Cyber ​​officials may have to testify about alleged social media collusion



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Below: Chinese spies are accused of trying to obstruct a US investigation into Huawei, and the FTC singles out a Drizly executive for a data breach. First:

Louisiana Judge Orders Some Cyberfeds Dragged To Testify

Two Republican attorneys general have won a first hand in their effort to force the federal government to hand over information about alleged attempts to silence right-wing voices on social media.

judge last week Terry Doughty ordered the deposition of a number of senior federal government officials, something judges are generally loath to do. They include some cyber officials: Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) jen easter; a member of a CISA team that fights influence operations; a State Department official who does the same; and an assistant special agent in charge assigned to the FBI San Francisco who is recognized as an expert in cybersecurity and election security.

Kept them from Hunter Biden’s laptop (Twitter’s CEO at the time has since said the newspaper’s ban was a mistake).

But in this lawsuit, First Amendment experts say there is little or no evidence that government officials collaborated with social media organizations to censor the news, and that the deposition decision has troubled them.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) and its Louisiana counterpart Jeff Landry (R) filed its lawsuit in May. Schmitt is running for Senate this year and Landry plans to run for governor next year.

The thrust of their lawsuit is that members of the Biden administration (some of whom served under Trump, including Antoine Fauci) allegedly colluded with social media companies to violate the First Amendment rights of some prominent conservative activists as well as ordinary citizens in the name of combating misinformation and misinformation on topics such as the coronavirus pandemic and the integrity of elections.

  • “The potential burden” on each of the senior officials whose removal the court ordered “is outweighed by the need to determine whether First Amendment free speech rights have been taken away,” the district court judge wrote. western american. District of Louisiana Terry Doughty.

Besides Easterly, other cyber-related officials who could be filed in the lawsuit are:

  • Lauren Protentis with CISA’s Mis-, Dis- and Malinformation team. However, Doughty said plaintiffs should choose either Easterly or Protentis to file, but not both. Younes said they chose Easterly.
  • Elvis Chan with the FBI office in San Francisco.
  • Daniel Kimmage, the acting coordinator of the Department of State’s Center for Global Engagement.

In Easterly’s case, the alleged evidence includes a text exchange on a since-discontinued disinformation governance council with a former CISA official. “The conversations ultimately describe how Easterly is seeking greater censorship and that this would be done through federal pressure on social media platforms to increase censorship,” Doughty wrote, summarizing the plaintiffs’ claims.

According to a text message from Easterly, classified as discovery, his remarks were about “trying to get us to a place where the Fed can work with platforms to better understand put/dis trends so relevant agencies can try to prebunk / demystify as useful. ” The plaintiffs deem that censorship.

The plaintiffs hailed the ruling by Doughty, who was nominated by Trump, as a victory that demonstrated the importance of their case. “I’m very happy with it,” Jenin Younes, a trial attorney for the nonprofit New Civil Liberties Alliance that joined the case, said. “Senior federal officials are generally protected from having to give depositions. But exceptions are made for circumstances like these where no one else would have the information.

Some outside legal minds who work on First Amendment cases were less enthusiastic.

  • George Freemanexecutive director of the Media Law Resource Center, called the lawsuit “strange,” saying it “don’t even make sense” in situations like when the then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki openly says things like, “Facebook needs to act faster to remove harmful and violent posts.”
  • “When the press secretary says she’s against the news, that really doesn’t seem like enough, let alone a threat, to be actionable against the First Amendment,” Freeman said.
  • “The fact that this is moving forward and that they have received such a general order to depose from senior officials, it is a bit surprising,” he added. Evelyne Douek, a Stanford law professor, told me. “The backlash when the complaint was first filed was largely that it was just political grandstanding around social media platforms.”

Younes said if the defendants wanted to challenge the deposition decision, it would be “relatively soon.” Under federal rules, depositions could last up to seven hours, she said.

The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment on its plans. A CISA spokesperson, Michael Feldmansaid the agency would not comment on disputes.

Mark S. Zaida DC attorney who frequently litigates against the U.S. government, told me over email that he wouldn’t be surprised if the DOJ appealed the ruling, given that it allowed a long list of officials.

Whether depositions could significantly help plaintiffs build their case is a separate question.

“Even with the depositions, the burden they have to prove their case here is extraordinarily high,” and “there is nothing in the record to suggest they have a chance,” Douek said. “So the idea that this is going to be a big ‘gotcha’ moment, that’s very unlikely.”

For now, the plaintiffs are emboldened.

“It is high time we brought this censorship enterprise to light and forced these officials to tell the truth to the American people, and this decision will allow us to do just that,” Schmitt said. “We will continue to push for the truth.”

Chinese spies accused of trying to obstruct Huawei investigation

The Justice Department says two men working on behalf of Beijing bribed a US law enforcement official to share secrets about the lawsuit against a major Chinese company that people familiar with the matter say was Huawei. , Devlin Barrett, Perry Stein and Ellen Nakashima report. But the official was actually a double agent working for the US government who was gathering evidence against the suspects and providing them with fake documents and information.

“The US Department of Justice indicted Huawei Technologies in 2019, accusing the world’s largest communications equipment maker and some of its executives of violating US sanctions on Iran and conspiring to obstruct justice related to the investigation, prompting furious condemnations from the company and the country,” Devlin, Perry and Ellen write. “The new charges suggest that the Chinese government has gone to great lengths to attempt to derail the U.S. case against the company, by tasking alleged Chinese intelligence agents with obtaining information about witnesses and evidence. Huawei has long insisted that it operates independently of the Chinese government.

A Huawei representative did not respond to a request for comment.

FTC singles out Drizly executive for data privacy breaches

Federal Trade Commission’s proposed order will follow Drizly’s CEO Cory Rellas to his future ventures, requiring him to implement security programs in all businesses he runs that collect data from at least 25,000 people, reports Cat Zakrzewski. The punishment came after alleged security breaches under Rellas’ watch revealed the personal information of about 2.5 million customers.

It also comes after Democrats called for more aggressive penalties for individual executives implicated in major data breaches. “There are only a handful of examples where the FTC has pursued such individual liability in past cases involving online data,” Cat writes. “In 2019, the agency entered into an agreement with the operator of an online rewards website, ClixSense, which will follow [the executive] to future businesses. That same year, the agency also named officers in an order it filed against a dress-up game website, which allegedly violated a law that protects children under 13 online.

Under the order, Rellas and Drizly, which is owned by Uber, will also have to destroy unnecessary data, implement new data controls and train their employees in cybersecurity. The FTC will decide whether to finalize the order after obtaining public comment for 30 days.

Biden admin set to warn of threats to country’s election infrastructure (Politico)

Medibank reveals hack hit more customers than expected (The Guardian)

When would a cyberattack trigger a NATO response? It’s a mystery (The Hill)

Apple fixes new zero-day used in attacks against iPhones, iPads (Bleeping Computer)

British firm Interserve fined £4.4m for ransomware attack (The Record)

Cyber ​​unicorn Snyk to lay off 198 employees, 14% of workforce (CTech)

  • CISA chief of staff Kiersten Todt speaks at an event hosted by the Virginia Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine today.
  • The Small Business Administration is hosting its cybersummit on Wednesday.
  • representing Tony Gonzales (R-Tex.), Col. Jennifer Krolikowskithe director of information for the US Space Systems Command, and other speakers attend the BlackBerry Security Summit 2022 on Wednesday.
  • The Information Security and Privacy Advisory Committee meets on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  • The R Street Institute is hosting a school cybersecurity event on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
  • The Aspen Institute is hosting an event Wednesday at 1 p.m. on election security, audits, influence operations and other things to know ahead of the midterm elections.
  • The Atlantic Council is Hosting a Supply Chain Cybersecurity Event Wednesday at 10 a.m.
  • National Cyber ​​Director Chris Inglis and Anne NeubergerDeputy National Security Adviser, speaks at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event Thursday at 10 a.m.
  • Rob SilverDHS Undersecretary for Policy, discusses cybersecurity initiatives at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event Friday at 11 a.m.

Thanks for reading. Until tomorrow.


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