- Michael Barton, Hyatt Solutions
Recent headlines make clear the threat posed by cyber criminals, especially those that deploy so-called ransomware. Although federal law enforcement has urged victims to report cyber incidents and generally recommends that victims not give in to a ransom demand unless all other options are exhausted, a recent report by IBM Security found that 70 percent of businesses infected have paid ransom.
The ransomware epidemic highlights a potential asymmetry of interests between cybercrime victims and law enforcement. The chief concern of a victim of a ransomware attack may be to regain access to business data and systems, even if paying the ransom funds the perpetrator and potentially leads to further attacks. Meanwhile, law enforcement has only a limited ability to assist a victim in incident response. How can cybercrime victims and law enforcement better work together to better protect victim interests and better advance law enforcement's work?
Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is up for reauthorization in 2017. An earlier version of the program was instituted after 9/11 by President George W. Bush. In 2007, Congress adopted the Protect America Act and one year later passed the FISA Amendments Act, which included Section 702. Section 702 allows the government to target for surveillance non-U.S. citizens “reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.” The authorization does not extend to non-citizens outside the country to gain information on citizens or permanent residents believed to be residing in the United States.
While proponents of the law argue it is necessary for national security, critics claim that U.S. citizens are too often incidentally swept into surveillance due to the nature of the “targeting procedures” employed by intelligence agencies, and therefore reforms are needed to protect their privacy. Our experts discussed reauthorization, what it would mean if Congress chose not to act, and what kinds of reforms are under consideration.
What is the proper balance between the right to privacy and freedom of speech? Prof. Irina Manta of Hofstra University presents the legal arguments on both sides of the issue, presenting the Gawker media case as an example of newsworthiness in the decision of a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
This has not been without consequence: the refusal to take down an obscene video led to an eye-popping $140 million jury verdict and the subsequent collapse of Gawker Media. Personal e-mails or national secrets can quickly turn into political ammunition through the amplification of Wikileaks. A wide range of individuals, from Dan Rather to former President Barack Obama, have criticized the spread of misinformation. They claim false information is being dressed up as legitimate online journalism with the intent to deceive and misinform. Technology CEOs have felt the pressure. For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is devoting considerable resources to developing methods to regulate speech on his platform— probably the most significant in the world. But, as Zuckerberg himself said, “identifying 'the truth' is complicated."
This panel will explore this new reality and whether it necessitates new regulation. Will any effort be imprecise, such that protected speech will necessarily be silenced? Does such regulation go against the principles enshrined in the First Amendment?
This panel was presented at the 2017 National Student Symposium on Friday, March 3, 2017, at Columbia Law School in New York City, New York.
Panel 1: Privacy and Freedom of the Press
6:30 p.m. -8:00 p.m.
Jerome Greene Hall 104
Columbia Law School
New York, New York