National Security, Technology & Law Working Group

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Blank Section (Placeholder)EssaysAnalysis and Commentary

Tech Giants At The Crossroads

by Jon D. Michaelsvia Aegis Paper Series
Monday, July 30, 2018

Major technology companies find themselves at the center of two critical and vexing conversations. First is the digital public square conversation: millions of citizen-consumers wholly depend on these companies’ goods, services, and platforms to remain socially, politically, and economically engaged. Second is the deputization conversation: those same companies are often obligated to facilitate or intensify state surveillance over citizen-consumers. Thinking about the two conversations in combination—and thus viewing the tech firms as both victims and perpetrators in inherently unequal, imbalanced relationships—presents opportunities for a grand regulatory bargain that fixes the pair of problematic links in the broader chain of private-public relations. 

Blank Section (Placeholder)EssaysAnalysis and Commentary

An Intelligence Reserve Corps To Counter Terrorist Use Of The Internet

by Daniel Bymanvia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

This papers assesses the creation of an Intelligence Reserve Corps (IRC) to counter terrorist use of the Internet. US government agencies are poorly equipped to handle cutting-edge technological problems and they often devote resources too late, giving terrorists a window in which to exploit new technologies. An IRC, modeled loosely after military reserve programs, would bring in part-time government personnel with a technical background and increase private sector awareness of government needs. Many companies, however, would not support participation, and cultural and other differences are likely to limit progress.

Featured

Uncomfortable Questions In The Wake Of Russia Indictment 2.0 And Trump’s Press Conference With Putin

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, July 16, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his Justice Department/FBI team deserve congratulations for doing their job of figuring out in concrete detail what the Russians did in the 2016 election campaign and telling the American people about it—now in an indictment and perhaps later, and in more detail, in a report. Last week’s indictment might also portend, as the Lawfare crew implied, a tightening of the criminal-conspiracy noose to include Americans, perhaps some with connections to the Trump campaign.

Analysis and Commentary

Supplement To Curtis A. Bradley & Jack L. Goldsmith, Foreign Relations Law: Cases And Materials (6th ed. 2017)

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, July 2, 2018

The Summer 2018 Supplement for Bradley & Goldsmith, Foreign Relations Law: Cases and Materials (6th ed. 2017) is now available online. These materials cover, among many other things, the Supreme Court’s decision in Trump v. Hawaii (the “travel ban” case), which is excerpted with questions; the Court’s decision in Jesner v. Arab Bank concerning corporate liability under the Alien Tort Statute; the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal; legal issues raised by U.S. missile strikes against Syria; President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; and the debates and litigation concerning “sanctuary jurisdictions.”

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Internet Platforms: Observations on Speech, Danger, and Money

by Daphne Kellervia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Policymakers increasingly ask Internet platforms like Facebook to “take responsibility” for material posted by their users. Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders seem willing to do so. That is in part a good development. Platforms are uniquely positioned to reduce harmful content online. But deputizing them to police users’ speech in the modern public square can also have serious unintended consequences. This piece reviews existing laws and current pressures to expand intermediaries’ liability for user-generated content. It discusses three ways that poorly designed laws can do damage—to First Amendment-protected online speech, national security, and the economy.

Featured

Strengths Become Vulnerabilities: How A Digital World Disadvantages The United States In Its International Relations

by Jack Goldsmith, Stuart Russellvia Lawfare Blog
Wednesday, June 6, 2018

We have a new essay in the Hoover Aegis series called “Strengths Become Vulnerabilities: How a Digital World Disadvantages the United States in its International Relations.”  It seeks to explain why the United States is struggling to deal with the “soft” cyber operations that have been so prevalent in recent years: cyberespionage and cybertheft, often followed by strategic publication; information operations and propaganda; and relatively low-level cyber disruptions such as denial-of-service and ransomware attacks. 

Blank Section (Placeholder)Essays

Strengths Become Vulnerabilities

by Jack Goldsmith, Stuart Russellvia Aegis Paper Series
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

This essay seeks to explain why the United States is struggling to deal with the “soft” cyberoperations that have been so prevalent in recent years: cyberespionage and cybertheft, often followed by strategic publication; information operations and propaganda; and relatively low-level cyber disruptions such as denial-of-service and ransomware attacks. The main explanation for the struggle is that constituent elements of U.S. society—a commitment to free speech, privacy, and the rule of law, innovative technology firms, relatively unregulated markets, and deep digital sophistication—create asymmetric weaknesses that foreign adversaries, especially authoritarian ones, can exploit. We do not claim that the disadvantages of digitalization for the United States outweigh the advantages, but we present reasons for pessimism.

Analysis and Commentary

OLC’s Meaningless 'National Interests' Test For The Legality Of Presidential Uses Of Force

by Jack Goldsmith, Curtis A. Bradleyvia Lawfare
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) published a legal opinion May 31 that explained the basis for its oral advice in April that President Trump had the authority under Article II of the Constitution to direct airstrikes against Syria. 

Analysis and Commentary

A Smorgasbord Of Views On Self-Pardoning

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

"I have the absolute right to PARDON myself," tweeted President Trump, a few days ago. The president was presumably talking about a self-pardon for federal crimes already committed, not state crimes and not future crimes. Is he right? No president has ever tried to self-pardon and constitutional text does not speak overtly to the issue and there is no judicial precedent on point.

Featured

The New OLC Opinion On Syria Brings Obama Legal Rationales Out Of The Shadows

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Friday, June 1, 2018

There has been some heavy breathing in reaction to Steven Engel’s Office of Legal Counsel opinion released today in support of President Trump’s April 13, 2018 airstrikes in Syria. The opinion does indeed articulate an extraordinarily broad conception of the president’s authority to use military force abroad through air strikes without congressional authorization.

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Aegis on Lawfare

 
Aegis explores legal and policy issues at the intersection of technology and national security.  Published in partnership with Lawfare, it features long-form essays of the working group, examines major new books in the field, and carries podcasts and videos or the working group’s events in Washington and Stanford.

Security by the Book Podcasts

The Security by the Book podcast series features monthly interviews with authors of important, new national security-oriented books and publications.

In the News

Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers And The Secret Intelligence War Against The Soviet Union

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers And The Secret Intelligence War Against The Soviet Union" on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm.

Event
Analysis and Commentary

Dark Territory: The Secret History Of Cyber War

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Dark Territory: The Secret History Of Cyber War" on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm.

Event

Constitutionality Of The U.S. Drone War

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Targeting Americans: Constitutionality Of The U.S. Drone War" on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm.

Event
In the News

Home Sweet Homeland: Lessons For A More Resilient Nation

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Home Sweet Homeland: Lessons For A More Resilient Nation" on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm.

Event
In the News

Using Data To Secure Networks

Thursday, April 14, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Using Data To Secure Networks: Optimizing Individual Privacy While Achieving Strong Security" on Thursday, April 14, 2016 from 12:00pm - 2:00pm. The event video is below.

Event
In the News

The Hacked World Order

Monday, March 28, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "The Hacked World Order" on Monday, March 28, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm.

Event
In the News

American Intelligence In The Age Of Terror

Friday, March 11, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "American Intelligence In The Age Of Terror" on Friday, March 11, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm. The event video is below.

Event
In the News

Law As A Weapon Of War

Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Law as a Weapon of War" on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm. The event was recorded and can be listened to below.

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In the News

The Next Wave Of Surveillance Reform

Monday, January 25, 2016 to Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

The National Security, Technology, and Law Working Group at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University is hosting a symposium on “The Next Wave of Surveillance Reform,” taking place on January 25 and 26, 2016, at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, CA.

- By Invitation Only -

Event
In the News

Women Soldiers On The Battlefield

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution's National Security, Technology, and Law Working Group, along with Hoover's Washington, DC office, hosted a discussion on the growing role of women soldiers in special operations and beyond in America's post-9/11 wars on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm.

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The Working Group on National Security, Technology, and Law brings together national and international specialists with broad interdisciplinary expertise to analyze how technology affects national security and national security law and how governments can use that technology to defend themselves, consistent with constitutional values and the rule of law.

The group will focus on a broad range of interests, from surveillance to counterterrorism to the dramatic impact that rapid technological change—digitalization, computerization, miniaturization, and automaticity—are having on national security and national security law. Topics include cybersecurity, the rise of drones and autonomous weapons systems, and the need for and dangers of state surveillance. The group’s output will also be published on the Lawfare blog, which covers the merits of the underlying legal and policy debates of actions taken or contemplated to protect the nation and the nation’s laws and legal institutions.

Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes are the cochairs of the National Security, Technology, and Law Working Group.