Cyberwar for real this time?

As the podcast is being recorded, we hear a lot about Ukraine’s troops and their accusations. Michael Ellis uses his experience from the National Security Council (NSC), to predict how the White House is doing. We also speculate about whether this conflict could become a cyberwar, which draws in the United States. We both think so but for very different reasons.

Nick Weaver has reported that the Justice Department is preparing for an attack on cryptocurrency criminals. Nick believes it could not happen in a more pleasant industry. Michael and myself compare this launch with the gradual death of China’s initiative, which was caused by a handful of botched prosecutions as well as a lot of anti-American racism and political correctness.

Michael and I discuss political correctness. We do a roundup (not all bad) of the latest news regarding face recognition technology. Our award for the least persuasive analysis of the first amendment goes to District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman from ND IL. This opinion holds that disclosing public images and collecting them can lead to massive civil liability, even if there are no damages. The judge’s analysis, which is double-spaced at one page and half long, claims that the law imposing liability does not restrict a viewpoint or target public discussion.According to Illinois’ law on liability, it “doesn’t restrict any viewpoint or aim public discussion about an entire subject.” That’s it.

But if you’re a first amendment fan, don’t worry; the amendment is bound to get a heavy defense in the next big face recognition lawsuit – the Texas Attorney General’s effort to extract hundreds of billions of dollars from Facebook for tagging the faces of their users. My wager? It will be heard by the Supreme Court. We will then examine the IRS’s efforts to use facial recognition to identify taxpayers who wish to access their tax returns. You should read my Washington Post op-ed about the subject.

Amnesty International’s wake-up call that New Yorkers living in areas with high criminality should not be subject to the surveillance of facial recognition cameras, which could help identify and even jail street criminals is something I find laughable. If facial recognition was more equitable, imagine how many Staten Island criminals would be identified for their dog’s poop.

Nick and I investigate the impending clash between European law enforcement agencies, and privacy zealots from Brussels who want to prohibit EU use of NSO’s Pegasus surveillance technology. In the meantime, an Israeli investigation has cast doubt on Pegasus abuse reports. This is a rare piece of good news.

Michael and I then discuss the disturbing, but late and still worrying revelations by TikTok about its operation and code. Two administrations in a row have started out to do something about this sus app, I note, and neither has delivered – for reasons that demonstrate the deepest flaws of both.

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