The Cyberlaw Podcast: President Biden’s European Cybertour

Stewart Baker
Tuesday, June 22, 2021, 8:52 AM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

We could not avoid President Biden’s trip to Europe this week. He made news (but only a little progress) on cybersecurity at every stop. Nick Weaver and I dig into the President’s consultations with Vladimir Putin, which featured veiled threats and a modest agreement on some sort of continuing consultations on protecting critical infrastructure.

Jordan Schneider sums up the G7 and NATO statements aligning with U.S. criticisms of China.

And our newest contributor, Michael Ellis, critiques the EU-U.S. consultations on technology, which featured a complete lack of U.S. resolve on getting an outcome on transatlantic data flows that would preserve US intelligence capabilities.

Michael also recaps the latest fallout from the Colonial Pipeline ransomware shutdown—new regulatory initiatives from TSA and a lot of bipartisan regulatory proposals in Congress. I note the very unusual (or, maybe, all too usual) meaning given to “bipartisanship” on Capitol Hill.

Nick is not exactly mourning the multiple hits now being suffered by ransomware insurers, from unexpected losses to the ultimate in concentrated loss—gangs that hack the insurer first and then systematically extort all its ransomware insurance customers.

Jordan sums up China’s new data security law. He suggests that, despite the popular reporting on the law, which emphasizes the government control narrative, the motive for the law may be closer to the motive for data protection laws in the West—consumer suspicion over how private data is being used. I’m less convinced, but we have a nice discussion of how bureaucratic imperatives and competition work in the Peoples Republic of China.

Michael and Nick dig into the White Paper on FISA applications published by the outgoing chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Notably, in my mind, the White Paper does not cast doubt on the Justice Department’s rebuttal to a Justice Inspector General’s report suggesting that the FISA process is riddled with error. The paper also calls urgently for renewal of the expired FISA section 215 authority and suggests several constructive changes to the FISA paperwork flow.

In quick hits, Michael brings us up to date on the FCC’s contribution to technology decoupling from China: a unanimous vote to exclude Chinese companies from the U.S. telecom infrastructure and a Fifth Circuit decision upholding its decision to exclude Chinese companies from subsidized purchases by U.S. telecom carriers. And Jordan reminds us just how much progress China has made in exploring space.

And more!

Download the 367th 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.

Subscribe to Lawfare