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There was a lot going on this week, so the Monday Morning JETLawg has been broken down into topics. Monday is cybercrime and cybersecurity; Tuesday is copyright, intellectual property (IP) policy generally, government technology, and government IP; Wednesday is surveillance and censorship; Thursday is sports, entertainment, and the arts; and Friday is e-currency, e-discovery, and the technology industry.
- The Snowden leaks continue: the NSA allegedly tapped fiber optic connections Google and Yahoo use to carry information between their US and overseas data centers, copying huge amounts of information without the knowledge or consent of the technology giants. Engineers and executives at Google express their ”outrage,” while information security researcher Fred Cate, director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at Indiana University, says there is “no way” the alleged data tap is legal. Google started encrypting more of its internal network traffic in response, specifically to thwart this type of surveillance. [H/T Reddit; SANS]
- Government request transparency: Apple releases its first ever transparency report, summarizing the types of government requests it received for users’ data, and it filed an amicus brief asking for permission to release yet more information with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The FISC, which has been slightly less secretive of late, oversees government data acquisition under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Apple joins Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and others in challenging legal restrictions the government has placed on their release of aggregated information about the types of requests they receive. [H/T SANS]
- Can warrant canaries end-run Patriot Act gag orders? Apple’s transparency report also includes a “warrant canary,” a statement that “Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act,” and that it “would expect to challenge such an order if served on us.” While Apple is legally prohibited from disclosing the receipt of a Section 215 order, it is (probably) not legally prohibited from periodically transmitting a statement that it has never been served with such an order, then (so the theory goes) stopping to make such statements if and when it does receive an order. To keep receipt of such an order secret, the government would have to order the recipient not only to keep from revealing the order’s existence, but to affirmatively lie about not having received one. Rsync.net, which bills itself as a provider of “secure offsite backup for disaster recovery,” has implemented a fairly robust warrant canary, incorporating current news headlines so you know it was updated recently. Would the courts be willing to go so far as to require Rsync to keep updating its all-clear message even after it receives a Section 215 order? Should they be willing to impose this requirement, and if so, under what circumstances? [H/T SANS; see also EFF]
- Allies unhappy with NSA revelations: Brazil and Germany propose a U.N. resolution that would reiterate U.N. member states’ obligations to protect individual privacy, and call on member states to “take measures to put an end to violations of these rights and to create the conditions to prevent such violations.”
- Old-school censorship: A French court orders Google to censor images of former Formula One executive Max Mosley participating in a Nazi-themed orgy in a London sex dungeon. (While Mosley defended the theme as “WWII concentration camp” instead, it’s unclear how that is any less offensive.) Free speech and censorship action groups were extremely critical of the decision.
- Freedom to satirize: Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef‘s popular television show al-Bernameg (“The Program”) was canceled by the Egyptian government, in what was widely believed to be retribution for turning his sardonic eye toward the military and the current government. Once a heart surgeon, he now has two million Twitter followers and has hosted Jon Stewart as a guest. [H/T The Daily Dot]
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