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The Cyberlaw Podcast: AI Everywhere

Stewart Baker
Thursday, March 23, 2023, 9:33 AM

The latest episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast.

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

GPT-4’s rapid and tangible improvement over ChatGPT has more or less guaranteed that it or a competitor will be built into most new and legacy information and technology (IT) products. Some applications will be pointless; but some will change users’ world. In this episode, Sultan Meghji, Jordan Schneider, and Siobhan Gorman explore the likely impact of GPT4 from Silicon Valley to China.  

Kurt Sanger joins us to explain why Ukraine’s IT Army of volunteer hackers creates political, legal, and maybe even physical risks for the hackers and for Ukraine. This may explain why Ukraine is looking for ways to “regularize” their international supporters, with a view to steering them toward defending Ukrainian infrastructure.

Siobhan and I dig into the Biden administration’s latest target for cybersecurity regulation: cloud providers.  I wonder if there is not a bit of bait and switch in operation here. The administration seems at least as intent on regulating cloud providers to catch hackers as to improve defenses.

Say this for China – it never lets a bit of leverage go to waste, even when it should.  To further buttress its seven-dashed-line claim to the South China Sea, China is demanding that companies get Chinese licenses to lay submarine cable within the contested territory. That, of course, incentivizes the laying of cables much further from China, out where they’re harder for the Chinese to deal with in a conflict. But some Beijing bureaucrat will no doubt claim it as a win for the wolf warriors. Ditto for the Chinese ambassador’s statement about the Netherlands joining the U.S. in restricting chip-making equipment sales to China, which boiled down to “We will make you pay for that. We just do not know how yet.” The U.S. is not always good at dealing with its companies and other countries, but it is nice to be competing with a country that is demonstrably worse at it.

The Security and Exchange Commission has gone from catatonic to hyperactive on cybersecurity. Siobhan notes its latest 48-hour incident reporting requirement and the difficulty of reporting anything useful in that time frame. 

Kurt and Siobhan bring their expertise as parents of teens and aspiring teens to the TikTok debate.

I linger over the extraordinary and undercovered mess created by “18F”—the General Service Administration’s effort to bring Silicon Valley to the government’s IT infrastructure. It looks like they brought Silicon Valley’s arrogance, its political correctness, and its penchant for breaking things but forgot to bring either competence or honesty.  18F lied to its federal customers about how or whether it was checking the identities of people logging in through When it finally admitted the lie, it brazenly claimed it was not checking because the technology was biased, contrary to the only available evidence. Oh, and it refused to give back the $10 million it charged because the work it did cost more than that. This breakdown in the middle of coronavirus handouts undoubtedly juiced fraud, but no one has figured out how much. Among the victims: Sen. Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.), who used and its phony biometric checks as the “good” alternative that would let the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cancel its politically inconvenient contract with Really, guys, it’s time to start scrubbing 18F from your LinkedIn profiles.

The Knicks have won some games. Blind pigs have found some acorns. But Madison Square Garden (and Knicks) owner, Jimmy Dolan is still investing good money in his unwinnable fight to use facial recognition to keep lawyers he does not like out of the Garden. Kurt offers commentary, thereby saving himself the cost of Knicks tickets for future playoff games. 

Finally, I read Simson Garfinkel’s explanation of a question I asked (and should have known the answer to) in episode 448.

Download the 449th Episode (mp3)

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or our RSS feed. As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with @stewartbaker on Twitter. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to Remember: If your suggested guest appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug! The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of their institutions, clients, friends, families, or pets.

Stewart A. Baker is a partner in the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He returned to the firm following 3½ years at the Department of Homeland Security as its first Assistant Secretary for Policy. He earlier served as general counsel of the National Security Agency.

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