Brad Wiegmann | February 3, 2021
On February 3, Professors David Schanzer and Matt Perault were joined by Brad Wiegmann, a Senior Counselor in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, to discuss tech policy and its intersection with national security issues. The conversation began with a discussion of tech policy and counterterrorism efforts, and the relationship between tech companies and the government in regulating content on their platforms to limit terrorist recruitment. Wiegmann noted that there is a legal difference between designated terrorist groups and other groups for whether tech companies are obliged to regulate content or whether it is cooperative and voluntary. He also addressed some of the difficulties in labeling domestic terrorism, in particular the legal, practical, and political problems associated with the designation.
The conversation then shifted to recent events in tech policy, the CLOUD Act and the Shrems 2 decision. On the CLOUD Act, Wiegmann explained its usefulness in streamlining cross-border data requests and setting up a structure where states can cut through legal conflicts and find more effective ways to request data. Under the CLOUD Act, if the U.S. has a bilateral agreement with a country, it allows the country to access electronic evidence. He then explained the Shrems 2 decision, which is focused on issues of compatibility between U.S. data privacy laws and European data privacy laws. He noted that while Facebook, Amazon, and Google have been the focus of much of the conversation around Shrems 2, it is a wide-reaching decision that affects all sectors of the economy. The discussion then shifted to a Q&A, where Wiegmann answered questions about the lawful access issue in encrypted evidence, noting that there should not be specialized privacy when there is a warrant for access to all communications. He also answered questions regarding the use of digital lockers in counterterrorism, the Solar Winds attack and its implications, and his advice for students interested in tech policy and national security.