Weekly News Kickoff: Apple-FBI Encryption Clash Brings ‘Backdoor’ Debate to the Fore - (Archived)

It was an interesting week for everyone paying attention to the data privacy issue. What are your thoughts on the court order for Apple to write software to let the FBI have as many attempts as needed to get into Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone? Welcome to the weekly news kickoff. Enjoy these highlights.

Apple, FBI Clash in Encryption Debate
The nuance of Apple-FBI encryption case is subtler than the broader debate over encryption and “going dark,” though forecasters on both sides of the argument are reading the signs and preparing for a storm, Federal Times reports. Robert Cattanach, a former Justice Department attorney and current partner at Dorsey & Whitney, called the clash “the next salvo in the ever-escalating battle between law enforcement and tech companies.” Valerie Barreiro, director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, said: “The court is ordering Apple to write brand new code to bypass key features of iPhone security which serve to protect everyone that uses an iPhone — an unprecedented interpretation of the law. Is privacy a requirement of liberty? How do we ensure privacy and national security? These are the issues at stake and they merit a broader discussion.”

Spies’ Lawyer: Third Party Doctrine Not An ‘Off Switch’ for Privacy
The fact that third parties often hold Americans’ personal data in the digital age should not be taken to mean that they have no right to keep it private from the government, said Robert Litt, general counsel for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, speaking to an audience at a luncheon event of the American Bar Association‘s Standing Committee on Law and National Security. He said it is important to distinguish between the different types of disclosure to third parties: Metadata is different from content; and something posted on Facebook ought to be viewed very differently from a phone’s address book backed up in the cloud. These comments come as Congress weighs an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which governs the access federal law enforcement and other officials have to email and other digital communications, FedScoop reports.

Former White House National Security Advisor To Lead New Cybersecurity Commission
Former White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon will chair the Commission on Enhancing Cybersecurity, a panel tasked with making recommendations to bolster the nation’s cyber defenses under the recently issued Cybersecurity National Action Plan. The commission’s Vice Chair Sam Palmisano, who is the former chief executive officer of IBM, will join Donilon. President Obama said Donilon will bring to the commission his vast knowledge of government, national security challenges and intelligence systems, and that Palmisano brings a private sector perspective on the digital world and its economic components, FierceGovernmentIT reports.

Where DoD’s R&D Funds Would Go In 2017
The Defense Department has put a lot of emphasis lately on the importance of cyberspace, electronic warfare and new technologies, and that emphasis is reflected in its 2017 budget request for research and development, Defense Systems reports. DoD as a whole is asking for $72 billion in R&D to, in Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s words, “make sure that we retain the qualitative edge in capabilities — advanced capabilities.” He mentioned, specifically, “undersea capabilities, electronic warfare, space, cyber, new kinds of strike systems, increasing the lethality of our fleet of aircraft and … ships, and so forth.” The individual service branches also are investing in R&D in those areas, according to budget documents released last week.

Cyber-Security: The Best Plan of Action To Keep Your Data Safe
Like a perverse iteration of Newton’s third law, every clever cyber-attack action is always followed by an equally clever reaction from the organization targeted. Is that enough to keep your data safe? Information Week examines this question.

 

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