The Stroz Friedberg Cyber Brief

  FEATURED STORY            


A federal magistrate judge in Philadelphia has ordered Google to comply with search warrants for customer emails stored outside the United States, a ruling that conflicts with the outcome of a recent federal appeals court case involving Microsoft emails stored in Dublin. Judge Thomas Rueter said that Google’s transferring emails from a foreign server so FBI agents could review them locally as part of a domestic fraud probe did not qualify as a seizure. “Though the retrieval of the electronic data by Google from its multiple data centers abroad has the potential for an invasion of privacy, the actual infringement of privacy occurs at the time of disclosure in the United States,” he wrote. Google said the ruling “departed from precedent” and pledged to appeal and “continue to push back on overbroad warrants.”

Legal analysts say that with the confusion of conflicting judgments being issued in circuit courts, there will be growing pressure for clarity--either by Congress revising the relevant legislation, or by cases being pushed to the Supreme Court for a definitive ruling. (Reuters, WaPo, TechCrunch)


Credit Cards: A new report says that, despite recent security protections implemented by the payment card industry, including the introduction of chip cards, a historic number of consumers fell victim to identity fraud last year. (WSJ)


Encryption: The average volume of encrypted internet traffic recently surpassed the average volume of unencrypted traffic, according to Mozilla, the company behind the popular Firefox web browser. This generally means the web is becoming more secure for everyday users, analysts say. (Wired)

InterContinental: The hotels chain confirmed last week a data breach from payment cards used at twelve of its properties in the United States. The announcement comes a little over a month after the company said it was investigating claims of a possible breach. It follows similar incidents last year at Hyatt Hotels and Starwood Hotels. (Reuters)


Immigration Order: A group of major U.S. technology companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook filed a legal brief to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, opposing President Donald Trump's temporary immigration ban, arguing that it “inflicts significant harm on American business.” The appellate court over the weekend denied the Trump administration's request for an immediate stay of a Washington federal judge's nationwide injunction of key components of the travel ban. The court will reconsider the government's request after receiving more information today. (Reuters, CNN)


  ON THE HILL                                    

Data Limits: The agency is closing its lengthy inquiry into a practice knowns as “zero-rating,” which occurs when Internet providers allow consumers to use as much of a certain website or app as they want without that consumption counting against their monthly data limits. In the fall, the FCC found that AT&T and Verizon's approach to zero-rating posed a risk to net neutrality. (WaPo)  


Trump Advisors: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced he was stepping down from President Trump’s economic advisory council amid a wave of both internal and external criticism. Analysts say his exit underscores the tricky calculus facing many Silicon Valley chieftains who are trying to work with a highly controversial new administration. (NYT)



NSA: Deputy Director Richard Ledgett announced he will retire in the spring. He became the agency’s number two in 2014, after spending a year leading the investigation into Edward Snowden’s surveillance leaks. George Barnes, a well-respected career NSA officer, is expected to replace Ledgett. (Politico)

  PRIVATE SECTOR                             

FireEye: The cybersecurity firm reported its first drop in quarterly revenue and forecast current-quarter billings well below analysts' estimates. Additionally, the company said both its chairman and chief financial officer are leaving. (Reuters)


Snapchat: The messaging app’s parent company is expected to seek a market valuation of more than $20 billion from investors. From 2011 to 2012, the number of people using Snapchat every day grew from 1,000 to one million. By the end of last year, an average of 158 million people were using the app daily. (NYT)

  THE WORLD                                     

Russia: Recent high-profile arrests may be linked to allegations that the Kremlin was behind hacking that attempted to influence the recent U.S. presidential election. Russian media have described the arrests--including at least two intelligence officials at the FSB and an employee at Kaspersky Lab--as being part of a treason case. (WSJ, NYRB)


Czech Republic: The foreign ministry said its email system has been hacked by a foreign government in a cyberattack similar to that on the Democratic National Committee last year. Analysts note that the Czech government has been one of Europe’s more vocal opponents of Russia. (WSJ)

France: As the high-stakes presidential election approaches this spring, Facebook, Google and a group of news organizations launched an initiative to tackle fake news stories in France. (Reuters)


German Politics: Russia's Next Target? "The Kremlin uses broadcasting, online news sites, social networks, and chat rooms to reach foreign audiences including in Germany. It has a launched a German-language service for Russia Today, its main foreign television channel. Even more important for communicating to Russian-speakers are the domestic Russian television stations accessible worldwide via the web," writes Stefan Wagstyl in the Financial Times.


Police Should Need a Warrant to Get Your Location Data: “Your cell phone records every location you visit if the phone’s location services are turned on, which is more often than not. Called cell-site location information, this data is tracked on both Android devices and iPhones. The information can be quite telling; it might show the location of your home, your office, and other places you visit often. The problem is that it can teach police about a person’s behavior and then can be used against them. In some states, the data can be used without a warrant,” writes Charles Blain in Wired.

How Immigration Uncertainty Risks U.S. Tech Dominance: “The biggest loss from excessive or capricious restrictions on immigration would ultimately be the loss of the community of best-in-the-world minds that coalesce in a tech hub like Silicon Valley. That culture can’t be replaced or reproduced solely with native talent. (Imagine, for example, if the U.S. had refused to use foreign scientific and engineering talent when building the first atomic bomb.) That talent may not wait around for the U.S. immigration picture to become clearer. The world is now littered with startup ecosystems and tech hubs outside of the U.S. and Silicon Valley,” writes Christopher Mims in the Wall Street Journal.


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