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The V&E Report
Insights in Government Enforcement and Investigations

Not So Cryptic: AG Barr Adamant That “Warrant-Proof Encryption” Poses Threat to Public Safety

In a keynote address at the International Conference on Cyber Security on Tuesday, July 23, Attorney General Barr clearly articulated the DOJ’s position that “‘warrant-proof’ encryption poses a grave threat to public safety by extinguishing the ability of law enforcement to obtain evidence essential to detecting and investigating crimes.”1 Barr outlined the ways in which criminals — including drug traffickers, human traffickers, terrorists, and gangs — use encrypted messaging technology to further criminal enterprises, and he criticized technology companies for failing to work with law enforcement “to preserve lawful access” to suspects’ encrypted devices and messages, even when police have a valid search warrant.2

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  • 23
  • May
  • 2019

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Minority Report: San Francisco Bans Facial Recognition Tech Over Potential Bias, Privacy Concerns

Privacy advocates in the Bay Area have cause for celebration after San Francisco became the first municipality in the United States to pass an ordinance barring the city’s use of facial recognition technology because of the “propensity [of] facial recognition technology [to] endanger civil rights and civil liberties” and “exacerbate racial injustice.”

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  • 15
  • May
  • 2019

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Federal Cybersecurity Regulations Pose New FCA Risk to Defense Contractors

Defense contractors who falsely claim that they are compliant with federal cybersecurity acquisition regulations may face liability under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) in light of a recent decision from the Eastern District of California. The case, United States ex rel. Markus v. Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc.,1 demonstrates the substantial liability risk that defense contractors face as they struggle to meet the government’s cybersecurity standards.

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If You Give A Cop Your Passcode... Court Considers Whether Using Voluntarily-Provided Codes Violates the Fourth Amendment

The Colorado Supreme Court held last week that when a defendant voluntarily disclosed his four-digit passcode for what he thought was a limited purpose and an officer used the code to search the defendant’s entire phone, it did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The court reasoned that the defendant “had no legitimate expectation of privacy in the digits of his passcode after providing them to [a police officer].”1

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Burn After Reading? — DOJ Loosens Previous Ban on Secretive Messaging Apps

DOJ has again modified its guidance regarding enforcement of the FCPA. Among the recent modifications is a loosening of the ban it had announced in 2017 on the use of disappearing messaging applications or software by companies hoping to receive cooperation credit under the Corporate Enforcement Policy. In 2017, DOJ had announced a policy that required companies wishing to receive full cooperation credit to “prohibit[] employees from using software that generates but does not appropriately retain business records or communications,” as part of prohibiting the destruction or deletion of business records.

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