PolitiHacks Digest: Week of 3-18

What is it that we’re doing to make sure that we raise the baseline cybersecurity level of that part of our infrastructure that if something bad happened to it in cyberspace, something really bad happens in real space?
Michael Daniel, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, illustrating a huge communications gap when trying to discuss network intrusions with laymen.

What You Need to Know:


  1. Three cellphone unlocking bills introduced in Congress during the past week
  2. White House petition opposing CISPA crosses 100k signatures, expect quick action by opponents inside Congress and out building on that success

What’s Going On in DC: 


How should we best fix the cellphone unlocking mess?

The issue is whether or not unlocking your cellphone should be illegal. The Librarian of Congress, using its authority under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, recently declared that doing so is illegal, sparking an online backlash (PolitiHacks Digest 3/11).

What are the proposed solutions?


Protecting white hat hacking from government prosecution

Aaron Swartz was prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Under the CFAA, violating a Terms of Service, which few if any read, is a crime.

Demand Progress, which Aaron founded, is trying to fix the law. With EFF, they published an open letter to Congress calling out the flaws in the law. The House recently held a hearing, generally calling for harsher punishment.

What does this mean for entrepreneurs and early adopters?


Should the government be able to request your email without a warrant?

(Full disclosure: PolitiHacks is contracted to the Center for Democracy and Technology on this issue)

Under a 1986 law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), email and other cloud-stored data are considered abandoned after 180 days. While mail always requires a warrant and notifying the owner, when it comes to data, a simple request can do, without you ever finding out.

What is the proposal to expand privacy to the cloud?


Cybersecurity hits the limelight (again)—why DC is scared

Cybersecurity is increasingly a major topic of discussion on Capitol Hill. During the State of the Union, the President announced an executive order for federal agencies to reach a certain baseline in hardening their networks against malicious intrusion.

Kevin Welch describes what the White House has to say and why it affects you


Cybersecurity hits the limelight (again)—why DC gets it wrong

Coming off of the success of the White House petition opposing the House cybersecurity bill (CISPA—PolitiHacks Digest 2/11) crossing the 100k barrier, EFF and other open internet groups (including PolitiHacks) launch a major effort to fix the many mistakes made that risk user privacy.

PolitiHacks staffer Kristine Gloria explains what’s wrong with CISPA

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