The Empire Strikes Back, at Elon
The Cyberlaw Podcast leads with the growing legal cost of Elon Musk’s anti-authoritarian takeover of Twitter. Turns out that authority figures have a mean streak, and a lot of weapons, many grounded in law, as Twitter is starting to learn. Brian Fleming explores one of them—the apparently unkillable notion that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) should review Musk’s Twitter deal because of a relatively small share that went to investors with Chinese and Persian Gulf ties. CFIUS may in fact be seeking information on what Twitter data those investors will have access to, but I am skeptical that CFIUS will be moved to act on what it learns. More dangerous for Twitter and Musk, says Charles-Albert Helleputte, is the possibility that the company will lose its one-stop-shop privacy regulator for failure to meet the elaborate compliance machinery set up by European privacy bureaucrats. At a quick calculation, that could expose Twitter to fines up to 120% of annual turnover. That would smart. Finally, I reprise my take on all the people leaving Twitter for Mastodon as a protest against Musk allowing the Babylon Bee and President Trump back on the platform. If the protestors really think Mastodon’s system is better, there’s no reason Twitter can’t adopt it, or at least the version that Francis Fukuyama and Roberta Katz have proposed.
If you are looking for the far edge of the Establishment’s Overton Window on China policy, you cannot do better than the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a consistently China-skeptical but mainstream body. Brian reprises the Commission’s latest report. Its headline is about Chinese hacking, but the report does not offer much hope of a solution to that problem, other than more decoupling.
Chalk up one more victory for Trump-Biden continuity, and one more loss for the State Department. Michael Ellis reminds us that the Trump administration took much of Cyber Command’s cyber offense de
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