I’m Sorry, Siri, I’m Afraid I Can’t Do That

Alexa is listening to your every word.  So is Siri.  And Cortana.  And Google.  Or the HAL 9000 computer. Just say the magic words and the devices from Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google will obey your commands, give you help with your homework, do math and complete your Christmas shopping (particularly Alexa). Alexa is a…

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Three Factor Authentication and The Law – Compelled Decryption by Biometric

We all know what multi-factor authentication is.  Typically, it involves two of three classes of authentication; (1) something you know (a password or passphrase); (2) something you have (a token or key); and (3) something you are (a biometric).  Traditionally, the last of these, a unique biometric signature, has been the holy grail of identification,…

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The Internet and Ebola

When Doctor Craig Spencer returned from West Africa to New York, having treated Ebola patients while wearing protective gear and being asymptomatic and non-infectious, he engaged in a rigorous course of self-assessment for symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Dr. Spencer also did things like go to the popular High Line for coffee, travel…

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Gone Catfishing: Police, Subterfuge and the Internet

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Cops lie.  They are allowed to.  In the course of conducting investigations, they can go undercover, pretend to be other people, lie, cheat, steal and even inject spyware into people’s computers. They can (and have) set up fake Facebook pages in the names of real people,…

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Is the FBI Really “Going Dark?”

FBI Director Comey complained about the problem of people, “going dark,” in a speech before the Brookings Institution on October 16, 2014. He explained, “the law hasn’t kept pace with technology, and this disconnect has created a significant public safety problem. We call it ‘Going Dark,’ and what it means is this: Those charged with protecting our people…

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In (Partial) Defense of the Comey Plan

A terrorist assaults the Canadian Parliament, and is shot dead.  Police, fearing a Mumbai-style mass attack, seize the gunman’s cell phone to look for contacts, communications, text messages, or other information from which they could determine whether the attack is that of a lone gunman, or part of a more concerted attack. The phone is…

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