National Security

DHS and FBI Issue a Joint Technical Alert with UK Warning Russian State-Sponsored Cyber Attacks

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On April 16, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre issued a joint Technical Alert (TA), alerting the worldwide cyber exploitation of network infrastructure devices by Russian state-sponsored cyber actors.  The TA explains primary targets to be government and private-sector organizations, critical infrastructure providers, and the Internet service providers (ISPs) supporting these sectors.  The affected systems include: Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) Enabled Devices; Cisco Smart [...] Read more

Irish High Court Refers Schrems 2.0 to the ECJ

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On April 11, Justice Caroline Costello of the Irish High Court referred the Schrems 2.0 case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) with 11 questions for the ECJ to answer. Per Justice Costello, the sole issue in the case is whether the European Commission’s Decisions regarding standard contractual clauses (SCCs) are valid, which is reflected in the 11 questions posed. The reference asks the ECJ to determine: Whether provisions of EU law related to national security, public security, defense, and state security apply to transfers of data outside the EU under SCCs; Whether [...] Read more

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in the Microsoft Ireland Case

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On Tuesday, February 27th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in United States v. Microsoft Corp. on whether a warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) can compel the production of data stored outside the United States. Where Microsoft argues that the emails stored outside the United States also lie outside the reach of the SCA, the government contends that the SCA focuses on “classically domestic content,” and that Microsoft can be compelled within the U.S. to turn over records it controls regardless of where the data sought is stored. This case began in December [...] Read more

EU DPAs and the Future of Privacy Shield

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The Article 29 Working Party group (WP29) of European data protection authorities recently announced that they will legally challenge the adequacy of the Privacy Shield Framework unless the U.S. government addresses certain “prioritized concerns” by May 25, 2018. Privacy Shield provides a framework which helps over 2500+ participating U.S. companies legally transfer EU personal data to the United States. The WP29 announcement follows a report and press release from the European Commission in October which stated that “the Privacy shield continues to ensure an adequate level of protection.” [...] Read more

Challenge to Privacy Shield Dismissed by EU General Court

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In October of last year, we reported that digital rights advocacy group Digital Rights Ireland (“DRI”) had brought an action to annul the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.  DRI filed its challenge before the General Court of the European Union, which is the court of first instance in the EU system with exclusive jurisdiction over challenges to the validity of EU legal acts.  Last week, the General Court dismissed DRI’s challenge, meaning that Privacy Shield remains valid and in force. DRI based its Privacy Shield suit on Article 263 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), [...] Read more

Professor Peter Swire Publishes his Expert Testimony from Schrems 2.0

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Peter Swire, Elizabeth and Thomas Holder Chair at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business and senior counsel at Alston & Bird, has made public his expert testimony from the landmark Irish High Court Case Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland Limited & Maximillian Schrems. Under the Irish Court’s rules, Swire was asked to provide an independent opinion on U.S. surveillance law to assist the Court in its decision. Swire’s testimony highlights U.S. systemic remedies, U.S. individual remedies, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court oversight, and the broader implications [...] Read more

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Allows Wikimedia Upstream Suit to Proceed

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On May 23, 2017, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion on Wikimedia foundation v. NSA/CSS. The Court vacated and remanded the NSA’s previously successful motion to dismiss Wikimedia’s Fourth and First Amendment claims against the NSA’s Upstream surveillance program, while a 2-1 majority upheld the dismissal of the eight other organizations joined as co-plaintiffs. The Court held that Wikimedia’s complaint contained sufficient factual allegations to determine Article III standing and that the District Court misapplied Clapper v. Amnesty International USA’s analysis of [...] Read more

President Trump Signs Long-Awaited Cyber Executive Order

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On May 11, 2017, President Trump signed a long-awaited executive order on cybersecurity (the “Order”).  The Order directs executive agencies to complete a risk management report based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (the “Framework”) and also requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies to undertake activities in support of effective cybersecurity risk management for operators of critical infrastructure.  More generally, the Order directs several agencies to submit reports to the President on a varied set of cybersecurity-related topics.  These measures demonstrate [...] Read more

Outbreak of “WannaCry” and “Wanna Decryptor” Ransomware Affects Companies Across the Globe

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On Friday, May 12, companies in countries across the globe witnessed an unprecedented malware outbreak as ransomware labeled “WannaCry” and “Wanna Decryptor” infected a large range of critical systems. The malware exploits a vulnerability in older versions of Microsoft’s Windows, locks the systems it infects, and threatens to delete files unless a bitcoin ransom is paid. What happened? An attacker or group of attackers unleashed a wave of ransomware infections beginning on Friday, May 12. More so than previous attacks, this outbreak resulted in substantial disruption to regular [...] Read more

New York High Court Denies Facebook’s Challenge of Bulk Stored Communications Act Warrants

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The Court of Appeals for the State of New York recently rejected Facebook’s appeal of its challenge to bulk search warrants issued pursuant to the Stored Communications Act (SCA) and separately challenged the warrants’ nondisclosure component. The Court affirmed the lower court’s ruling that Facebook could not appeal the rejection of its motion to quash the SCA warrant. In this case, at the request of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the New York Supreme Court issued 381 warrants directing Facebook to “retrieve, enter, examine, copy, analyze, and . . . search” the targeted [...] Read more