Computers, Privacy & the Constitution

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JudyWangFirstPaper 7 - 30 Apr 2017 - Main.EbenMoglen
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All eyes are on Apple as it takes on the US government in possibly the highest-profile fight in privacy and technology. Posing as a defender of civil liberties and customer privacy, Apple is vociferously defying a federal judge’s order to assist the FBI in its investigation of an alleged terrorist’s iPhone. Under its rationale, a loss to the US government in this case would lead to a dangerous precedent of Apple compromising its own security system and “undermin[ing] decades of security advances that protect [] customers”; assistance to the government would be equivalent to creating a “master key.” Furthermore, such a move would not only jeopardize security concerns vis--vis the American government and people, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook and other Apple officials, but create a watershed loss of security for those living under authoritarian governments. If the United States courts could compel security compromises, what is to stop Apple from being forced to cooperate with surveillance-happy governments such as Russia and China?

JudyWangFirstPaper 6 - 22 Mar 2017 - Main.EbenMoglen
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All eyes are on Apple as it takes on the US government in possibly the highest-profile fight in privacy and technology. Posing as a defender of civil liberties and customer privacy, Apple is vociferously defying a federal judge’s order to assist the FBI in its investigation of an alleged terrorist’s iPhone. Under its rationale, a loss to the US government in this case would lead to a dangerous precedent of Apple compromising its own security system and “undermin[ing] decades of security advances that protect [] customers”; assistance to the government would be equivalent to creating a “master key.” Furthermore, such a move would not only jeopardize security concerns vis--vis the American government and people, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook and other Apple officials, but create a watershed loss of security for those living under authoritarian governments. If the United States courts could compel security compromises, what is to stop Apple from being forced to cooperate with surveillance-happy governments such as Russia and China?

JudyWangFirstPaper 5 - 11 May 2016 - Main.EbenMoglen
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  All eyes are on Apple as it takes on the US government in possibly the highest-profile fight in privacy and technology. Posing as a defender of civil liberties and customer privacy, Apple is vociferously defying a federal judge’s order to assist the FBI in its investigation of an alleged terrorist’s iPhone. Under its rationale, a loss to the US government in this case would lead to a dangerous precedent of Apple compromising its own security system and “undermin[ing] decades of security advances that protect [] customers”; assistance to the government would be equivalent to creating a “master key.” Furthermore, such a move would not only jeopardize security concerns vis--vis the American government and people, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook and other Apple officials, but create a watershed loss of security for those living under authoritarian governments. If the United States courts could compel security compromises, what is to stop Apple from being forced to cooperate with surveillance-happy governments such as Russia and China?
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  Thus Apple is poised to stand as the unwavering and uncompromising defender of privacy rights around the world. Particularly with regards to foreign markets, Apple’s hardline stance seems to suggest that the security of their products is of the utmost concern.
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  However, a closer look at its dealings with foreign governments, in particular China, reveals a history of willing compromise on the part of Apple’s offerings. The evidence undercuts Apple’s posturing with the US government, and exposes Apple as a shrewd business that shifts its stance in order to gain market share. More optimistically, Apple’s lofty values in this case could be contrasted starkly with its eagerness to work with authoritarian regimes across the world, and this juxtaposition could be leverage for global consumers to demand the same expectation of privacy and security as its American consumers are led to believe they deserve. The debate could ironically force Apple to unwittingly become a true defender of security and privacy.
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  Apple first entered the Chinese market through its 3G iPhone in October of 2009, after lengthy negotiations between the company and state-owned telecommunications operator, China Unicom. Shortly thereafter, Apple introduced a 4S phone specifically modified for Chinese sale: a phone with a chip allowing it to adhere to China’s then-mandated WAPI standard. This technology was China’s alternative to wifi, which utilized a different brand of encryption whose code was undisclosed due to concern over “state secrets.” WAPI was heavily denounced in technology circles for its opaqueness and lack of protection, with engineers claiming that “almost no commercial market will trust or accept unknown ciphers.” Due to strong objections from the US government and IT vendors, China was forced to drop the WAPI standard. Yet, notwithstanding what was a blatant threat to security and privacy, Apple had readily caved on its product standards to comply with the Chinese government’s request.
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  Two years later, in 2014, Apple opted to begin storing Chinese users’ data on the servers of state-owned China Telecom. This decision stood in contrast to decisions by other technology giants, including Google, who had publicly refused to house data in China for fear of government access, control, and censorship. Such a move, despite reassurances from Apple that the data remained heavily encrypted, undoubtedly shifted significant control over the data from the American company to the Chinese government. In fact, iPhone security expert Jonathan Zdziarski stated that “whatever data is on Chinese servers is susceptible to confiscation or even cryptanalysis.” Apple, however, again chose to forsake its “strong privacy concerns” in return for access to the Chinese market.
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  In addition to changing its technology hardware to comport with Chinese regulations, Apple has a history of pulling apps from its store that are unpalatable to the Chinese government. Examples of removed apps include ones that mention the Dalai Lama and ethnic Uighur activist Rebiya, and another (Freeweibo) developed by Chinese cyber-activists which provided readers an uncensored version of China’s social media network, Sina Weibo. All of these apps attempted to bypass the government’s strict firewall in order to offer its readers untainted information. FreeWeibo? , in fact, had already successfully fended off initial attacks by the Chinese government, only to later be forcibly removed by Apple from its app store. Apple, on its end, claimed that they had been requested by the Chinese authorities to remove the app from the Chinese store because it was “against local laws.” In the fight against authoritarian censorship and control, Apple once again willingly stood shoulder to shoulder with the oppressor rather than the oppressed.
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  All of these interactions between Apple and the Chinese government reveal a shocking willingness to forsake security, privacy, and civil liberties. To Apple, China’s gross intolerance of free speech and notorious censorship regime pale in comparison to its promise as a booming and profitable market. Such savviness and opportunism stand in sharp contrast to a principle stance taken in the United States.
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  Fortunately, however, Apple’s recognition that privacy concerns are vital to its American consumers is also forcing them to visibly adopt a role its standard-bearer. This public battle shines a spotlight on Apple’s current and past practices in protecting consumer privacy, and makes it harder for Apple to engage in any behavior that undermines its righteous persona. Hopefully, as the public tide shifts towards greater value of privacy and security, Apple has no choice but to shift with it and redefine as a company.
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This seems to me more like notes for a draft essay than the essay itself. The analysis we developed in class week by week should induce some caution in the idea that Apple and the US government were in fact locked in a dispute: as the turns of events confirmed, this was mostly posturing on both sides.

Similarly, although the statements made about the relations between Apple and the Chinese Communist Party are factually correct, they don't ever come down to brass tacks: without the Chinese market, the largest for this ridiculously overpriced mobile phone, the iPhone would already be a failing product, for a company that has no new products to offer. Apple had no choice, from a business point of view, to accept the demands of the despot that rules the locale where its product is both made and consumed. Selling out the freedom of Chinese consumers, like poisoning and exploiting Chinese workers, is simply an integral part of protecting the brand.

So, from my point of view, the route to the improvement of the essay is to move away from the "this is very bad, but let us hope that soon Apple will be better" position to one that reflects your realistic assessment of Apple's motives and intentions, now. Your take may not be mine, of course, but whatever it is you should be able to state it lucidly and forcefully, without depending on statements of fuzzy general hopefulness.

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JudyWangFirstPaper 4 - 06 Mar 2016 - Main.JudyWang
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Is the United States Circumventing Constitutional Law Through Intelligence Sharing?

Edward Snowden not only revealed the existence of both American and British mass surveillance programs, but also exposed the close cooperation between the two countries’ intelligence agencies.* In particular, the Guardian reported that GCHQ has had access to PRISM since at least June 2010, and that a joint NSA-GCHQ team examines material intercepted by GCHQ through its Tempora program. The United States may either seek to take advantage of another country’s more lax surveillance laws, or simply benefit from the fact that domestic laws place fewer or no restrictions on the gathering of foreign intelligence. GCHQ lawyers, for example, told the Americans in legal briefings on Tempora that they have a “light oversight regime compared with the US,” and that it was “[their] call” when it came to judging the necessity and proportionality of what they were allowed to look for. While NSA spokeswoman Judith Emmel has denied that the NSA relies on its foreign partners to circumvent U.S. constitutional law, it is unclear whether U.S. law—specifically the Fourth Amendment—applies in the same way, if at all, to surveillance of U.S. persons undertaken in cooperation with a foreign country as it does to surveillance carried out by U.S. agencies alone.** Courts rarely find the Fourth Amendment to apply in cases involving searches and seizures carried out in cooperation with foreign governments, and the sharing of intelligence collected through mass surveillance presents a new question. Even in the cases where U.S. participation is held sufficient to trigger the Fourth Amendment, courts have rarely excluded evidence, ultimately finding that the Fourth Amendment was not actually violated—but this essay will not consider the separate question of what the Fourth Amendment requires once triggered.

Constitutional Limitations on Intelligence Sharing

While the Fourth Amendment protects U.S. citizens against unreasonable searches or seizures conducted by U.S. officials both at home and abroad, it does not apply to searches or seizures conducted exclusively by foreign governments. Under the “international silver platter doctrine,” evidence seized by foreign governments may be turned over to U.S. law enforcement and admitted in domestic criminal prosecutions, except in the extraordinary circumstance that their conduct “shocks the judicial conscience.”*** Courts have justified this doctrine on the basis that American courts can do little, if anything, to deter unreasonable searches by foreign governments. If U.S. officials cooperate with foreign law enforcement, however, they must comply with the Fourth Amendment. The legal issue then becomes precisely how much American involvement in a search is permissible before the conduct constitutes a “joint venture” triggering the Fourth Amendment. Most courts have generally required a substantial degree of participation: there are only a handful of cases in which U.S. participation in foreign investigations has been found sufficient to trigger the Fourth Amendment. In almost all of these cases, U.S. officials both initiated and actively participated in the search (see, e.g., United States v. Stokes). United States v. Juda is a notable outlier, where the court held that the Fourth Amendment was triggered by the fact that Australian authorities installed a tracking device on a narcotics smuggling vessel at the request of United States officials.

Most courts agree that merely providing tips or information or conveying suspicions to foreign police, resulting in a search or seizure, will not trigger the protections of the Fourth Amendment. For example, the Second Circuit in United States v. Maturo upheld a judgment that Turkish law enforcement officers were not acting as U.S. agents when they wiretapped the phones of a suspect under investigation by the DEA, finding no evidence that the DEA was specifically involved in the decision to seek a wiretap. Many courts have also held that U.S. agents may request, be present during, or even participate in a search so long as they did not initiate and control it. The court in United States v. Behety declined to find a joint venture where American agents provided information for a search, were present while it was conducted, and videotaped part of it. The same principles generally apply where the United States makes a request to a foreign government pursuant to a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT). For example, although an American MLAT request detailed specific evidence to be seized by Spanish authorities in United States v. Adler, “Spanish officers chose how to implement the search, conducted it without American input besides the MLAT request, and benefited from the fruits of the search.” As these cases show, courts are extremely reluctant to find sufficient U.S. involvement for the purpose of applying the Fourth Amendment even in cases whose facts appear demonstrate a substantial degree of participation.

Does the Fourth Amendment Apply to U.S.-U.K. Intelligence Sharing?

Similar to the NSA’s upstream collection, the U.K. government’s Tempora program involves the bulk interception, storage, and search of Internet traffic passing through fiber optic cables. According to the Guardian, GCHQ has intercepted more than 200 fiber optic cables landing the United Kingdom. The NSA’s involvement in this program suggests to some that it is essentially a joint project. The collected data is automatically searched and then extracted according to terms selected by both agencies: GCHQ has set over 40,000 search terms, while the NSA has set at least 31,000. Reports further indicate that a team consisting of 250 NSA and 300 GCHQ analysts is tasked with examining the intercepted material. The NSA also paid GCHQ at least 100 million pounds between 2010 and 2013 for its services, and in one report, GCHQ boasted about its “unique contributions” to the NSA’s investigation of the American citizen responsible for an attempted car bomb attack in Times Square in 2010. Whether this intelligence sharing implicates the Fourth Amendment may depend of course on the precise details of the arrangement, but Snowden’s disclosures suggest there is enough of a possibility that the U.K. is playing a role in American surveillance for this scenario to present a useful hypothetical at the very least.

Given the current state of the joint venture doctrine, the United States government may have a plausible legal argument that receiving information on U.S. persons from the United Kingdom does not constitute a joint venture to which the Fourth Amendment applies—even if the NSA requests the information from GCHQ or provides them with tips. The U.S. government may argue that its setting almost half of the terms according to which data is searched may be considered such a request. The case law suggests that NSA officials may also be present and participate in the search, so long as they do not “control” it (see, e.g., United States v. Cotroni). Reports that a team consisting of 250 NSA and 300 GCHQ analysts is tasked with examining Tempora’s intercepted material may indicate a variety of levels of U.S. participation, or may be irrelevant if the analysis takes place after the “search” is complete. It is also difficult to analyze the allegation that the NSA paid GCHQ over 100 million pounds between 2010 and 2013 without more information. For example, payment may be analogized to the consideration involved in mutual legal assistance treaties, or could be justified by the fact that it facilitates British compliance with the UKUSA Agreement and related obligations. While one can expect courts to draw the line at intentional circumvention of domestic law, U.S. government officials have denied this, and it would in any case be quite difficult to prove.

Criticisms of the joint venture doctrine and courts’ reluctance to find sufficient U.S. involvement for the purpose of applying the Fourth Amendment in even seemingly clear-cut cases are especially salient when it comes to cooperation involving electronic surveillance. In the few cases in which courts have found joint investigations sufficient to trigger the Fourth Amendment, U.S. officials have been physically present during the search and either directly seized evidence or provided armed cover in support of a foreign seizure. Unlike the search or seizure of physical evidence, electronic surveillance does not necessarily require the presence of law enforcement at all, let alone that of U.S. officials. Other than making the request, it is not clear how else the United States could participate in such a foreign investigation. It is therefore difficult to imagine how the sharing of electronic surveillance would ever trigger the Fourth Amendment under the current application of the joint venture doctrine. Furthermore, it is not clear how the doctrine would apply to foreign electronic surveillance of U.S. persons located in the United States since all of the cases involve foreign investigations of U.S. persons located abroad.

Mass surveillance programs are unlike foreign investigations involving the electronic surveillance of a U.S. person because they collect vast quantities of data that may either be searched automatically on an ongoing basis according to certain terms, or stored and later searched once a request has been made. In the case of automatic searching, the United States could hypothetically have an enormous influence on whether a particular search is carried out—by setting search terms, helping design the surveillance system, or contributing to its infrastructure—without ever requesting surveillance of any individual. If the NSA has unrestricted access to Tempora, or jointly analyzes the intercepted data, then it would be very difficult to deny their substantial participation. If GCHQ both automatically searches the intercepted information and shares it with the NSA according to a set of criteria predetermined by American officials, it is difficult to see how the United Kingdom is acting as anything but a U.S. agent. In this case, a court may either apply the joint venture doctrine or it could find the doctrine wholly inapplicable and conclude that the NSA is receiving intelligence from GCHQ about U.S. persons located in the United States and apply the Fourth Amendment as though the NSA were collecting the same intelligence itself. The Fourth Amendment may not be triggered under the joint venture doctrine, however, if GCHQ only shared intelligence gathered through the program upon its own initiative or in response to a particularized NSA request for information on a U.S. person located abroad.

The silver platter principle seems to be premised on the fact that investigations of U.S. persons abroad depend on, or are at least greatly facilitated by, the cooperation of foreign governments. If the United States asks another country to conduct a search of a U.S. person located in the United States, however, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the government is circumventing domestic law and not just practical or logistical realities—even if the joint venture analysis otherwise applies. The fact that both Tempora and Prism involve the mass collection of Internet data makes these programs especially problematic—both in terms of the joint venture doctrine and the Fourth Amendment. Unlike the NSA’s bulk telephony metadata collection program, which observes national borders insofar as only the American government can obtain the information from domestic third parties, the NSA and GCHQ may have direct access to a lot of the same Internet traffic, making it even more likely that the United States and the United Kingdom are circumventing domestic law. Current legal doctrines addressing the applicability of the Fourth Amendment do not adequately address this scenario. Of course, whether the United States is violating the Fourth Amendment is a separate question.

*Of course, these current reports of intelligence sharing between the United States and the United Kingdom are part of a much longer history of cooperation between the two countries in this area, dating back to the United Kingdom-United States of America (UKUSA) Agreement of 1946. While I could have equally addressed American intelligence sharing arrangements with the other members of the Five Eyes alliance (Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) or “third parties” (e.g. Israel), I have chosen to focus on the United States and United Kingdom because of their particularly close relationship.

**Privacy International has raised similar concerns in the United Kingdom, alleging that GCHQ may be circumventing U.K. law by obtaining data on British citizens from the NSA’s PRISM program. The complaint separately challenges the Tempora program as violating the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act of 2000, as well as EU law and the Human Rights Act.

***Conduct deemed to “shock the judicial conscience” has included acts of “torture, terror, or custodial interrogation” or forcible abduction and would not apply to intelligence sharing.

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All eyes are on Apple as it takes on the US government in possibly the highest-profile fight in privacy and technology. Posing as a defender of civil liberties and customer privacy, Apple is vociferously defying a federal judge’s order to assist the FBI in its investigation of an alleged terrorist’s iPhone. Under its rationale, a loss to the US government in this case would lead to a dangerous precedent of Apple compromising its own security system and “undermin[ing] decades of security advances that protect [] customers”; assistance to the government would be equivalent to creating a “master key.” Furthermore, such a move would not only jeopardize security concerns vis--vis the American government and people, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook and other Apple officials, but create a watershed loss of security for those living under authoritarian governments. If the United States courts could compel security compromises, what is to stop Apple from being forced to cooperate with surveillance-happy governments such as Russia and China? Thus Apple is poised to stand as the unwavering and uncompromising defender of privacy rights around the world. Particularly with regards to foreign markets, Apple’s hardline stance seems to suggest that the security of their products is of the utmost concern. However, a closer look at its dealings with foreign governments, in particular China, reveals a history of willing compromise on the part of Apple’s offerings. The evidence undercuts Apple’s posturing with the US government, and exposes Apple as a shrewd business that shifts its stance in order to gain market share. More optimistically, Apple’s lofty values in this case could be contrasted starkly with its eagerness to work with authoritarian regimes across the world, and this juxtaposition could be leverage for global consumers to demand the same expectation of privacy and security as its American consumers are led to believe they deserve. The debate could ironically force Apple to unwittingly become a true defender of security and privacy. Apple first entered the Chinese market through its 3G iPhone in October of 2009, after lengthy negotiations between the company and state-owned telecommunications operator, China Unicom. Shortly thereafter, Apple introduced a 4S phone specifically modified for Chinese sale: a phone with a chip allowing it to adhere to China’s then-mandated WAPI standard. This technology was China’s alternative to wifi, which utilized a different brand of encryption whose code was undisclosed due to concern over “state secrets.” WAPI was heavily denounced in technology circles for its opaqueness and lack of protection, with engineers claiming that “almost no commercial market will trust or accept unknown ciphers.” Due to strong objections from the US government and IT vendors, China was forced to drop the WAPI standard. Yet, notwithstanding what was a blatant threat to security and privacy, Apple had readily caved on its product standards to comply with the Chinese government’s request. Two years later, in 2014, Apple opted to begin storing Chinese users’ data on the servers of state-owned China Telecom. This decision stood in contrast to decisions by other technology giants, including Google, who had publicly refused to house data in China for fear of government access, control, and censorship. Such a move, despite reassurances from Apple that the data remained heavily encrypted, undoubtedly shifted significant control over the data from the American company to the Chinese government. In fact, iPhone security expert Jonathan Zdziarski stated that “whatever data is on Chinese servers is susceptible to confiscation or even cryptanalysis.” Apple, however, again chose to forsake its “strong privacy concerns” in return for access to the Chinese market. In addition to changing its technology hardware to comport with Chinese regulations, Apple has a history of pulling apps from its store that are unpalatable to the Chinese government. Examples of removed apps include ones that mention the Dalai Lama and ethnic Uighur activist Rebiya, and another (Freeweibo) developed by Chinese cyber-activists which provided readers an uncensored version of China’s social media network, Sina Weibo. All of these apps attempted to bypass the government’s strict firewall in order to offer its readers untainted information. FreeWeibo? , in fact, had already successfully fended off initial attacks by the Chinese government, only to later be forcibly removed by Apple from its app store. Apple, on its end, claimed that they had been requested by the Chinese authorities to remove the app from the Chinese store because it was “against local laws.” In the fight against authoritarian censorship and control, Apple once again willingly stood shoulder to shoulder with the oppressor rather than the oppressed. All of these interactions between Apple and the Chinese government reveal a shocking willingness to forsake security, privacy, and civil liberties. To Apple, China’s gross intolerance of free speech and notorious censorship regime pale in comparison to its promise as a booming and profitable market. Such savviness and opportunism stand in sharp contrast to a principle stance taken in the United States. Fortunately, however, Apple’s recognition that privacy concerns are vital to its American consumers is also forcing them to visibly adopt a role its standard-bearer. This public battle shines a spotlight on Apple’s current and past practices in protecting consumer privacy, and makes it harder for Apple to engage in any behavior that undermines its righteous persona. Hopefully, as the public tide shifts towards greater value of privacy and security, Apple has no choice but to shift with it and redefine as a company.

JudyWangFirstPaper 3 - 10 Apr 2015 - Main.ClaireM
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Minors and their iPhones
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Is the United States Circumventing Constitutional Law Through Intelligence Sharing?

 
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Edward Snowden not only revealed the existence of both American and British mass surveillance programs, but also exposed the close cooperation between the two countries’ intelligence agencies.* In particular, the Guardian reported that GCHQ has had access to PRISM since at least June 2010, and that a joint NSA-GCHQ team examines material intercepted by GCHQ through its Tempora program. The United States may either seek to take advantage of another country’s more lax surveillance laws, or simply benefit from the fact that domestic laws place fewer or no restrictions on the gathering of foreign intelligence. GCHQ lawyers, for example, told the Americans in legal briefings on Tempora that they have a “light oversight regime compared with the US,” and that it was “[their] call” when it came to judging the necessity and proportionality of what they were allowed to look for. While NSA spokeswoman Judith Emmel has denied that the NSA relies on its foreign partners to circumvent U.S. constitutional law, it is unclear whether U.S. law—specifically the Fourth Amendment—applies in the same way, if at all, to surveillance of U.S. persons undertaken in cooperation with a foreign country as it does to surveillance carried out by U.S. agencies alone.** Courts rarely find the Fourth Amendment to apply in cases involving searches and seizures carried out in cooperation with foreign governments, and the sharing of intelligence collected through mass surveillance presents a new question. Even in the cases where U.S. participation is held sufficient to trigger the Fourth Amendment, courts have rarely excluded evidence, ultimately finding that the Fourth Amendment was not actually violated—but this essay will not consider the separate question of what the Fourth Amendment requires once triggered.
 
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Minors have always been subject to special protection in every country of the world. They are looked as a vulnerable sector of society that is in a weak position when dealing with third parties and, hence, need to be provided with a special safeguard that, in some way, aim to balance this natural disequilibrium. Therefore, in most of modern societies minors are considered as citizens with limited capacity of enjoying their rights and obligations.
 
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Generally, minors can’t buy and/or consume certain products, read certain books, watch certain movies, attend certain places, or live by themselves without the watch of a tutor or guardian. Moreover, they can’t be punished as adults for the commission of felonies, travel abroad alone, get married, or apply for public positions. Despite for specific exceptions, minors are not entitled to enter into binding agreements, or at least, they are not compelled to comply with them if they don’t want to.
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Constitutional Limitations on Intelligence Sharing

 
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California’s Family Code ( 6700, 6701, 6710) states that a minor can only make binding contracts when such don’t involve the delegation or powers, the disposition of real property, or a matter different to an arms length transaction. However, minors are allowed to disaffirm (i.e. repudiate, or declare it void) such binding agreements at any point of their underage situation or in a “reasonable” period after they become adults.
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While the Fourth Amendment protects U.S. citizens against unreasonable searches or seizures conducted by U.S. officials both at home and abroad, it does not apply to searches or seizures conducted exclusively by foreign governments. Under the “international silver platter doctrine,” evidence seized by foreign governments may be turned over to U.S. law enforcement and admitted in domestic criminal prosecutions, except in the extraordinary circumstance that their conduct “shocks the judicial conscience.”*** Courts have justified this doctrine on the basis that American courts can do little, if anything, to deter unreasonable searches by foreign governments. If U.S. officials cooperate with foreign law enforcement, however, they must comply with the Fourth Amendment. The legal issue then becomes precisely how much American involvement in a search is permissible before the conduct constitutes a “joint venture” triggering the Fourth Amendment. Most courts have generally required a substantial degree of participation: there are only a handful of cases in which U.S. participation in foreign investigations has been found sufficient to trigger the Fourth Amendment. In almost all of these cases, U.S. officials both initiated and actively participated in the search (see, e.g., United States v. Stokes). United States v. Juda is a notable outlier, where the court held that the Fourth Amendment was triggered by the fact that Australian authorities installed a tracking device on a narcotics smuggling vessel at the request of United States officials.
 
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Moreover, Peruvian Civil Code ( 43, 44, and 227) proclaims that when not dealing with arms length transactions, minors under 16 years old are absolutely incapable of binding themselves through any agreement, being any contract that they enter into null and void. Likewise, it asserts that acts of minors between 16 and 18 years old can be disaffirmed at any point without further reason.
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Most courts agree that merely providing tips or information or conveying suspicions to foreign police, resulting in a search or seizure, will not trigger the protections of the Fourth Amendment. For example, the Second Circuit in United States v. Maturo upheld a judgment that Turkish law enforcement officers were not acting as U.S. agents when they wiretapped the phones of a suspect under investigation by the DEA, finding no evidence that the DEA was specifically involved in the decision to seek a wiretap. Many courts have also held that U.S. agents may request, be present during, or even participate in a search so long as they did not initiate and control it. The court in United States v. Behety declined to find a joint venture where American agents provided information for a search, were present while it was conducted, and videotaped part of it. The same principles generally apply where the United States makes a request to a foreign government pursuant to a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT). For example, although an American MLAT request detailed specific evidence to be seized by Spanish authorities in United States v. Adler, “Spanish officers chose how to implement the search, conducted it without American input besides the MLAT request, and benefited from the fruits of the search.” As these cases show, courts are extremely reluctant to find sufficient U.S. involvement for the purpose of applying the Fourth Amendment even in cases whose facts appear demonstrate a substantial degree of participation.
 
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Each state has its own minor’s protection laws and, even more, there are binding international treaties that protect them.
 
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Does the Fourth Amendment Apply to U.S.-U.K. Intelligence Sharing?

 
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iPhones are sold in the U.S. (and, hence, in California), in Peru, and in most of the countries of the world. iPhones are used worldwide by adults, and also by minors. iPhones are not only mobile devices that allow users to communicate among them, but are also devices by means of which users make contracts with third parties.
 
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Since the Internet era, cellphones became “smart” and stopped being just artifacts that permitted wireless phone conversations, converting into multipurpose goods. An iPhone can be used as a GPS, as a payment device, as a videoconference device, as a photo camera, as a video camera, as a search device, etc. By connecting an iPhone to Internet, its users are enabled to access to an immense amount of information. However, by connecting an iPhone to Internet, its users also enable third parties to access to an immense amount of their personal information, and they are not always as aware as they should about it.
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Similar to the NSA’s upstream collection, the U.K. government’s Tempora program involves the bulk interception, storage, and search of Internet traffic passing through fiber optic cables. According to the Guardian, GCHQ has intercepted more than 200 fiber optic cables landing the United Kingdom. The NSA’s involvement in this program suggests to some that it is essentially a joint project. The collected data is automatically searched and then extracted according to terms selected by both agencies: GCHQ has set over 40,000 search terms, while the NSA has set at least 31,000. Reports further indicate that a team consisting of 250 NSA and 300 GCHQ analysts is tasked with examining the intercepted material. The NSA also paid GCHQ at least 100 million pounds between 2010 and 2013 for its services, and in one report, GCHQ boasted about its “unique contributions” to the NSA’s investigation of the American citizen responsible for an attempted car bomb attack in Times Square in 2010. Whether this intelligence sharing implicates the Fourth Amendment may depend of course on the precise details of the arrangement, but Snowden’s disclosures suggest there is enough of a possibility that the U.K. is playing a role in American surveillance for this scenario to present a useful hypothetical at the very least.
 
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iOS is iPhone’s operating system and it is developed and exclusively used by Apple Inc. By obligation, every iPhone user is, at the same time, an iOS user, and, therefore, is required to agree with its terms and conditions in order to use its mobile device. iOS 8.1’s terms and conditions (http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/iOS81.pdf) state, among other things that, by using their iPhones, users grant Apple Inc. the following rights (the “Rights”):
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Given the current state of the joint venture doctrine, the United States government may have a plausible legal argument that receiving information on U.S. persons from the United Kingdom does not constitute a joint venture to which the Fourth Amendment applies—even if the NSA requests the information from GCHQ or provides them with tips. The U.S. government may argue that its setting almost half of the terms according to which data is searched may be considered such a request. The case law suggests that NSA officials may also be present and participate in the search, so long as they do not “control” it (see, e.g., United States v. Cotroni). Reports that a team consisting of 250 NSA and 300 GCHQ analysts is tasked with examining Tempora’s intercepted material may indicate a variety of levels of U.S. participation, or may be irrelevant if the analysis takes place after the “search” is complete. It is also difficult to analyze the allegation that the NSA paid GCHQ over 100 million pounds between 2010 and 2013 without more information. For example, payment may be analogized to the consideration involved in mutual legal assistance treaties, or could be justified by the fact that it facilitates British compliance with the UKUSA Agreement and related obligations. While one can expect courts to draw the line at intentional circumvention of domestic law, U.S. government officials have denied this, and it would in any case be quite difficult to prove.
 
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- Collect, maintain, process and use, diagnostic, technical, usage and related information; - Access to their locations (whenever they enable such option in their phones); - Share users’ personal information with third parties (partners, developers, content providers, etc.); - Use users’ location data; and, - In general, access, collect, maintain, process and use all your conversations, pictures, videos, messages, among other things related to the iPhone’s use.
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Criticisms of the joint venture doctrine and courts’ reluctance to find sufficient U.S. involvement for the purpose of applying the Fourth Amendment in even seemingly clear-cut cases are especially salient when it comes to cooperation involving electronic surveillance. In the few cases in which courts have found joint investigations sufficient to trigger the Fourth Amendment, U.S. officials have been physically present during the search and either directly seized evidence or provided armed cover in support of a foreign seizure. Unlike the search or seizure of physical evidence, electronic surveillance does not necessarily require the presence of law enforcement at all, let alone that of U.S. officials. Other than making the request, it is not clear how else the United States could participate in such a foreign investigation. It is therefore difficult to imagine how the sharing of electronic surveillance would ever trigger the Fourth Amendment under the current application of the joint venture doctrine. Furthermore, it is not clear how the doctrine would apply to foreign electronic surveillance of U.S. persons located in the United States since all of the cases involve foreign investigations of U.S. persons located abroad.
 
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These terms and conditions don’t only have to be accepted before the iPhone’s first use, but also every time the iOS system is updated (something which has happened frequently since its release in 2007).
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Mass surveillance programs are unlike foreign investigations involving the electronic surveillance of a U.S. person because they collect vast quantities of data that may either be searched automatically on an ongoing basis according to certain terms, or stored and later searched once a request has been made. In the case of automatic searching, the United States could hypothetically have an enormous influence on whether a particular search is carried out—by setting search terms, helping design the surveillance system, or contributing to its infrastructure—without ever requesting surveillance of any individual. If the NSA has unrestricted access to Tempora, or jointly analyzes the intercepted data, then it would be very difficult to deny their substantial participation. If GCHQ both automatically searches the intercepted information and shares it with the NSA according to a set of criteria predetermined by American officials, it is difficult to see how the United Kingdom is acting as anything but a U.S. agent. In this case, a court may either apply the joint venture doctrine or it could find the doctrine wholly inapplicable and conclude that the NSA is receiving intelligence from GCHQ about U.S. persons located in the United States and apply the Fourth Amendment as though the NSA were collecting the same intelligence itself. The Fourth Amendment may not be triggered under the joint venture doctrine, however, if GCHQ only shared intelligence gathered through the program upon its own initiative or in response to a particularized NSA request for information on a U.S. person located abroad.
 
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Minors and iOS terms and conditions:
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The silver platter principle seems to be premised on the fact that investigations of U.S. persons abroad depend on, or are at least greatly facilitated by, the cooperation of foreign governments. If the United States asks another country to conduct a search of a U.S. person located in the United States, however, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the government is circumventing domestic law and not just practical or logistical realities—even if the joint venture analysis otherwise applies. The fact that both Tempora and Prism involve the mass collection of Internet data makes these programs especially problematic—both in terms of the joint venture doctrine and the Fourth Amendment. Unlike the NSA’s bulk telephony metadata collection program, which observes national borders insofar as only the American government can obtain the information from domestic third parties, the NSA and GCHQ may have direct access to a lot of the same Internet traffic, making it even more likely that the United States and the United Kingdom are circumventing domestic law. Current legal doctrines addressing the applicability of the Fourth Amendment do not adequately address this scenario. Of course, whether the United States is violating the Fourth Amendment is a separate question.
 
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As we have mentioned before, iPhones are not only used by adults, but also by minors. Although minors can’t sign service agreements with cellphone companies, they are able to buy iPhones at iStores and operate them through Wi-Fi Internet. Therefore, they are required to accept iOS’ terms and conditions (at the first use and also when updates are released), and, consequently, they individually grant their Rights to Apple Inc.
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*Of course, these current reports of intelligence sharing between the United States and the United Kingdom are part of a much longer history of cooperation between the two countries in this area, dating back to the United Kingdom-United States of America (UKUSA) Agreement of 1946. While I could have equally addressed American intelligence sharing arrangements with the other members of the Five Eyes alliance (Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) or “third parties” (e.g. Israel), I have chosen to focus on the United States and United Kingdom because of their particularly close relationship.
 
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As of today, this situation has been assumed as normal, and users and Apple Inc. consider these agreements as binding and enforceable. However, how does this situation work under the Californian and Peruvian minors’ protection laws? How does this situation work and under the other minor’s protection laws that exist all over the world?
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**Privacy International has raised similar concerns in the United Kingdom, alleging that GCHQ may be circumventing U.K. law by obtaining data on British citizens from the NSA’s PRISM program. The complaint separately challenges the Tempora program as violating the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act of 2000, as well as EU law and the Human Rights Act.
 
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Can the authorization of permanently sharing ones’ location be considered an arms length transaction? Can the authorization of been permanently monitored be understood as a regular activity of an underage? Do we, as a society, consider that minors can allow third parties to “collect, maintain, process and use” their private conversations/pictures/videos? Is the right of disaffirming such obligations enough for protecting this vulnerable and defenseless sector of society?

Is Apple Inc. or any other company that make contracts with minors through smartphones aware of this situation? Do they have filters and procedures that help to confirm that their contract counterparties are citizens with full capacity to bind them? What if a minor that is an iPhone user disaffirms the granting of Rights? Will Apple Inc. delete all the minor’s personal information that was stored while their iOS terms and conditions were in full effect? Will this minor be able to use her iPhone without agreeing with iOS terms and conditions?

California’s Family Code and the Peruvian Civil Code are from 1993 and 1984, respectively. A lot of water (and data) has passed under the bridge since that moments, and regulations need to be updated. If one of the main purposes of societies is to protect minors, something needs to be done… and soon.

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***Conduct deemed to “shock the judicial conscience” has included acts of “torture, terror, or custodial interrogation” or forcible abduction and would not apply to intelligence sharing.
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Minors and their iPhones


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-- JoseEnriqueFrias - 06 Mar 2015

Minors and their iPhones

 
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Minors:

Minors have always been subject to special protection in every country of the world. They are looked as a vulnerable sector of society that is in a weak position when dealing with third parties and, hence, need to be provided with a special safeguard that, in some way, aim to balance this natural disequilibrium. Therefore, in most of modern societies minors are considered as citizens with limited capacity of enjoying their rights and obligations.

Generally, minors can’t buy and/or consume certain products, read certain books, watch certain movies, attend certain places, or live by themselves without the watch of a tutor or guardian. Moreover, they can’t be punished as adults for the commission of felonies, travel abroad alone, get married, or apply for public positions. Despite for specific exceptions, minors are not entitled to enter into binding agreements, or at least, they are not compelled to comply with them if they don’t want to.

Minors’ Protection Laws:

California’s Family Code ( 6700, 6701, 6710) states that a minor can only make binding contracts when such don’t involve the delegation or powers, the disposition of real property, or a matter different to an arms length transaction. However, minors are allowed to disaffirm (i.e. repudiate, or declare it void) such binding agreements at any point of their underage situation or in a “reasonable” period after they become adults.

Moreover, Peruvian Civil Code ( 43, 44, and 227) proclaims that when not dealing with arms length transactions, minors under 16 years old are absolutely incapable of binding themselves through any agreement, being any contract that they enter into null and void. Likewise, it asserts that acts of minors between 16 and 18 years old can be disaffirmed at any point without further reason.

Each state has its own minor’s protection laws and, even more, there are binding international treaties that protect them.

iPhones and iOS:

iPhones are sold in the U.S. (and, hence, in California), in Peru, and in most of the countries of the world. iPhones are used worldwide by adults, and also by minors. iPhones are not only mobile devices that allow users to communicate among them, but are also devices by means of which users make contracts with third parties.

Since the Internet era, cellphones became “smart” and stopped being just artifacts that permitted wireless phone conversations, converting into multipurpose goods. An iPhone can be used as a GPS, as a payment device, as a videoconference device, as a photo camera, as a video camera, as a search device, etc. By connecting an iPhone to Internet, its users are enabled to access to an immense amount of information. However, by connecting an iPhone to Internet, its users also enable third parties to access to an immense amount of their personal information, and they are not always as aware as they should about it.

iOS is iPhone’s operating system and it is developed and exclusively used by Apple Inc. By obligation, every iPhone user is, at the same time, an iOS user, and, therefore, is required to agree with its terms and conditions in order to use its mobile device. iOS 8.1’s terms and conditions (http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/iOS81.pdf) state, among other things that, by using their iPhones, users grant Apple Inc. the following rights (the “Rights”):

- Collect, maintain, process and use, diagnostic, technical, usage and related information; - Access to their locations (whenever they enable such option in their phones); - Share users’ personal information with third parties (partners, developers, content providers, etc.); - Use users’ location data; and, - In general, access, collect, maintain, process and use all your conversations, pictures, videos, messages, among other things related to the iPhone’s use.

These terms and conditions don’t only have to be accepted before the iPhone’s first use, but also every time the iOS system is updated (something which has happened frequently since its release in 2007).

Minors and iOS terms and conditions:

As we have mentioned before, iPhones are not only used by adults, but also by minors. Although minors can’t sign service agreements with cellphone companies, they are able to buy iPhones at iStores and operate them through Wi-Fi Internet. Therefore, they are required to accept iOS’ terms and conditions (at the first use and also when updates are released), and, consequently, they individually grant their Rights to Apple Inc.

As of today, this situation has been assumed as normal, and users and Apple Inc. consider these agreements as binding and enforceable. However, how does this situation work under the Californian and Peruvian minors’ protection laws? How does this situation work and under the other minor’s protection laws that exist all over the world?

Can the authorization of permanently sharing ones’ location be considered an arms length transaction? Can the authorization of been permanently monitored be understood as a regular activity of an underage? Do we, as a society, consider that minors can allow third parties to “collect, maintain, process and use” their private conversations/pictures/videos? Is the right of disaffirming such obligations enough for protecting this vulnerable and defenseless sector of society?

Is Apple Inc. or any other company that make contracts with minors through smartphones aware of this situation? Do they have filters and procedures that help to confirm that their contract counterparties are citizens with full capacity to bind them? What if a minor that is an iPhone user disaffirms the granting of Rights? Will Apple Inc. delete all the minor’s personal information that was stored while their iOS terms and conditions were in full effect? Will this minor be able to use her iPhone without agreeing with iOS terms and conditions?

California’s Family Code and the Peruvian Civil Code are from 1993 and 1984, respectively. A lot of water (and data) has passed under the bridge since that moments, and regulations need to be updated. If one of the main purposes of societies is to protect minors, something needs to be done… and soon.


Revision 7r7 - 30 Apr 2017 - 22:11:13 - EbenMoglen
Revision 6r6 - 22 Mar 2017 - 13:36:18 - EbenMoglen
Revision 5r5 - 11 May 2016 - 21:16:13 - EbenMoglen
Revision 4r4 - 06 Mar 2016 - 20:21:02 - JudyWang
Revision 3r3 - 10 Apr 2015 - 19:20:30 - ClaireM
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Revision 1r1 - 06 Mar 2015 - 17:31:06 - JoseEnriqueFrias
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