Government Affairs Blog

May 24, 2016

WHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT OBTAINED AN ENCRYPTION KEY TO PRIVATE COMMUNICATIONS

A recent criminal prosecution revealed that Canadian law enforcement obtained a key to decrypt certain private communications of Blackberry devices. Was the action lawful? Did it compromise privacy?

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April 25, 2016

SHOULD A SERVICE PROVIDER NOTIFY CUSTOMERS WHEN THEY ARE SUBJECT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT INVESTIGATIONS?

Ready for the latest privacy law challenge by an American Internet giant against American law enforcement? This time the tech giant is Microsoft. The lawsuit claims a non-disclosure rule in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) is unconstitutional. And the controversy could impact all communication service providers (CSPs).

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April 11, 2016

PROPOSED FCC PRIVACY RULES MAY ADD LIABILITY FOR ERRORS IN LAWFUL SURVEILLANCE

If an ISP compromises subscriber privacy or cyber security when assisting a law enforcement investigation it may incur liability under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). That same type of mistake may soon trigger fines from an additional source: the Federal Communications Commission.

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February 29, 2016

THE APPLE-FBI ENCRYPTION DISPUTE LOOKS LIKE A FIGHT BETWEEN SUBSCRIBER PRIVACY AND NATIONAL SECURITY, BUT IT’S NOT

The media is ablaze with the Apple-FBI encryption debate, cast as a battle between subscriber privacy and national security. Unfortunately, the spectacle misses the point of the underlying story.

After the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the FBI recovered the iPhone of the deceased terrorist suspect but couldn’t access the phone’s contents in decrypted form. Apple had redesigned that generation of phones with a technology called “encryption by default” to block such access by law enforcement and everyone else. The only way to overcome the technical hurdle would be for Apple to undertake an unusual process, such as writing a special software update that would disable the phone’s password-protection feature.

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February 5, 2016

COULD THE GOVERNMENT AND SOCIAL MEDIA PROVIDERS COMBAT ONLINE TERRORIST RECRUITMENT?

Last month several U.S. national security officials met with top Internet industry CEOs in Silicon Valley to enlist their help in the surveillance of online terrorist recruitment. Soon after, Google announced two steps in the anti-recruitment direction. One initiative would let non-profit organizations place counter-radicalization ads in response to certain terrorist-related search queries. The other would make counter-radicalization videos easier to find in search results.

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