PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

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Mr. Robot: My Review of the New TV Series

Mr Robot 01by Daniel J. Solove

I’ve really been enjoying the new TV series Mr. Robot on USA. Network.  It presents highly-engaging depictions of hacking and social engineering, and it is great entertainment for privacy and security  geeks.

Mr Robot 05aThe protagonist is Elliot Alderson (played by Rami Malek), a tech who works at a cybersecurity firm in New York City.  The show is narrated with voiceover by Elliot, and we get a glimpse into the mind of this reclusive and quiet person.  Voiceover can often falter as a technique, but here it works wonderfully — and all the more impressive because Elliot speaks softly, often in monotone.  But Elliot is such a fascinating character and Malek delivers Elliot’s monologue so effectively, that it becomes surprisingly engaging.

Elliot is very smart and clever, and he sees many around him as idiots.  He suffers from severe bouts of depression, is a recluse who wants to be invisible, and he is very awkward around other people.  He lives most of his life inside his head.  The show presents the stark contrast between what he says to others and what he is thinking.  In one scene, we see him speaking to his psychiatrist, telling her hardly anything.  But we hear his thoughts and know that he is pondering quite a lot.
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Cybersecurity: Leviathan vs. Low-Hanging Fruit

Data Security Training Low-Hanging Fruit

by Daniel J. Solove

There are certainly many hackers with sophisticated technical skills and potent malicious technologies.  These threats can seem akin to Leviathan — all powerful and insurmountable.

Leviathan 01

It can be easy to get caught up focusing on the Leviathan and miss the low-hanging fruit of cybersecurity.  This low-hanging fruit consists of rather simple and easy-to-fix vulnerabilities and bad practices.

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LinkedIn Influencer 02 You can follow Professor Solove on his blog at LinkedIn, where he is an “LinkedIn Influencer.”  He blogs about various privacy and data security issues. His blog has more than 600,000 followers.

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Does the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision on the 4th Amendment and Cell Phones Signal Future Changes to the Third Party Doctrine?

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by Daniel J. Solove

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision on two cases involving the police searching cell phones incident to arrest. The Court held 9-0 in an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts that the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant to search a cell phone even after a person is placed under arrest.

The two cases are Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, and they are decided in the same opinion with the title Riley v. California. The Court must have chosen toname the case after Riley to make things hard for criminal procedure experts, as there is a famous Fourth Amendment case called Florida v. Riley, 488 U,S, 445 (1989), which will now create confusion whenever someone refers to the “Riley case.”

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NSA Metadata Surveillance and the Fourth Amendment

metadata

by Daniel J. Solove

A U.S. District Court recently held that the NSA surveillance of telephone metadata likely violates the Fourth Amendment. The case is Klayman v. Obama.

The NSA surveillance program involves an incredibly broad gathering of metadata about people’s conversations. Metadata doesn’t include the conversations themselves, just data about when and to whom they are made — i.e., not the content of the phone conversations but the phone numbers of the people having the conversations.

The key Fourth Amendment case at issue is Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 745 (1979), which held that a pen register device capturing the phone numbers a person dialed wasn’t protected by the Fourth Amendment partly because the phone company had access to the phone numbers and partly because phone numbers weren’t viewed to be as sensitive as the phone conversations themselves.

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