The Fight Against the Fake Call: The Rise of Spoofing and Robocalls

Your phone starts to vibrate. You don’t recognize the number, but it’s from your area code, so you decide to answer. On the other end of the line, an automated voice claims they are with the IRS, a credit card company, or a local utility company—usually looking to settle or balance “your account.” Does this situation sound familiar? For many Americans, this is a frequent, even daily, occurrence. Consumers have long been hounded by telemarketers Continue Reading →

Lawful Hacking: A Temporary Solution to the “Going Dark” Challenge

The increased ubiquity and sophistication of encryption presents a serious problem for law enforcement. There has been a growing gap between law enforcement’s legal authority to access and intercept information, pursuant to court orders, and its practical ability to do so because of encryption. This capabilities gap has been coined the “going dark” problem. Exceptional Access Proposals Are Presently Insufficient to Adequately Protect Privacy As bad actors continue to target individuals’ sensitive data, which is Continue Reading →

How Secure is Your Messenger and Is Encryption Enough?

Early in 2018, Facebook confirmed that the company scans chats from their messenger app with the alleged aim to scan for malware and other elicit content. Microsoft also watches over what you are saying and, pursuant to its Microsoft Services Agreement, can close your accounts if you use profane language on its platforms or share illicit content through its services. Companies such as Facebook and Microsoft that practice such email/messenger scanning have leveraged this power Continue Reading →

The Legality of Law Enforcement’s Access to Genetic Testing Profiles without a Court Order

Researchers in the last century have made huge strides in the biological sciences. From the discovery of the double helix of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in 1953, to the completion of the Human Genome Project by the National Human Genome Research Institute fifty years later, researchers have continued to make significant technological and scientific breakthroughs. Genetic testing, a medical test that can determine whether a person has, may develop or can pass on a genetic condition, Continue Reading →

Bitcoin’s Myth of Anonymity and the Rise of Other “Anonymous” Cryptocurrencies

Introduction Many cryptocurrencies tout their “anonymous” qualities and lure users with general promises of untraceable transactions. Users of cryptocurrencies seek anonymity, not necessarily because they want to deal in illegal activity (although there are plenty of criminals turning to digital currencies to hide transactions) but because they desire privacy and security in knowing that they control the release of their personal data and spending history. Bitcoin has gained the most traction as a digital currency Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Recent Proposals for Comprehensive Privacy Reform

Introduction Google searches for the term “privacy” reached new highs over the past month. The ascension of privacy issues in the national consciousness comes as no surprise considering recent revelations of Cambridge Analytica’s data scandals, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent testimony before Congress, and prospects of increased regulation on privacy and data. The concern over privacy is not new. The phrase, “If you’re not paying for it, you are the product,” and similar analogues have Continue Reading →

Up in the CLOUD: What the New Congressional Act Means for Data Security

Until this past week, Microsoft looked as though they would receive an unfavorable ruling from the Supreme Court. In 2013, the U.S. Justice Department issued a warrant for the emails of individuals they were investigating as drug dealers, but the technology giant refused to hand them over on the grounds that the information in question was hosted on a server in Ireland and warrants are only applicable in the United States. The Court was likely Continue Reading →

Can Electronic Surveillance Constitute a Search of Private Property Under the 4th Amendment? Gorsuch’s Comments Raise New Questions.

At oral argument in Carpenter v. United States, now awaiting final decision, Justice Gorsuch raised the possibility that individuals have a property right in their data. Specifically, Gorsuch suggested that a customer of a cellular provider had a property interest in location data that police had obtained from the provider without a warrant. This is relevant in a Fourth Amendment context because government trespass against private property is a form of “search.” But there is Continue Reading →

The Emerging Trend of Data Localization

Free flow of data across the globe has been a remarkable feature of the Internet. Innovations like cloud computing—spreading data across a host of servers in several locations—have been possible due to the free, open nature of the Internet, and have resulted in technical efficiencies and reduced costs. Cross-border data flows are estimated to have raised the world GDP by 10.1%. However, this lack of borders in the digital world has tested traditional notions of Continue Reading →

The Ethicality and Legality of Facial Recognition Technology

The advent of relatively effective and scalable facial recognition technology has prompted a spirited policy debate about the appropriateness of its use in law enforcement contexts. Some commentators have raised both ethical and constitutional concerns over the implementation of these technologies. While the Supreme Court has not yet directly addressed the use of facial recognition systems, there is some indication it may feel compelled to do so in the near future.  China Leads the Way Continue Reading →