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Enough About Apple and Encryption: Let's Talk System Security

This week, the RightsCon Silicon Valley 2016 conference is taking place in San Francisco. Since the use of encryption in general and the Apple/FBI case in particular are likely to be debated, I want to share a perspective on system security. My phone as a system The Apple/FBI case resolves around a phone. Think of your own phone now. When I look at my own phone I have rather sensitive information on it. more»

The FBI and the iPhone: Important Unanswered Questions

As you probably know, the FBI has gotten into Syed Farook's iPhone. Many people have asked the obvious questions: how did the FBI do it, will they tell Apple, did they find anything useful, etc.? I think there are deeper questions that really get to the full import of the break. How expensive is the attack? Security - and by extension, insecurity - are not absolutes. Rather, they're only meaningful concepts if they include some notion of the cost of an attack. more»

The Second Machine Age Calls for Vision and Leadership

This post I've been pondering on for a long time, but never found the right angle and perhaps I still haven't. Basically I have these observations, thoughts, ideas and a truckload of questions. Where to start? With the future prospects of us all. Thomas Picketty showed us the rise of inequality. He was recently joined by Robert J. Gordon who not only joins Picketty, but adds that we live in a period of stagnation, for decades already. "All great inventions lie over 40 years and more behind us", he points out. more»

Reflections on Joe Cannataci's First Report

Joseph Cannataci recently submitted his first report as UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy - a brand new position, created in July 2015 in the wake of the German-Brazilian initiative for a UN resolution on privacy in the digital age. The report includes a description of Cannataci's working methods, a general overview of privacy-relevant topics, and a 'Ten point action plan' - described as a to-do list for the post holder, rather than a mere wish list. more»

What Your ISP (Probably) Knows About You

Earlier this week, I came across a working paper from Professor Peter Swire - a highly respected attorney, professor, and policy expert. Swire's paper, entitled "Online Privacy and ISPs", argues that ISPs have limited capability to monitor users' online activity. The paper argues that ISPs have limited visibility into users' online activity for three reasons: (1) users are increasingly using many devices and connections, so any single ISP is the conduit of only a fraction of a typical user's activity; (2) end-to-end encryption is becoming more pervasive, which limits ISPs' ability to glean information about user activity; and (3) users are increasingly shifting to VPNs to send traffic. more»

Three Reasons Why Apple Didn't Have to Unlock a Phone

The US government is demanding Apple unlock iPhones in about a dozen cases beside the San Bernardino one. In a strikingly similar case, Judge James Orenstein in Brooklyn rejected the government's request for three separate reasons. In the decision the judge refers several times to the San Bernardino case, and it is clear he expects this decision to be an important precedent for that one. more»

Apple vs FBI: Apple and Others to Argue on the Hill

Tomorrow afternoon at 1pm EST Apple will be giving testimony to the House Judiciary Committee. The session that Apple and others will be taking part in is aptly named, The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy In common with other hearings the various witnesses called to speak have already submitted their written testimony, so we can already look at it and analyse it. more»

FBI vs Apple: A Bit Of Light Reading

Encryption is key to commerce online. Anything that weakens it is a threat to the digital economy, so the FBI vs Apple case is something that a lot of people are watching very closely... The most recent development is that Apple has filed "Motion to Vacate the Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search, and Opposition to the Government's Motion to Compel Assistance." Legal filings aren't light bedtime reading, but this one explores the legal issues as well as the privacy and security implications from multiple angles and underlines why this case is so important. more»

Spin Doctoring from FBI in the Apple Case

It is rather amazing to follow the reporting on the FBI vs Apple case in relation to the FBI's order to Apple to provide them with software that would allow them to crack the security code on all Apple phones. In some of those reports spin doctoring from the FBI -- especially through the public media -- led you to believe that Apple is not willing to assist the FBI in the San Bernardino murder case. This is, however, blatantly false. more»

ICANN Update on Whois, New gTLD Program PDPs, ICANN CEO and Privacy Accreditation

As promised, 2016 is off to a busy start at ICANN, with important discussions about Whois/Registration Directory Services, subsequent rounds of the New gTLD Program and internet governance already underway, and more to come. Brand owner concerns will be front and center in the coming months, as community stakeholders set priorities and begin discussions of key challenges and desired results. more»