Cyber Round Up: Obama Administration and Smartphone Encryption, Forcing Suspects to Reveal Phone Passwords is Unconstitutional, China Cybersecurity Agreement Will Leave U.S. Companies Vulnerable

  • The Obama Administration Explored ways to Bypass Smartphone Encyryption (The Washington Post):  An Obama administration task force explored available options to allow law enforcement to access encrypted communications, according to the article.  The Washington Post reported that the task force developed a set of principles to guide the use of, and access to encrypted information which included: (1) no bulk collection of information, and (2) no [single] “golden keys”.  The article indicates that the task force also engaged with intelligence agencies and federal law enforcement (LE) and developed four potential solutions (all of which would require a court order):

(1) Encrypted LE port: Providers add a physical encrypted port to their devices that utilized an independent set of keys that would be used by LE;
(2) Spyware Updates: Would require companies to send malicious software updates (spyware) to a customer’s device which would allow LE to access the device;
(3) Split golden-keys: Would require companies to develop a “golden key” and then split that key into multiple keys which could be re-combined and used by LE; and
(4) Forced Backup: Would required companies to upload data from encrypted  devices to unencrypted backups.

The full article can be found here.

  • Forcing Suspects to Reveal Phone Passwords is Unconstitutional, Court Says (ARS Technica):  A Federal District Court judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ruled that forcing suspects to provide the passcode to their locked mobile devices is a violation of the Constitutional right against self-incrimination under the fifth amendment, according to the article.  ARS Technica reports that in 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the 11th circuit ruled similarly when finding that forcing a suspect to decrypt password-protected hard disk drives (HDD) would be a fifth amendment violation.  The full article can be found here.
  • China Cybersecurity Agreement Will Leave U.S. Companies Vulnerable (The Street):  Any cybersecurity agreement brokered between the U.S. and China is simply a token accord with no real substance, according to the article.  The Street reports that President Xi Jinping needs U.S. support to help revive China’s GDP which is part of the issue since China leverages its cyber initiatives in order to help achieve the same overall goal.  Consequently, while President Xi needs to strengthen trade and forestall the application of any U.S. sanctions against China, it is unlikely that China will abandon their sophisticated and organized cyber initiatives over the long-term, according to the article. The full text of the article can be found here.

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. She is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography