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Iran Sanctions Look to Snap Back

By now you’ve heard the news, and it’s pretty much what it sounds like. Following a wind-down period of 90 or 180 days, the U.S. government will restore the economic sanctions that it lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. These sanctions generally affect foreign businesses who do business with Iran. After the wind-down periods, they Read More

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The Truth About Facebook

Ask this expert on data science what Congress should have asked Mark Zuckerberg last week, and she’ll say, nothing. If that surprises you, please understand that these hearings are not designed to deliver the truth. They’re designed to tell the public that, if there’s a problem, the government is doing something about it. So you’re not gonna Read More

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New Year’s Resolutions

Speaking of compliance, here are two businesses that ended the year resolving charges they violated U.S. trade sanctions by dealing with blocked countries, people, or entities. Both cases show how the government enforces its sanctions regime, and they illustrate how an ounce of prevention can beat a pound of cure. Both cases were brought by the Office of Read More

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Can They Search My Phone at the Border?

Suppose you go to visit your aunt in Italy, and you take your phone and tablet with you. When you come back through customs, can they just search your devices willy nilly? Probably. Here’s a good overview of your rights at the border, along with some practical considerations. It’s worth reading ahead of time because the government is stepping Read More

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Vulnerability Is Not The Same As Failure

We borrow those words from this smart essay on national security that was written in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels this spring. The author is a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and a current member of the Department’s Homeland Security Advisory Council. The Advisory Council consists of top leaders from the worlds Read More

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The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance

Antonin Scalia didn’t coin that expression, but the late Supreme Court Justice, who died one month ago, once delivered a speech that touched on a similarly uncomfortable notion. Nearly two years to the day before his death, Scalia was speaking to a group of law students at the University of Hawaii, and he was asked about Read More

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DOJ Posts New Policy on Stingrays

Well, what do you know. Two weeks ago, we lamented the fact that law enforcement was using these electronic devices—commonly referred to as Stingrays, IMSI-catchers, or cell-site simulators—without search warrants and, often, in secret. Then last Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department announced that, from now on, each of its agencies must obtain search warrants to use such devices, and the warrants must be supported Read More

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An Open Secret of Surveillance

From USA Today comes this report on law enforcement’s burgeoning use of so-called IMSI-catchers to conduct routine, mass surveillance. If you haven’t heard of these devices, here’s a good, plain-English piece on them from NPR. The IMSI part stands for International Mobile Subscriber Identity, and an IMSI-catcher tricks your cell phone (and every other cell phone in the vicinity) Read More

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Big Brothers Are a Big Problem

As we pine for a digital Magna Carta or a digital Bill of Rights, the scale of the problem is daunting. Part of the problem lies at home. It rears its head when the National Security Agency searches domestic calls, emails, and data that are “incidental” to its surveillance of foreign-intelligence targets but takes liberties in doing so. Or Read More

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Leading Legal Minds Call for a Digital Bill of Rights

Federal inmates are not the only ones fighting for the right to confide in a lawyer. Earlier this month, at the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in Boston, several leaders of national and international bar associations called for stronger coordination among lawyers to combat a growing sense of governmental surveillance attacks on the attorney-client privilege. The leaders, whose panel Read More

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