This is the first edition of a new series of podcasts we’re doing here at Risky.Biz that will focus on cyber policy issues. The Hewlett Foundation approached us a while back to see if we’d be interested in doing this series we jumped at the opportunity.
The Foundation funds a lot of interesting people and work in the cybersecurity space. So the idea is pretty simple: we can talk to some of Hewlett’s grant recipients or experts in its network about pressing policy issues and turn those conversations into podcasts. The whole idea is to get some policy perspectives out there among the Risky Business audience, which, funnily enough, includes a lot of policy people.
Our first cab off the rank is this interview with Jim Baker. He joined the Department of Justice in 1990 and rose through the ranks to become the FBI general counsel in January 2014, a position he held until December 2017. So of course he was running all things legal for the FBI during the Apple-FBI dispute over a locked iPhone 5C recovered from the gunman responsible for the San Bernardino shooting.
Baker was the US Government’s point man on all things encryption, taking stances that outraged technologists and reinvigorated a policy debate that had – at least to a degree – stagnated for years. These days, Jim Baker serves as Director of the R Street think tank’s National Security and Cybersecurity Program.
This interview focusses on the so-called encryption wars. The FBI and other law enforcement/intelligence agencies want better access to encrypted material, while technologists say that’s impossible to accomplish without introducing unacceptable risks into the technology ecosystem. Baker shares his view on the topic.
The Australian government law enforcement and intelligence agencies guide to the Assistance and Access Act, which is mentioned in the introduction to the podcast, can be found here. (Ironically enough, served over http!)
PLEASE NOTE: Jim Baker joined our meeting via a phone call, so the audio quality here isn’t up to our usual standards. Sorry about that!