The Sun Also Sets, on Section 702
The Cyberlaw Podcast kicks off 2023 by staring directly into the sun(set) of Section 702 authorization. The entire panel, including guest host Brian Fleming (Stewart having been “upgraded” to an undisclosed location) and guests Michael Ellis and David Kris, debates where things could be headed this year as the clock is officially ticking on FISA Section 702 reauthorization. Although there is agreement that a straight reauthorization is unlikely in today’s political environment, the ultimate landing spot for Section 702 is very much in doubt, and a game of chicken will likely precede any potential deal. (Baker and Ellis have contributed to the debate, arguing that renewal should be the occasion for legislating against the partisan misuse of intelligence authorities.) That, and everything else, seems to be in play, as this reauthorization battle could result in meaningful reform or a complete car crash come this time next year.
Sticking with Congress, Michael also reacts to President Biden’s recent bipartisan call to action regarding “Big Tech” and ponders where Republicans and Democrats could potentially find agreement on an issue everyone seems to agree on (for very different reasons). The panel also discusses the timing of the call and debates whether it is intended to incentivize the Republican-controlled House to act rather than simply increase oversight on the tech industry.
David then introduces a fascinating story about the bold recent action by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to bring suit against Covington & Burling LLP to enforce an administrative subpoena seeking disclosure of the firm’s clients implicated in a 2020 cyberattack by Chinese state-sponsored group, Hafnium. David posits that the SEC knows exactly what it is doing by taking such aggressive action in the face of strong resistance, and the panel discusses whether the SEC may have already won by this bold use of its authority in the U.S. cybersecurity enforcement landsca
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