Cybersecurity & Tech

The Lawfare Podcast: Josh Goldfoot on Cybersecurity as a Legal Problem

Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Josh A. Goldfoot, Jen Patja
Wednesday, August 30, 2023, 5:00 AM
What does viewing cybersecurity as a social problem mean for securing the digital world?

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What do we mean when we talk about "cybersecurity"? There's clearly a technical component: can someone prevent, through clever hardware and software, someone else from accessing some device or data? But that just raises the question of who should have access. And that's not a technical question. It's a legal, social, and moral one.

This, at least, is the argument made by Josh Goldfoot, Principal Deputy Chief at the Department of Justice's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, the nerve center of the federal government's attempt to prosecute cyber criminals. A litigator and policy lawyer with decades of experience thinking about cybersecurity and digital surveillance, Josh just published a paper for Lawfare's ongoing Digital Social Contract research paper series making his case for why cybersecurity isn't just a technical problem. Alan Rozenshtein, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota and Senior Editor at Lawfare, spoke to Josh about his paper and what viewing cybersecurity as a social, not just engineering, problem means for our ongoing efforts to secure our digital lives.

Alan Z. Rozenshtein is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, a senior editor at Lawfare, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he served as an Attorney Advisor with the Office of Law and Policy in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.
Josh A. Goldfoot is the principal deputy chief of the Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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