Ellen Nakashima

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to moot Microsoft email case, citing new law

Now that Congress has made clear that a US search warrant covers emails stored overseas, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to moot a case involving a data demand issued to Microsoft for a drug-trafficking suspect’s emails held in Ireland. The case, argued in February 2018, centered on whether a US tech firm must comply with a court order to produce emails even if they are stored abroad — in this instance, in a Dublin server. On March 23, Congress passed, and President Trump signed, the Cloud Act.

Trump administration hits Iranian hacker network with sanctions, indictments in vast global campaign

The Trump administration announced sanctions and criminal indictments against an Iranian hacker network it said was involved in “one of the largest state-sponsored hacking campaigns” ever prosecuted by the United States, targeting hundreds of US and foreign universities, as well as dozens of US companies and government agencies, and the United Nations. None of the alleged hackers were direct employees of the Iranian government, but all worked at the behest of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, officials said.

Trump administration hits Russian spies, trolls with sanctions over US election interference, cyberattacks

The Trump administration imposed fresh financial sanctions on Russian government hackers and spy agencies to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election, and for a cyberattack against Ukraine and other countries that officials have characterized as “the most destructive and costly” in history. Sanctions also were imposed on individuals known as “trolls” and the Russian organizations that supported their efforts to undermine the election. Additionally, the administration alerted the public that Russia is targeting the U.S.

Supreme Court to hear Microsoft case: A question of law and borders

The Supreme Court is set to hear a case that could have far-reaching implications for law enforcement access to digital data and for US companies that store customer emails in servers overseas. What began as a challenge by tech giant Microsoft to a routine search warrant for a suspected drug dealer’s emails has become a marquee case over data access in the Internet age. At issue is whether a US company must comply with a court order to turn over emails, even if they are held abroad — in this case in a Dublin server.

Russian spies hacked the Olympics and tried to make it look like North Korea did it, US officials say

Russian military spies hacked several hundred computers used by authorities at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, according to US intelligence. They did so while trying to make it appear as though the intrusion was conducted by North Korea, what is known as a “false-flag” operation. Analysts surmise the disruption was retaliation against the International Olympic Committee for banning the Russian team from the Winter Games due to doping violations. As of early February, the Russian military agency GRU had access to as many as 300 Olympic-related computers, according to an intelli

The nation’s top spies said Russia will attempt to undermine the 2018 midterm elections

The nation’s top intelligence chiefs testified Feb 13 that they fully expect Russia to seek to disrupt the 2018 midterm elections. Appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said that Russia will continue using propaganda, false personas and social media to undermine the upcoming elections.

Nunes memo centers on a 40-year-old law written to prevent surveillance abuses

At the center of the firestorm over a congressional memo that President Trump and his allies say reveals federal authorities’ missteps is a 40-year-old law passed in the wake of explosive domestic spying scandals. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) grew from congressional investigations into spy agencies’ eavesdropping on Americans, including civil rights activists and protesters against the Vietnam War, without warrants. The law created a warrant requirement for federal authorities to intercept the communications of anyone in the United States, including foreigners.

House poised to vote this week on renewal of major surveillance program

After months of wrangling between national security hawks and privacy advocates, the House will vote this week on a long-term extension of a surveillance program that allows the government to gather foreign intelligence on US soil. Should the bill pass unchanged, Senate leaders say they expect their chamber to approve it before it expires on Jan. 19. But privacy advocates in the House are backing an amendment that would impose a set of restraints.

FBI chief calls encryption a ‘major public safety issue’

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray renewed a call for tech companies to help law enforcement officials gain access to encrypted smartphones, describing it as a “major public safety issue.”  Director Wray said the bureau was unable to gain access to the content of 7,775 devices in fiscal 2017 — more than half of all the smartphones it tried to crack in that time period — despite having a warrant from a judge. “Being unable to access nearly 7,800 devices in a single year is a major public safety issue,” he said, taking up a theme that was a signature issue of his predecessor, James B. Comey.

Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options

The events surrounding the FBI’s NorthernNight investigation follow a pattern that repeated for years as the Russian threat was building: US intelligence and law enforcement agencies saw some warning signs of Russian meddling in Europe and later in the United States but never fully grasped the breadth of the Kremlin’s ambitions. Top US policymakers didn’t appreciate the dangers, then scrambled to draw up options to fight back.