How do you graduate as a conservative with two Harvard degrees? We learn this and much more from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), our guest for episode 96 .  We dive deep with the Senator on the 215 metadata program and its USA FREEDOM Act replacement.  We ask what the future holds for the 702 program, one of the most important counterterrorism programs and just entering yet another round of jockeying over renewal of section 702; Sen. Cotton has already come out in favor of making the program permanent.  To round things out, Sen. Cotton assesses the risks of Going Dark on our intelligence community and the difficulties that the Safe Harbor negotiations pose for US intelligence.

In the news roundup, evidence mounts that someone has hacked the Ukrainian electric grid.   Michael isn’t ready to point the finger at Russia yet; but I pretty much am.  Whoever gets the blame, this probably means another aspirational cyberwar norm down the tubes.

In the United Kingdom, US tech firms are lobbying against a security bill, but Maury Shenk questions whether they’re mainly complaining about rules that are already part of UK law.

In the US, administration and Silicon Valley are happy talking about cooperation to discourage terrorist use of social media, but Michael isn’t sure what will come of the effort.  I unveil a half-baked proposal to activate a Mom Squad, on the theory that the best weapon against radicalization of adolescents is letting their parents know what they’re up to.  Michael reminds me that the government can’t tell Mom without getting a search warrant for private content, just as my daughter calls to say she’s been reading

File this one in the bulging folder labeled “Privacy protects the privileged”:  Volkswagen says it can’t comply with US government investigative demands because of the privacy of its employees – apparently including the privacy of employees who lied to US investigators.  Maury and I explore VW’s data protection justifications, all of which seem, well, arguable.

And in short takes, as predicted, Justice wants to moot the Klayman/Leon victory over NSA.  Meanwhile, NSA’s General Counsel makes his maiden public statement in Lawfare, and says a few things that the Cruz campaign will welcome. Defense counsel are making explosive charges against the FBI’s handling of a child porn investigation. And in the tastiest privacy irony of the week, the EU’s otherwise pointless “cookie notice” requirement turns out to be great news for malware distributors, if no one else.  Where would we be without the steady hand of wise European data protection officials?

Finally, after weeks of cajoling, our listeners have come through.  We have entries in the iTunes podcast reviews, and we’re averaging five stars.  Many thanks!

Download the ninety-sixth episode (mp3).