Welcome to eWhite House Watch
Where Technology, Privacy, and Politics Collide

Cyber Policy Updates Written By La...

Cyber Policy Updates Written By Law Students

eWhite House Watch features concise updates on cyber policy issued by the Office of the President of the United States (POTUS). Monitored and written primarily by law students, each eWHW cyber policy update is presented in an easy-to-scan format that includes links to POTUS announcements, federal and state proposed legislation, breaking news, updates, cyber policy committee reports, and more.

Technology + Privacy + Politics

Technology + Privacy + Politics

Striking the proper balance of benefits between technological advances and privacy protection has always posed challenges. Today, the challenges are even greater as technology significantly outpaces privacy protections; and the need for greater recognition of this reality and honest public discourse is more pressing than ever. eWhite House Watch monitors the cyber agenda so you can be informed and partake in the debate.

New to the Cyber World?

New to the Cyber World?

Visit our special feature, Origins: The White House Cyber Agenda for details on the current administration's Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. Learn More

Companion Blog: eLessons Learned

Companion Blog: eLessons Learned

The creator of eWhite House Watch also created eLessons Learned with a similar vision in mind: To provide readers with useful and timely information about how technology impacts our legal system and our lives in a way that is easy to understand. Learn More



The (cyber) State of the Union – Have we placed enough of a priority on our cyber security since 2008?

By Kristen Tierney   While security seemed to be a major focal point during President Obama’s State of the Union Address last Tuesday night, cyber security did not receive quite as much direct attention. Not surprisingly, national security took a front seat, but this time with very little focus on national surveillance policies. Perhaps it could be because it is the President’s eighth and last State of the Union Address, but the overall tone felt nostalgic, with the President frequently referencing the traditional American “spirit” and “work ethic.” Yet, it was candid and at times even “playful,” with the President evoking laughter several times throughout the night.   The President opened his address by laying out four major questions that he planned to answer, one of which was how we as a nation can “make technology work for us and not against us.” In trying to promote the need for technological developments in science and in medicine, Obama referred to the American “spirit of discovery.” calling for a similar response in dealing with issues like climate change and developing the cure for cancer as there was during the development and buildup of the American space program.   Developments in internet access received a brief but honorable mention, when the President said we have successfully “protected an open internet” and which also allowed for more students and low-income Americans to have internet access. It would have been impossible for the President to address issues of national security without at least acknowledging the looming threat of terrorism. It was at this point that the internet received a less honorable mention when the President acknowledged the use of the internet as a tool for terrorist groups like Al Qaida and ISIL in recruiting new members.

Read More

Georgetown’s Third Annual Cybersecurity Law Institute – A Recap of Informative Programming

The Georgetown University Law Center held its annual Cybersecurity Law Institute on May 20 and 21, 2015.  The event, billed as the only cybersecurity conference geared primarily for attorneys, focused on providing both practical how-to advice for attorneys working on cybersecurity while also discussing the future of cybersecurity.  eWhite House Watch had the opportunity of attending the conference as part of the Institute’s Press Corps, and found the sessions and networking opportunities fascinating.   The highlight of the event came on its first day when both James B. Comey, the director of the FBI, and Leslie Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the DOJ Criminal Division, spoke to the assembled conference goers.  Director Comey demonstrated a solid understanding of the cybersecurity threats facing the nation.  He repeatedly emphasized the importance of private companies' collaborating with the FBI to address the most pressing of cyber threats.  He noted that even though the FBI has not always had a stellar record in working with the private sector, it hastaken great steps to improve its relationship with private enterprise since the financial attacks of 2012.

Read More

House Faces Both Support and Criticism over Cybersecurity Bills Discussed this Past Week

As reported by The Hill this past week, the House was set to discuss two important Cybersecurity Bills, both expected to pass. According to the proposed bill, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act is intended “to improve cybersecurity in the United States through enhanced sharing of information about cybersecurity threats, and for other purposes.” Separately, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act is an amendment to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and according to that proposed bill it is expected “to enhance multi-directional sharing of information related to cyber-security risks and strengthen privacy and civil liberties, protections, and for other purposes.. On the surface, neither of the proposed bills seems problematic. There is some significant support for the bill, as noted in The Hill’s piece Tech will be watching cyber vote – in that the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) has already sent a letter to the House expressing its support for the bills. In the letter ITI said that it “firmly believe[s] that passing legislation to help to increase voluntary cybersecurity threat information and sharing between the private sector, is an important step Congress can take to enable all stakeholders to address threats, stem losses, and shield their systems, partners and customers.”

Read More

Cyberwar Escalates in the Middle East

  Author: Sarah Austin   On March 31, 2015 the DHS reported two new malware campaigns spotted in the Middle East. The first malware campaign is a brand-new information gathering tool called Trojan Laziok. The operators of Trojan Laziok have been targeting oil, gas and helium companies in the Middle East since January 2015. This malware infects the companies’ computer systems via a phishing email that contains an infected Microsoft Excel file. Once the email is opened and the malware has infiltrated the system, it collects vital data and information regarding the companies’ anti-virus protection. Access to information about the companies’ anti-virus protection allows the malware’s operators to remain undetected while continuing to infect the companies system with more advanced malware, such as Cyberats and Zbots, which can record audio and video from the infected computers and monitor keystrokes.

Read More

Wikimedia v NSA Complaint

The grounds for which Wikimedia is basing its lawsuit involve the mass surveillance program that the NSA has been implementing. One of the most troublesome facets of this program, according to Wikimedia’s pleading, is the NSA’s search and seizure of internet communications, which is called “Upstream” surveillance. Wikimedia argues that these actions violate its users most basic of rights, citing the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protection of freedom of speech, and Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure because defendants’ conduct involved suspicionless seizure and searching of Internet traffic by NSA on U.S. soil.   The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, continues to emphasize that user privacy is of utmost importance. When such privacy is put in question, and people fear that their information will be leaked, the Wiki experience is seriously undermined. This issue, with the NSA specifically, was made much more serious and real with the Edward Snowden 2013 public disclosures, which revealed information about Wikimedia’s programs. According to its blog postings, Wikimedia has been looking for a way to file a lawsuit ever since this incident. Zeroing in on the “upstream” surveillance aspect allows the suit to serve as a vehicle to address Wikimedia’s views on how…..

Read More

IAPP DC Summit 2015

Washington, D.C. – March 9, 2015 On March 4-6, 2015, the International Association of Privacy Professionals ("IAPP") held its annual Global Privacy Summit at the Mariott Marquis in Downtown Washington D.C., and as per the usual, it was a who's who of privacy pros in attendance. eWhite House Watch had the pleasure of attending the conference as part of IAPP’s Press Corps, and is pleased to report that it was a smashing success. This year, the three-day privacy extravaganza featured topics ranging from keynote speaker Glen Greenwald's Snowden coverage, privacy issues surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT), privacy issues for startups, cyber insurance, and the U.S. Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights proposed by Obama just a few weeks prior to the event.  Regular conference attendee (and past IAPP conference speaker) Fernando M. Pinguelo (partner and Chair of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Cyber Security & Data Protection group) observed, “IAPP’s tradition of offering high caliber presenters with real-world experience and insight continues, and is matched only by the notable keynote speakers who add a level of urgency to the data privacy and security dialogue and the conference attendees whose active participation contributes greatly to the panel discussions and learning experience.” eWhite House Watch also had the opportunity to sit in on a private roundtable discussion between IAPP President and CEO J. Trevor Hughes and Vice President of Research and Education Omar Tene. Referring to the year-over-year increase in consumer awareness regarding data privacy concerns, Hughes drew analogies between the digital and industrial economies. Both Hughes and Tene agreed that the media, consumer awareness, and the influence of the president were critical to getting uniform data privacy legislation on the books here in the U.S., and that unfortunately, such a massive shift in the regulation of data privacy might only be sparked by an Exxon-Valdez-caliber breach incident. “Aside from the informative programs available to lawyers in private practice, I find the conference also offers me the unique opportunity to meet with clients and colleagues in one location, many of whom also make it a point to attend this one in particular,” added Angelo A. Stio, III, partner in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department of Pepper Hamilton LLP, and a member of its Privacy, Security and Data Protection group. This year's conference was littered with networking events, and was packed full of consulting service providers on the exhibitor floor. And for the first time, a new session type called "From the Game Changers" was introduced as shorter, more informal professional-to-professional chats on practical experiences these 'Game Changers' withstood during their careers. In all, the 2015 Global Privacy Summit was a wealth of knowledge for both seasoned and aspiring privacy professionals, and lived up to the high standards of event coordination and substantive content that IAPP members have come to know and expect from the organization. "We really like how this event brings together the entire industry, including the regulators, and allows us to share our often differing views on the latest developments in the field," reflected Michael Morgan, Of Counsel in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy group at Jones Day. eWhiteHouse Watch’s Executive Editor stated “we are already looking forward to next year's event.”