Month: June 2008

Networks, Freedom of Association, and Relational Surveillance

More on regulating complex terrain in global counterinsurgency, from Katherine Strandburg at NYU and De Pau Law – Abstract: Recent controversies about the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping of international calls have overshadowed equally disturbing allegations that the government has acquired access to a huge database of domestic call traffic data, revealing information about times, dates, and numbers called. Although communication content traditionally has been the primary focus of concern about overreaching government surveillance, law enforcement officials are increasingly interested in using sophisticated computer analysis of noncontent traffic data to map networks of associations. Despite the rising importance of digitally mediated association, current Fourth Amendment and statutory schemes provide only weak checks on government. The potential to chill association through overreaching relational surveillance is great. This Article argues that the First Amendment’s freedom of association guarantees can and do provide a proper framework for regulating relational surveillance and suggests how these guarantees might apply to particular forms of analysis of traffic data.

Neutral Space in Cyber War

Strains on the sovereign entitlements of states, indeed…

A fascinating new article on "The Principles of Distinction and Neutrality in Cyberwarfare", by Jeffrey T.G. Kelsey, is the only recent bit of scholarship that I’ve seen that links cyber issues to radio broadcasting. It’s not explicitly what the piece is about – Kelsey’s points hover around embeddedness, non-lethality, and violations of sovereign neutrality – but he links the two through a case study that requires analogous reasoning. The lessons of radio and mass-mediated ethnic slaughter in Rwanda and Liberia, and broadcast nationalism in the former Yugoslav states, have been generally forgotten or ignored in the current wave of interest in information operations and strategic communications. So this is worth a read – as is past work by Jamie Frederick Metzl.