Last Week in Tech Policy #54: Challenges of Apprehending and Combating Cybercriminals

(by Jordan Demo, Colorado Law 2L)

The recent Equifax breach affecting approximately 143 million people has left many to call for justice—but justice for whom? After-the-fact investigations have tended to focus on whether the targeted entities took sufficient or reasonable measures to protect their systems. But what is the process for bringing attackers to justice? How are attackers who take the personal information of companies and individuals held accountable? What can be done to help deter this kind of behavior?

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Last Week in Tech Policy #53: Equifax and Data Breach in the Modern Era

(by Susan Miller, Colorado Law 2L)

A cyberattack on Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency, was announced last week. The breach was especially problematic for a variety of reasons:

  1. Equifax’s job is to gather and maintain sensitive personal information. Yet it learned of the breach in July but failed to inform the public of the breach until September, taking more than two months to give consumers notice of the breach.
  2. The breach put the personal information of 143 million Americans, nearly one-third of the entire population, at risk. This personal information includes names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and in some cases, credit card numbers.
  3. Three Equifax executives sold their stock days only days after the company learned of the attack and before the public was notified.

Equifax is offering free credit monitoring and, thanks to angry consumers, waived fees for setting up credit freezes through Equifax.

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Last Week in Tech Policy #52: Cyberbullying

(by Angel Antkers, Colorado Law 2L)

Can you imagine a complete invasion of your privacy? Nude images intended only for a significant other’s eyes can be leaked online, as Robert Kardashian did earlier this year with pictures of his ex-fiance Blac Chyna,  Several other celebrities have encountered their own intimate images hacked and shown online.

Revenge porn is not the only form of online harassment. Online figures, such as game developers Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn and media critic Anita Sarkeesian, have been targeted during the Gamergate controversy with posts containing personal information, like their social security numbers and addresses, and even threats of assault, rape, and murder. These types of threads have even included the  threat of a mass shooting at a university, which prevented Sarkeesian from delivering a presentation, as well as threats that forced Sarkeesian to flee her own home. Despite FBI opening an investigation regarding the Gamergate threats against Wu and Sarkeesian, it was eventually closed.

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Last Week in Tech Policy: #45 Inspection of Electronic Devices and Passwords

(By Gabrielle Daley, Colorado Law 2L)

NASA scientist and U.S citizen Sidd Bikkannavar flew back into the United States on January 30th, 2017 and was detained by U.S customs and border patrol agents.  Mr. Bikkannavar was detained upon his arrival at the Houston airport by agents who stated the reason for the detention was to ensure that he was not bringing anything dangerous into the country. However the agents never searched Mr. Bikkannavar’s luggage. Instead he was handed a document entitled “Inspection of Electronic Devices” and asked for his cell phone and cell phone password.

Mr. Bikkannavar was reluctant to hand over the phone because as it belonged to his employer, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories. However, agents insisted on access to the phone and password, and eventually Mr. Bikkannavar gave an agent both. The agent then left the room with the device. Mr. Bikkannavar has no idea what the agent did with the phone outside of his presence, but in a Tweet last week confirmed that JPL is running digital forensics on the phone to try and determine what may have been taken—or left—on the phone.

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Last Week in Tech Law & Policy, Vol. 36: Another Yahoo! Data Breach? Personal Consumer Information and the U.S. Government’s Intelligence Collection Practices

(by Zachary Goldberg, Colorado Law 2L)

Apparently Yahoo waited two full months to disclose to its customers the largest consumer data breach in history, which Yahoo officials claim went undetected for two full years

On September 22, 2016, Yahoo officials announced that 500 million of its customers’ email accounts were hacked in 2014. The Yahoo security team believes that “state-sponsored hackers” somehow managed to penetrate Yahoo’s system to target its email users’ identifying information, passwords, and security question responses. At this stage in their investigation, Yahoo officials have not indicated precisely when they discovered the breach, and they know neither specific details as to who orchestrated it, nor how they gained access to Yahoo’s email system.

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Last Week in Tech Law & Policy, Vol. 35: Microtargeting and the Use of Voter Data to Win Elections

(By Sean Doran, Colorado Law 3L)

Both major political parties in the United States currently gather and aggregate massive amounts of data on American voters. Over the last several election cycles, with the advent of advanced data analytics and advances in data storage and processing, campaigns have gained the ability to learn and track a surprising amount of data about voters. This creates a level of precision that allows campaigns to build advanced models for identifying and targeting individual voters to receive (or not receive) individual messages (microtargeting).  Parties are building “political dossiers” on American voters which are some of the largest, unregulated aggregations of personal data that currently exist.

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Last Week in Tech Law & Policy, Vol. 31: Sponsored and Compelled Hacking, Government Edition

(by Colter Donahue, Colorado Law 3L)

Should government agencies possess, compel, or sponsor hacking and backdoors? A backdoor is a method of bypassing the normal authentication system of a website, messaging service, or other means of electronic communications.

Privacy and encryption advocates point out that the tools created or vulnerabilities exploited by backdoors pose a privacy risk. The vulnerabilities are not not limited to exploit by U.S. agencies like the FBI and NSA; bad actors and other nations can use them too. Hacking tools don’t always stay secret; once exposed, potential damage may be measured on a global scale. But what happens when law enforcement needs access for investigatory purposes? The following post will look at a recent example and the balance of competing interests.

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Last Week in Tech Law & Policy, Vol. 29: The Dangers of “Innocuous” Data

(by Parker Ragland, Colorado Law 2L)

People often hold one of two views on privacy—either it is important to them, or they state, “I have nothing to hide.” While the latter response legitimately expresses fear that privacy laws may be used by wrongdoers to shield themselves from justice, it also reveals a common misconception about privacy: only mistakes in your past can harm your future. Problems associated with data science, and specifically the data-broker industry, are at the core of this misconception.

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Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 25: The CISA/CISPA See-Saw of Cybersecurity

The government intelligence community has long vocally advocated for so-called “backdoors” in encrypted digital communications systems. Proponents of these special modes of entry and intercept into otherwise protected databases and communications believe they are a necessary part of national security in the modern age. However, attempts to statutorily codify these ideas have met significant opposition.

Not to be deterred, the government is currently seeking alternate ways to gather information about suspected criminals and terrorists. Two weeks ago, the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing Act (CISA). This bill seeks primarily to permit information technology companies to “voluntarily” share information about security threats with the Department of Homeland Security. Companies would be given immunity both from liability and from FOIA requests regarding this information sharing. A proposed amendment that would have required the scrubbing of personally identifiable information in this information sharing failed to pass.

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Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 21: Peeple – the “Yelp for people” App

(by Jim Murray, Colorado Law 2L)

“Yelp for People” is Here

This week saw the unveiling of a new app called Peeple, set to launch in November. The app bills itself as “Yelp for people.” The app provides a place for people to view and create reviews of other people. Those reviews can be submitted by anyone who knows the target’s phone number, including ex-girlfriends, former co-workers, and anyone else who may happen to come across that number.

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