June 2006

Guess what? The laws apply to the President. Yay. Read more about the Hamdan case on SCOTUSblog.

There’s a student note called IMMUNIZING THE INTERNET, OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE WORM in the latest Harvard Law Review. The (anonymous) author argues that network security improves as a result of cybercrime.

[UPDATE: Having read the article, I have two quick comments. First, the author does not really explain why crime (i.e. unauthorized access), as opposed to education (i.e. disclosure), promotes security. Second, I love footnote 47.]

I’m here at BarCamp this morning. The first session is a healthy dose of doughnuts, BC evangelism and personal sharing. Oddly, I know almost noone here. Apparently the hacker community is large enough to self-segregate. The security types I normally hang with aren’t part of this social networking tools creation scene.

Today’s Wired News column:Secrecy Mustn’t Crush Rule of Law.

Some related news: AT&T is apparently trying to cover its ass for next time by changing its privacy policy to say they can do whatever they like with whatever data they collect on you. See AT&T Rewrites Rules by David Lazarus. Where’s Qwest when I need it? Are even obsessive privacy consumers like myself practically capable of demanding more privacy in the marketplace?

This picture is from Saturday at RoboGames. What fun! High quality machines, a great variety of events and talents and microbrew. Who could ask for more? Oh, yeah, and a half-inch deep gash in the lexan. Now we’re satisfied.

Kim Zetter discloses more illegal surveillance in: Is the NSA spying on U.S. Internet traffic? | Salon News.

As attorneys for amici law professors, we just received this court order from Judge Vaughn Walker in the EFF/AT&T case. Its a fool’s errand trying to guess what a judge will do before he or she does it, but orders like this give a preview of the issues the court thinks are important in determining the case. Clearly, Friday’s hearing is going to be really interesting. Tomorrow morning my column on the state secrets issue will be on Wired News.

I promised more on the state secrets doctrine. I’ve decided to write my next Wired News column on the issue raised in the EFF’s ATT case and the ACLU’s Detroit case. That will appear here and on Wired News on Wednesday, June 21st. Judge Walker will hold a hearing on the issue in the United States District Court in San Francisco on Friday, June 23rd at 9:30A, so this column will be a good way to get up to speed on what might happen during that hearing.

Meanwhile, here’s a phonecam picture of a great looking dish Brad and I ordered at Spices II! in the Richmond district last night. Its scallop with a snow of fried garlic (and two kinds of chili peppers).

There’s an interesting article in the NY Times today: Arguments on Spy Program Are Heard by Federal Judge – New York Times. [Sorry for the link to the Times, which will eventually expire only to be replaced with a request that you pay $2 for the article, but this coverage is better than other articles I browsed.]

The article talks about a lawsuit brought in Detroit by the ACLU on behalf of James Bamford and other reporters and journalists claiming that the warrantless NSA surveillance is cramping their ability to do newsgathering. The issue before the court now is the same one that is currently before Judge Walker in the EFF’s case against ATT, whether the case can go on without revealing state secrets.

This article shows that the Detroit case is facing some of the same problems the EFF case is facing here.

First, there’s the question of standing. Standing means that the litigants in the lawsuit have to have suffered some actual harm that gives them a right to sue. Lack of standing is a great way for the government to get these cases dismissed. They argue, you can’t prove you were surveilled, and we can’t tell you if you were because that’s a state secret, so you don’t have standing, so the case has to be dismissed. The ACLU case is about the First Amendment, and relies on some more liberalized standing rules in those kinds of cases, but they are clearly facing similar problems. There, though, the lawyers will argue that they don’t have to prove that the plaintiffs or their sources were surveilled, only that the threat of surveillance chilled their First Amendment activities.

Second, and interwoven, is the question of state secrets. More on this later this afternoon.

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