. Read more about this in my latest Wired News column Is That Big Brother In Your Pocket?

Last Tuesday, something fantastic happened. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the First Amendment some oomph in Golan v. Gonzales. The case, brought by Larry Lessig and lawyers with the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society, challenged section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, or URAA, which removed thousands of books, films and musical compositions from the public domain. The 10th Circuit held that, following the Supreme Court case of Eldred v. Ashcroft, if Congress changes copyright’s “traditional contours,” courts must conduct a First Amendment review to ensure that those changes do not overly burden free expression in an unjustified manner. Removing works from the public domain is one such traditional contour, so the court sent the Golan case back to the District Court to determine whether the URAA goes too far in burdening speech.

I wrote about this case, which I was involved in when I was Executive Director of CIS, for this week’s Wired News column. You can read the full column here.

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