February 8, 2017

These are the oral arguments from the ninth circuit, which were streamed live yesterday. This is the first oral argument that I know of that was streamed live. These are the arguments in the Trump executive order case: 17-35105.

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January 29, 2017 President Trump Signs Executive Order Temporarily Halting All Refugees

Trump signed the order on refugees while at the Pentagon, minutes after General James Mattis was sworn in as Secretary of Defense by Vice President Mike Pence at a brief ceremony which the president attended. The executive order, � Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States ,� contained these key elements: � Suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days, prohibiting the arrival of refugees into the United States from any country during that period � Ordered the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to undertake a complete review of the refugee vetting process � Permanently banned Syrian refugees until President Trump determined otherwise, and � Lowered the ceiling of refugees allowed to enter the United States during FY 2017 to 50,000. Opponents of the federal refugee resettlement program praised Trump�s actions. �This is a great beginning, and much needed,� Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch told Breitbart News.

During the 12 months up to September 30, 2016, the federal government accepted 84,995 refugees in the United States.

In the three months and twenty-seven days since Fiscal Year 2017 began on October 1, 2016, 32,125 refugees have entered the United State

The executive order did however, allow the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security the discretion, on a case by case basis, �to process . . . those refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual�s country of nationality,�

The number of refugees granted religious-persecution waivers during the 120 suspension period is likely to be minimal.

Upon the possible resumption of the federal refugee resettlement program on May 27, 120 days from Friday, four months will remain in FY 2017. Slightly more than 4,000 refugees per month, in total�17,875 refugees, would be allowed to enter the United States during the remaining time of FY 2017.

But such a resumption will be contingent upon the judgments of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence �only for nationals of countries for which [they]�have jointly determined that�such additional procedures are adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States.�

The order also directed �the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Homeland Security and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence [to]�review the USRAP application and adjudication process to determine what additional procedures should be taken to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States, and shall implement such additional procedures,� during the 120 day suspension period.

Refugee applicants currently in the pipeline �may be admitted upon the initiation and completion of these revised procedures,� the executive order stated.

In the order, President Trump also �proclaim[ed] that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.�

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday announced the suspension of the processing of any refugees overseas currently under consideration for acceptance to the program.

The executive order also included a temporary block on visas for 90 days for �immigrants and non-immigrants� from�Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Iran, and Iraq, and specifically directed the Secretary of State to �request all foreign governments that do not supply such information [regarding refugee vetting] to start providing such information regarding their nationals within 60 days of notification.�: After the 60-day period . . . expires, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the President a list of countries recommended for inclusion on a Presidential proclamation that would prohibit the entry of foreign nationals (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas) from countries that do not provide the information requested pursuant to subsection (d) of this section until compliance occurs.” Signing the �Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States� executive order was one of two executive actions taken by President Trump immediately after he congratulated Mattis.

The other action was the signing of a presidential memorandum, whose purpose, the president said, is ��to begin a great rebuilding of the armed services of the United States, developing a plan for new planes, new ships, new resources and new tools for our men and women in uniform.�

�I�m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,� the President said �of the executive order temporarily banning refugees.

�We don�t want them here,� Trump said �of terrorists.

�We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,� he said, adding: We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people. We will never forget the lessons of 9-11, nor the heroes who have lost their lives at the Pentagon. They were the best of us. We will honor them not only with our words, but with our actions. And that�s what we�re doing today. I am privileged to be here with you, and I promise that our administration will always have your back. We will always be with you.” �Both forms of presidential action have the force of law on the executive branch, and sometimes they seem to be used interchangeably,� USA Today reported �on the difference between an executive order and a presidential memorandum: Executive orders are required by law to be published in the Federal Register, which is sort of the executive counterpart to the Congressional Record. Presidential memoranda may be published or not, depending on the subject. . . .

In 2014, fed up with Obama�s executive orders, Congress required the White House Office of Management and Budget to begin reporting on the cost of executive orders. But Congress neglected to include presidential memoranda, and included them the next year � but only for a memorandum with an estimated regulatory cost of $100 million or more.” The American�Civil Liberties Union quickly issued this statement �criticizing Trump�s executive order: �Extreme vetting� is just a euphemism for discrimination against Muslims. Identifying specific countries with Muslim majorities and carving out exceptions for minority religions flies in the face of the constitutional principle that bans the government from either favoring or discriminating against particular religions. Any effort to discriminate against Muslims and favor other religions runs afoul of the First Amendment.” The National Partnership for New Americans �[NPNA], a left wing pro-refugee and open borders group, also criticized the president�s executive order.

�Refugees are our coworkers, neighbors, friends, business owners, and community leaders. Regardless of where they come from � whether as a refugee or as an undocumented young person � everyone deserves to live with dignity, protected from harm,� Joshua Hoyt, the executive director of the NPNA said. �We oppose Trump�s unjust, un-American, and discriminatory steps to disgrace our history, beliefs, and values,� Hoyt added.
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January 29, 2017 Tech Industry Frets Over Possible Immigration Changes

SEATTLE � American technology companies for years have relied on a steady stream of skilled engineers from overseas to help them create their products.

Now many of those companies and their workers are girding for expected changes to immigration policy under President Trump that the companies say could hurt their ability to tap the technical talent they need to stay competitive.

Mr. Trump, who has signed a series of executive orders related to immigration, is expected to soon take similar action on visa programs for foreign workers. A draft of a proposed executive order on the matter was leaked this week. While it is not clear how the final order will look and the draft contains some changes many in the technology industry support, some language alarmed people in Silicon Valley. The technology industry relies heavily on the H-1B visa program, through which highly skilled workers like software engineers are permitted to work in the United States for companies like Microsoft, Google and Intel.

The draft proposed a regulation to �restore the integrity of employment-based nonimmigrant worker programs� and to consider options for modifying the H-1B program to �ensure that beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest.�

That language rattled some executives and lawyers representing technology companies because of its implication of sweeping changes.

�You�d be shocked at the number of people who are feeling fear, calling our firm alarmed based on what�s coming out,� said Priya Alagiri, an immigration lawyer based in the Bay Area who has tech clients. �It�s not just the undocumented. Even people who are here on green cards, legally. Citizens. They�re scared.�

Some technology companies have started warning their investors of potential threats to their business from the changes. In a filing on Thursday with securities regulators related to its quarterly financial results, Microsoft included new language related to immigration.

�Changes to U.S. immigration policies that restrain the flow of technical and professional talent may inhibit our ability to adequately staff our research and development efforts,� the company said in the filing.

Brad Smith, Microsoft�s president, said in a statement that the company believes �in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system and in broader immigration opportunities for talented and law-abiding young people like the Dreamers,� a reference to young people who entered the country illegally as children but were allowed to remain by President Barack Obama.

On Friday, Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, waded into the broader immigration debate with a post in which he said he was concerned about Mr. Trump�s actions. Mr. Zuckerberg said his great-grandparents came from Germany, Austria and Poland, while his wife�s arrived from China and Vietnam.

�We are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world can live, work and contribute here,� Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. �I hope we find the courage and compassion to bring people together and make this world a better place for everyone.�

The technology industry is open to changes that have been proposed by members of Congress to better enforce the skilled worker program and adjust limits on the number of visas. But the companies see skilled worker visas as a signature policy issue that they have fought to protect and expand.

They fear Jeff Sessions, the nominee for attorney general, and others in the administration will take a more severe approach to immigration and sweep up H-1B visas into prohibitions on refugees and stronger border protection.

�The effect would end up being exactly the opposite of what Trump wants. Companies would go offshore like Microsoft did with Vancouver, Canada� to seek talent, said Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a research group sponsored by several tech firms.

Mr. Zuckerberg has been an outspoken proponent of immigration issues and how they may affect those inside and outside of Silicon Valley. In 2013, with other tech leaders, Mr. Zuckerberg backed Fwd.us, a nonprofit group dedicated to comprehensive immigration change.

But Mr. Trump has made it increasingly clear that immigration policy may change drastically.

Any changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, initiated under the Obama administration, could have significant effects on current tech employees who fear for their status.

�Right now, we are focused on making sure for protections for 750,000 Dreamers who have DACA stay in place,� said Todd Schulte, president of Fwd.us, in an interview. �If the goal is to increase public safety and prevent future illegal immigration, the way to do that is to modernize the legal immigration process. That�s radically different than a large-scale ramp-up of rapid deportation.�

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

On Friday, Mr. Trump signed a separate executive order that imposes a temporary ban on visas to people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

The Computing Research Association, a nonprofit organization that represents computing professionals in academia, government laboratories and other areas, said in a statement that the order �creates uncertainty and potential hardship among current students and researchers already here making important contributions and endangers our leadership role in a key field.�
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January 22, 2017 Encrypted Email Service Once Used by Edward Snowden Relaunches

IN 2013, LADAR Levison, founder of the encrypted email service Lavabit, took the defiant step of shutting down the company�s service rather than comply with a federal law enforcement request that could compromise its customers� communications.

The FBI had sought access to the email account of one of Lavabit�s most prominent users �� Edward Snowden. Levison had custody of his service�s SSL encryption key that could help the government obtain Snowden�s password. And though the feds insisted they were only after Snowden�s account, the key would have helped them obtain the credentials for other users as well.

Lavabit had 410,000 user accounts at the time.

Rather than undermine the trust and privacy of his users, Levison ended the company�s email service entirely, preventing the feds from getting access to emails stored on his servers. But the company�s users lost access to their accounts as well.

Levison, who became a hero of the privacy community for his tough stance, has spent the last three years trying to ensure he�ll never have to help the feds break into customer accounts again.

�The SSL key was our biggest threat,� he says.

On Friday, he�s relaunching Lavabit with a new architecture that fixes the SSL problem and includes other privacy-enhancing features as well, such as one that obscures the metadata on emails to prevent government agencies like the NSA and FBI from being able to find out with whom Lavabit users communicate. He�s also announcing plans to roll out end-to-end encryption later this year, which would give users an even more secure way to send email.

The new service addresses what has become a major fault line between tech companies and the government: the ability to demand backdoor access to customer data. Last year when the FBI sought access to an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter, Apple couldn�t get into the phone because the security scheme the company built in to the device prevented it from unlocking the phone without the shooter�s password. (Eventually, the FBI found another way to access the phone�s data, ending the dispute with Apple.)

�This is the first step in a very long journey,� Levison told The Intercept prior to the re-launch. �What we�re hoping for is that by the end of this year we�ll be more secure than any of the other encrypted messaging apps out there on the market.�

A number of encryption services and apps make this claim, but Lavabit has a particular claim to fame: It was an encrypted email service that Snowden used before the shutdown.

Snowden told The Intercept that he plans on reactivating his Lavabit account once it relaunches, �if only to show support for their courage.� But he says he can�t speak for the security of the revamped Lavabit before the service is available.

Today�s launch is only for existing users to reinstate their old accounts under the new architecture so they will work with the end-to-end encryption client software when it�s rolled out. Lavabit is asking account holders to log in over IMAP or POP, so their encrypted passwords, usernames, and keys can be regenerated under the new architecture.

Although Lavabit has some 50 million encrypted email messages on its servers belonging to these users, account holders won�t be able to access their old correspondence. Levison isn�t sure if they will migrate old emails to the new platform, since they�re stored in a different data format.

With the new architecture, Lavabit will no longer be able to hand over its SSL key, because the key is now stored in a hardware security module � a tamper-resistant device that provides a secure enclave for storing keys and performing sensitive functions, like encryption and decryption. Lavabit generates�a long passphrase blindly so the company doesn�t know what it is; Lavabit then inserts the key into the device and destroys the passphrase.

�Once it�s in there we cannot pull that SSL key back out,� says Sean, a Lavabit developer who asked to be identified only by his first name. (Many of Lavabit�s coders and engineers are volunteers who work for employers who might not like them helping build a system that thwarts government surveillance.)

If anyone does try to extract the key, it will trigger a mechanism that causes the key to self-destruct.

The hardware security module is a temporary solution, however, until end-to-end encryption is available, which will encrypt email on the user�s device and make the SSL encryption less critical.

Once Lavabit becomes open to new users, customers will have three modes of service to choose from: Trustful, Cautious, and Paranoid.

Trustful is aimed at people who don�t have a lot of risk and want ease of use. It works a lot like the old Lavabit, where the email encryption is done on Lavabit�s server.

Users have to trust that Lavabit has designed the system so the company�can�t obtain their password and see their communications. For many, Levison�s decision to shut down his business to defy the feds is enough to earn their trust. But Levison and his team have made the code for their server open source, so users can see how it�s designed and verify the architecture prevents the company from learning their passwords.

If someone doesn�t want Lavabit running the server, they can also download the open-source software and install it on a server of their own.

�What other encrypted messaging system allows you to download the server and use it yourself?� Levison asks.

For people who don�t want to trust Lavabit and don�t want to run their own server, Cautious mode will offer end-to-end encryption. This moves encryption off the server and onto the user�s device. It�s designed for people who want more security and the ability to easily use their account on multiple devices, such as a phone, laptop, and desktop computer.

The user installs Lavabit client software on his or her�device to generate an encryption key. That key is encrypted using a passphrase the user chooses and is sent to Lavabit where it�s stored. Lavabit can�t access and decrypt it; only the client software on the user�s device can. If the user installs the client software on another device, the client will obtain the encryption key from Lavabit�s server and the user will unlock it with his or her�passphrase and import it into the client software, which will use the key to encrypt the user�s�email.

Some people who want more security � like activists, journalists, and whistleblowers � might balk at having their key stored on a third-party server. That�s where Paranoid mode comes in. The key for doing end-to-end encryption remains on the user�s device and never goes to Lavabit�s server. But to use another device, the user has to manually move the key to it. And there�s no way to recover the key if the user loses it or deletes it.

All three modes will use another new architecture feature called Dark Mail to obscure email metadata.

Metadata is the transaction data that includes the �to,� �from,� and �subject� lines. It�s generally not encrypted, even when email content is. Spy and law enforcement agencies can draw connections between people and derive information about someone from metadata.

Dark Mail obscures metadata using a design modeled on Tor � the Onion Router. The metadata is encrypted, and the sender�s ISP knows which account is sending the email but not the destination account, only the destination domain. When it reaches that domain, the server there decrypts the �to� field of the email to deliver it to the right account. The destination domain doesn�t know the account that sent the email, only the domain from which it came.

Given the increasingly crowded landscape of encrypted services and apps, it may be hard for Lavabit to stand out. But its most famous one-time user believes it has at least one major advantage.

Lavabit�s greatest offering is �a proven willingness to shut down the company rather than sell out their users, even if a court makes the wrong call,� says Snowden. �That�s actually a very big deal: They might be the only ones in the world that can claim that.�
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January 19, 2017

Simple RSS reader This is the RSS reader I’m using now! I absolutely love it! Not only that, but the developer actually listens to feedback, and works on it.

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January 18, 2017 Edward Snowden’s leave to remain in Russia extended for three years

Edward Snowden�s leave to remain in Russia has been extended for three years, his lawyer has said, as a Russian official said the whistleblower would not be extradited to the US even if relations improved under the incoming president, Donald Trump. Snowden�s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told RIA Novosti news agency that the permit had been extended until 2020. He also said that as of next year, Snowden would have the right to apply for Russian citizenship.

Earlier on Wednesday, Maria Zakharova, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, wrote on Facebook that Snowden�s right to stay had recently been extended �by a couple of years�. Her post came in response to a suggestion from the former acting CIA director Michael Morell that Vladimir Putin might hand over Snowden to the US, despite there being no extradition treaty between the countries.

Morell wrote a column for the website The Cipher Brief in which he said handing over Snowden could be �the perfect inauguration gift� from the Russian president to Trump.

Zakharova mocked Morell for not knowing, despite his intelligence background, that Snowden�s leave to remain had been extended. She added that it would be unthinkable for Russia to hand over Snowden.

�The essence of what this CIA man is suggesting is the ideology of betrayal. You�ve let it slip, Mr Morell, that for your agency it�s quite normal to offer up people as gifts, and to give up those who are seeking protection.�

The announcement came hours after the outgoing US president, Barack Obama, commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning. The whistleblower, who was serving a 35-year prison term, will go free in May.

Snowden has not commented on the extension of his right to stay in Russia, but did react to Obama�s decision to free Manning on Tuesday evening, writing on Twitter: In five more months, you will be free. Thank you for what you did for everyone, Chelsea. Stay strong a while longer!” Snowden later added: �Let it be said here in earnest, with good heart: Thanks, Obama.� In November, Snowden said he believed there was a chance Putin might hand him over to Trump as part of a deal. �It�s possible. It would be crazy to dismiss the idea of this guy who presents himself as a big deal maker [Trump] as trying to make a deal,� he said.

Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong in June 2013, and spent five weeks at the airport before he was eventually given the right to remain in Russia temporarily. He was granted a three-year residence permit in August 2014.

During his early period in Moscow, Snowden did not criticise Putin or the Russian system, but he has recently become more outspoken about his adopted country. He has been strongly critical of Russian laws to police the internet and has also allowed for the possibility that Russian government hackers broke into Democratic party servers, as US intelligence believes but Russia has repeatedly denied.