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International Agreements—and Disagreements—on Cybersecurity

Russian media report here and here that Russia and China are preparing to sign a cybersecurity treaty when Vladimir Putin visits China on November 10. The reported agreement would be the latest addition to the increasingly complex landscape of international agreements related to various aspects of cybersecurity—an area that in recent months has also added an African Union treaty and a NATO declaration.…   continue »

News Roundup and Notes: October 24, 2014

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.


U.S. military forces carried out six strikes in Syria on Wednesday and Thursday, and a further nine strikes along with partner nations in Iraq, targeting ISIS militants around Mosul Dam, Bayji oil refinery, and Fallujah.…   continue »

Folk tales

Editors’ NoteThe following post is the seventh installment of a new feature, “Monday Reflections.”

A few weeks back, Naz Modirzadeh and I exchanged posts about what she characterizes as the Obama Administration’s creation of so-called “folk international law.”  In her most recent entry in the dialogue, Naz continues her thoughtful and provocative engagement on questions relating to the norms for the U.S.’s use of lethal force against al Qaeda and its co-belligerent forces.…   continue »

Apple, Boyd, and Going Dark

Apple’s recent announcement that it will encrypt its newest iPhones is again pushing to the fore the question of whether the law should be updated to require companies to have systems that would enable them to comply with court orders for information.…   continue »

“Just looking for loopholes…”

…is what W. C. Fields supposedly said when someone found him leafing through the Bible. Apparently some lawyers in the Obama administration are following Fields’s lead, and may succeed in returning to the kind of loophole lawyering of the Bush administration’s “torture memos,” in order to fend off constraints on prisoner abuse abroad.…   continue »

Security “Front Doors” vs. “Back Doors”: A Distinction Without a Difference

Thursday, FBI Director James Comey delivered a talk at the Brookings Institution, titled “Going Dark: Are Technology, Privacy, and Public Safety on a Collision Course?” His thesis did not stray too far from his (and others’) recent calls for limitations on software from companies like Google and Apple that employs strong cryptography that even the companies themselves cannot break, even if law enforcement agencies produce a warrant for the encrypted data.…   continue »

Rejecting the Bush Comparison: A Response to Goldsmith & Waxman

Jack Goldsmith and Matthew Waxman have written an interesting essay on President Obama’s war powers legacy, boldly titled “Obama, not Bush, is the Master of Unilateral War.” As I have argued about an analogous claim made by Professor Bruce Ackerman, I think that the comparison to President Bush is unfounded and distracts from some interesting and valid concerns that Goldsmith and Waxman point out.…   continue »

Supreme Court of Canada Rules Individuals cannot sue a Foreign State in Canada for Torture Committed Abroad

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) affirmed that individuals cannot bring civil actions in Canada against a foreign state, which includes foreign officials, for acts of torture committed abroad. In the majority opinion in Kazemi Estate v Islamic Republic of Iran, Justice LeBel explained that this decision is political and “Canada has given priority to a foreign state’s immunity [the principles of comity and state sovereignty (para 2)] over civil redress for citizens who have been tortured abroad” (para.…   continue »