Caveat 5.20.20
Ep 29 | 5.20.20

The different implications of surveillance.


Alan Z. Rozenshtein: I think tradition and value that we have in our society is one of effective competent government that is able to defend the nation from threats. And global pandemic, I think, certainly qualifies as one of these threats. 

Dave Bittner: Hello, everyone. And welcome to "Caveat," the CyberWire's law and policy podcast. I'm Dave Bittner. And joining me is my co-host Ben Yelin from the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. Hello, Ben. 

Ben Yelin: Hi, Dave. 

Dave Bittner: On this week's show, I've got the story of a potential expansion of the Patriot Act, Ben takes a look at some hacking tools that were offered up to local law enforcement. And later in the show, my conversation with Alan Z. Rozenshtein, associate professor of law at University of Minnesota. We'll be discussing his recent article in "Lawfare" - "Government Surveillance in an Age of Pandemics." While this show covers legal topics and Ben is a lawyer, the views expressed do not constitute legal advice. For official legal advice on any of the topics we cover, please contact your attorney. 

Dave Bittner: All right, Ben, let's jump into our stories here. Why don't you start things off for us? What do you have for us this week? 

Ben Yelin: So my story comes from Motherboard; that's part of the Vice network. It is about the NSO Group, which you might have heard from the news, is a company that - a surveillance vendor that has previously sold technology to authoritarian governments, most notably Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian government used this NSO Group technology during the James (ph) Khashoggi case, which made headlines back in 2017 and 2018. They have a sister company in the United States called Westbridge Technologies, all under the same umbrella. And that company has been trying to sell smartphone monitoring technology to a bunch of local police departments across the country. 

Ben Yelin: This hacking product is called Phantom. I don't know why they always come up with these creepy sounding names. 

Dave Bittner: (Laughter). 

Ben Yelin: It conjures up "Phantom Of The Opera" to me. 

Dave Bittner: OK. 

Ben Yelin: But the way this works is, basically, it's a surveillance tool that when a user of a device clicks on something - maybe it's a text message or an email - that grants law enforcement access into that device. Not only can they monitor email communications, text messages, they can do things like take pictures from that device. I mean, it's basically a way to gain full control. They can gain access to the contact list. They could track location. 

Dave Bittner: They can turn on the microphone. 

Ben Yelin: They could turn on the microphone. So these are things that obviously are very intrusive to personal privacy. What Motherboard obtained is basically an advertising letter they sent to the San Diego Police Department saying, like, this is everything that this technology can do. And a member of the San Diego Police Department, who is somebody who interacts with vendors, said this sounds awesome. 

Dave Bittner: (Laughter) Which to be fair, if you were someone in law enforcement, this would sound awesome. Right? 

Ben Yelin: Yeah. So not only that but my initial instinct into reading that was not to take that too literally. I mean, sometimes when my child is describing a picture she drew at school, just because I have nothing else to say, I might be like - oh, yeah, that's awesome. 

Dave Bittner: Right, right. I'm just saying I want to see more. I meant you've piqued my curiosity. 

Ben Yelin: Exactly. Like, oh, that sounds like a cool product. Like, I'm not sure that this sergeant - this guy by the name of David Meyer - was actually speaking on behalf of the police department or anybody who had decision-making authority as to this technology. And that's exactly what the lieutenant from the San Diego Police Department said, which was basically, we have conversations with vendors all the time; don't take, you know, whatever records you have of those conversations literally. 

Ben Yelin: Where this has applicability going forward - you know, this goes beyond the typical surveillance tools that we've talked about on this podcast because this is so all-encompassing. It's a one-click attack tool. As we said, it can turn on one's microphone. It can track location. It can bypass encrypted content in devices. So you know, that's obviously - for people who are security obsessed, this is sort of a way around those robust encryption regimes. 

Ben Yelin: And all we know from the people who are quoted in this article, including the San Diego police, is if we were to use something like this, we'd have to obtain a warrant. That still would probably concern me as somebody concerned about privacy and civil liberties just because, even with a warrant, being able to penetrate somebody's device to that extent just is something that's previously been beyond the realm of our understanding. And the fact that we only know about this technology because of a leak from a local police department, I think, is sort of eye opening. 

Dave Bittner: Now, to be fair to NSO, the organization that sells this, I mean, they will say that they sell these tools to intelligence organizations around the world of all stripes and that these are legitimate tools that these services need to use in their day-to-day business and it's not just authoritarian governments who make use of them in some of the ways that have been reported on - that there are legitimate uses for these things. 

Ben Yelin: And there totally are legitimate uses. I think, you know, in responding to this article, NSO has said, well, we have this system, Pegasus, which we use for counterterrorism operations, not only in authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia but across the world. Counterterrorism is certainly a legitimate purpose for conducting certain types of electronic surveillance. 

Ben Yelin: What they're talking about here is contracting with a local police department. That's where I think things get a little bit trickier. Are we going to be using something this pervasive in garden-variety law enforcement cases? I think that makes a difference in public perception. You know, oftentimes we can imagine ourselves as the victims of traditional criminal surveillance - even if we know we're not one to commit crimes, like, the police are going to be suspicious of us. You know? We've all seen that the highway patrol tail us a few miles down the highway to make sure that we're not speeding. And I think we have that understanding. 

Ben Yelin: And we just sort of think that tools used for terrorism, those are going to be used on somebody else - you know? - somebody, you know, in a far-off land who has no relation to my day-to-day life. 

Ben Yelin: So seeing that it's the San Diego Police Department, I think, is one thing that's particularly eye opening. It could be your local police department that's been inquiring about this technology. And you know, I think a lot of these types of technologies - maybe not to the degree that it exists here - they go all over the country to trade shows. They're advertising to local police departments. There is a real market here. And you can understand from law enforcement's perspective, they want to protect their communities. They're always looking for ways to augment their investigations. This is just a particularly extreme example. 

Dave Bittner: You know, I was trying to think of a good analogy for this - the ease with which you can deploy something like this. And something I was thinking of and it helped me - let me know if you think this is imperfect. But imagine if there was a technology that law enforcement could use where a police officer could drive by your house, you know, park their cruiser out in front of your house and point some device at the house and hear, with crystal clarity, every conversation going on inside the house. Right? 

Dave Bittner: Now, to me, there's a big difference between if we put that technology in every single police cruiser and gave the discretion to the individual police officers, even telling them - before you use this device, you have to have a warrant... 

Ben Yelin: Right. 

Dave Bittner: ...Versus, let's say, having that device locked in a special store room with a special officer who's assigned to the use of that device. And so if a patrol officer wants to use that device, they have to go sign it out, and that special officer has to go along with them. And there's lots of paperwork and oversight and all that sort of thing. To me, you know, that could be the difference between the proper use of a device like this that requires a warrant and a police officer cruising by his ex-girlfriend's house or his ex-wife's house... 

Ben Yelin: Right. Let's see what I can hear, yeah. 

Dave Bittner: ...Just because he or she can. Right? Is my line of thinking off base there as a useful analogy? 

Ben Yelin: I think it is useful. The process for receiving a warrant in a criminal investigation varies depending on, you know, which judge you might happen to come across in obtaining that warrant. But yeah, with proper oversight and with very limited use, maybe you could justify this as a potential tool. 

Ben Yelin: But we talk about this all the time. I mean, once you create the tool, then if it gets into the wrong hands, it's going to be abused. And these tools can very easily get into the wrong hands. If everybody at the San Diego Police Department were trained in using this technology, it would only take one rogue employee to be like, huh, I wonder what nude selfies my ex-girlfriend has been sending to her new boyfriend on her phone. Let me tap into that. 

Ben Yelin: So that's what I think the real danger is, even if to use it in a criminal investigation - to have it admissible at a future trial, you would need to obtain a warrant. You know? So I just think - yes, use is possible, and it could be constitutional if you have very robust safeguards. But it would only take, you know, a couple of rogue police officers for this technology to be abused. 

Dave Bittner: Well - and as the NSO Group states, this technology leaves no trace behind on the device according to them, which... 

Ben Yelin: Right. You never know that you've been surveilled. You just thought you were clicking, you know, some random link in your text messages. And all of a sudden, they're turning on your microphone. So you know, I think - I can see why individuals would find that scary. 

Dave Bittner: Interesting, for sure. As always, we'll have a link to the article in the show notes, so do check that out. 

Dave Bittner: My story this week has to do with the potential expansion of the Patriot Act, which of course Patriot Act came about in 2001 after 9/11. And according to this article in The Daily Beast, Mitch McConnell is looking to amend the Patriot Act and permit the FBI to warrantlessly collect records on Americans' web browsing and search histories. I want to unpack this with you, Ben. First of all, I want to start with - when I was researching this story, it was noteworthy to me that I didn't see a lot of what I would describe as the mainstream media picking up on it. I didn't see a story on it in The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. The Daily Beast is covering it in a very - I would even say - perhaps breathless kind of way. So let's start at the top here. Is there a story here at all? 

Ben Yelin: I think there is a story. I think the reason it has not penetrated the mainstream media is twofold. For one, we are in the midst of a global pandemic that is occupying 100% of the media oxygen - or maybe 99%. Then the other, you know, percent is the president has been alleging abuse by his predecessor. That's sort of been in the news the past couple of days. So there's just not that much bandwidth for other news items. That's one factor. 

Ben Yelin: The other factor is what this article is referencing are proposed amendments to a Patriot Act reauthorization bill. The amendments, as of this recording, have not passed. I have my doubts as to whether they are going to be enacted and if they were enacted whether the - not only the Senate would approve the underlying bill, you know, then it would have to go back to the House of Representatives where you have a Democratic majority. So I just don't think there is that great of a chance that this policy that's outlined in this article will end up being the law of the land. But it is still noteworthy for several reasons which I'm sure we'll discuss. 

Dave Bittner: Well, let's dig into that. I mean, why is Mitch McConnell using any of his political powers and efforts on this particular thing? 

Ben Yelin: So just for a little bit of background, the USA PATRIOT Act, portions of it, were set to expire in mid-March. This was sort of right as the pandemic was coming along. Specifically, a few controversial provisions were set to expire. The most controversial was the call detail records program under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act - I know we've discussed many times on this podcast. The House of Representatives came up with a bipartisan compromise that would extend other parts of the Patriot Act but curtail the call detail records program and prohibit the warrantless collection of ongoing call detail records. 

Ben Yelin: So it would end the practice of finding Dave's phone number and on an ongoing basis collecting all the metadata from his phone. You could still do so - you could still collect metadata if it was on an individualized basis, a one-time basis, a series of phone calls but not in sort of this ongoing fashion. So the House passed that piece of legislation in March, then the Senate went out of town. The coronavirus was starting to hit. They not only, you know, for safety reasons were staying away from the Capitol, but with their limited bandwidth, they wanted to pass coronavirus relief legislation. So... 

Dave Bittner: I see. 

Ben Yelin: ...Those provisions of the Patriot Act have actually expired. They've been expired for two months, and, you know, unbeknownst to many of us, who've been living without several elements of the USA PATRIOT Act... 

Dave Bittner: Interesting. 

Ben Yelin: ...For eight or nine weeks. So finally, the bill is coming into the Senate. And there's this sort of delicate compromise that was reached in the House, but the Senate, under McConnell's leadership, is allowing for votes on a bunch of amendments. Now, there are a few amendments that some pro-privacy senators from both political parties have proposed. There's an amendment, for example, that would call for warrants for searching any foreign intelligence database for the records of U.S. conversations. So there are a couple of amendments like that. 

Ben Yelin: And then Senator McConnell, who is traditionally rather pro-electronic surveillance, has introduced a couple of amendments of his own. And he's really trying to straddle a line here. On the one hand, as I said, he does have this history of supporting a surveillance state. He's also a close ally of the president. And the president and his supporters have - I don't know if you've heard - been making some noise about potential FISA abuse over the past several months and years, particularly as it relates to that Carter Page case. 

Dave Bittner: Right. 

Ben Yelin: So he has two seemingly contradictory amendments. One of them would require what are called amici lawyers, so friends of the court, in all FISA court cases dealing with political candidates or members of political campaigns, which seems sort of odd because that's a very narrow category of cases that will come in front of a FISA court. You know, why wouldn't we have these friend of the court lawyers representing privacy interests for cases involving religious groups or political groups? It seems designed to show to the president that Senator McConnell was looking out for the president's interests. That's one of the amendments. 

Ben Yelin: The one that has caused the most controversy is an amendment that would allow the attorney general to collect the browsing data of individuals on a warrantless basis - the internet browsing data. Now, by browsing data, this isn't the content of what one reads on a website. This is, you know, which website did a person go to. It's basically somebody's internet history. And the federal government or federal law enforcement agencies would be able to obtain this data if there were some sort of predicated ongoing investigation. 

Ben Yelin: What this article, you know, is trying to connect the dots to is there is a sense that the president's attorney general, William Barr, is sort of a team player for the president, and there's a fear that he would start unjust political investigations on the president's political opponents. And once he has started that investigation, then under this McConnell amendment, he would be allowed to collect internet browsing history. So, you know, I don't think it's necessarily fair to draw that connection just because not only are we not sure that that's going to be enacted into law, we don't know what Attorney General Barr is going to do and how he's going to use this authority. But at least there's the potential. You know, you could say Attorney General Barr decides to investigate Joe Biden over, you know, Hunter Biden's involvement in Burisma. 

Dave Bittner: Right. 

Ben Yelin: And because we have an open investigation, we don't need a warrant to collect his internet browsing data. And, you know, now we saw that on, you know, January 30 that Joe Biden searched, why I love Vladimir Putin and other musings of an aging former vice president. 

Dave Bittner: (Laughter) Right, right. Right. 

Ben Yelin: That's the danger here. 

Dave Bittner: Well - yeah, yeah. And I think it probably gives all of us pause, the notion that someone could look through our browsing histories, right? 

Ben Yelin: Yes. 

Dave Bittner: Nobody wants that. 

Ben Yelin: Nobody wants that, yeah. People would know that I cheat on my crossword puzzles. And I... 

Dave Bittner: (Laughter). 

Ben Yelin: ...I can't have that information become public. 

Dave Bittner: Yes. Yes, absolutely. All right. But I think, as you say, even if the connecting the dots is a bit of a stretch, perhaps it's good to be mindful of these explorations. As people are kind of exploring the fuzzy edges of things, it's good to keep an eye on them. 

Ben Yelin: Absolutely. I mean, you raise the issues now before they're problematic, and that's what all of these privacy organizations have done. This article references a letter that a bunch of privacy groups on both the left and the right have drafted to the United States Senate, saying, this is what Senator McConnell was trying to do with these amendments. You need to oppose these amendments. And then if these amendments are voted on and approved, then, you know, our system of government has other veto points, so people would have an opportunity to contact their member of the House of Representatives and say, I don't want the attorney general or any future attorney general to have this authority. So that's sort of why I think there's a justification for even being somewhat alarmist about this now while it's still under its consideration phase. Even if the worst abuses would not happen in the future, you know, you're calling attention to it so that people can be on guard, and I think there's a lot of justification in doing that. 

Dave Bittner: Right. All right, well, that is my story. Of course we'll have links to all of our stories in our show notes, so do check those out. 

Dave Bittner: And a reminder that we would love to hear from you. If you have questions for us, you can record your questions. Send us an audio file. You can send that to You can also leave us a message. We have a phone number. It's 410-618-3720. That's 410-618-3720. We would love to hear from you. 

Dave Bittner: Ben, I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Alan Z. Rozenshtein He is the associate professor of law at University of Minnesota. He's also the author of a recent article in the "Lawfare" blog, and it was titled "Government Surveillance in an Age of Pandemics." Here's my conversation with Alan Rozenshtein. 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: I've been studying and looking at what other countries that have had, I think, a more successful response to coronavirus - what they've done, especially liberal democracies, and looking at countries like South Korea and Taiwan and Singapore, places that seem to have handled this much better, and obviously not without disruption, but where their societies and their economies are still functioning. One thing that struck me was the extent to which pretty aggressive surveillance seems to be part of the mix of policy responses. And I started thinking whether that was inevitable for our situation in the United States and Europe and how that could be squared away with our legal culture and in particular with our constitutional regime and our Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. 

Dave Bittner: But one of the points that your article makes is that the word surveillance itself conjures up different meanings depending on different contexts and that in a medical situation like this, a public health situation, it has different implications than it might otherwise have. 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: That's right. I've been studying surveillance for a while now, and when I worked in the government before I moved to teaching, I was doing surveillance work. And I remember, you know, whenever I'd do surveillance-related research, 30% or 40% of my results - you know, you start with Google or some standard database, and 30% of your results come back having to do with the flu. And I never quite understood why I kept getting these medical references when I was researching surveillance. And now, for obvious reasons, I've gone over that information and I've tried to educate myself, though I am by no means an epidemiologist or public health expert. Like many of us, I've developed an interest in those areas. 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: And one thing that struck me is that surveillance, the collection of quite detailed and often quite sensitive and intimate information, by the government and the processing of that information and then the acting based on that information - that that is a huge, huge part of public health. And that is one of the reasons why pandemics, although still obviously a very serious problem, are much, much better handled now than they were 50 years ago or certainly a hundred years ago. 

Dave Bittner: What sort of tools do the folks in public health have at their disposal these days that they wouldn't have had before? 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: And, again, I would defer to my public health expert colleagues on this, but there are a number of things that I think make it easier now than it used to be. Part of it is just the background infrastructure of communications and processing. We don't have to wait weeks and weeks and weeks for reports of a disease to come from a foreign country. We can have that information instantaneously, and that information can be much more granular and can be processed at scale. We have computers and databases and sophisticated algorithms that can turn masses of raw data into useful and actionable intelligence. And in addition, we have a much better bureaucratic infrastructure. So we have public health agencies at the federal, state, local and international levels. We have thousands and thousands of dedicated professionals whose job it is to collect and process and analyze this data. 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: At the same time, there can always be more data. There can always be more information. And I think that two factors are poised to push public health surveillance much further. One is the incredible vulnerability that our society has to pandemics. And obviously, societies have always been vulnerable to pandemics, but our society that is so globalized, so interconnected and that is not terribly resilient in the sense that a even relatively small pandemic - and this is hardly a small one, but even a relatively small pandemic can really bring society and the economy grinding to a total halt. That sort of vulnerability, I think, increases the demand for anything that can prevent these kinds of crises from spiraling out of control. So that's the first factor. 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: And then the second factor. There are new datasets that are emerging and new techniques of collecting them. So we all have small GPS-enabled computers in our pockets that track our every motion. We have now internet-enabled thermometers that can report back to some central server what our temperatures are. We have communications devices and software that can have a record of who we've come in contact with. We have all of these new possibilities that permit for a much, much higher level and a much more granular level of surveillance and that hopefully can be used to make our public health policy and response that much better and, of course, at the same time, that raises enormous privacy and civil liberties issues. 

Dave Bittner: Well, let's explore that together. I mean, how do these opportunities for greater surveillance align with our nation's values when it comes to those civil liberties? 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: I don't know, and I don't think it's really up to me or really up to any one individual to announce what our nation's values are on this matter. And I think we have lots of values, and I think they're often in competition. So certainly, the idea of privacy and liberty and freedom from tyranny and freedom from overwhelming, overbearing surveillance is definitely one of our nation's values, and the Fourth Amendment was written in large part to capture this. And there's no question that from one perspective, it's hard to square the sort of surveillance that may be necessary to deal with this problem - it's hard to square that with certain traditional conceptions of privacy and constitutional rights. 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: At the same time, another, I think, tradition and value that we have in our society is one of effective, competent government that is able to defend the nation from threats. And a global pandemic, I think, certainly qualifies as one of these threats. And so I think there's no one value here that unambiguously tells us what to do. And I would really caution people, and I would urge people to be skeptical of those who claim to have special insight into the one key value that they believe America should follow, whether that's privacy at all costs or whether that's safety at all costs. It's up to us to decide in a democratic society what trade-offs we are willing to accept between these two values. We shouldn't probably go to one extreme or the other, and I think the Constitution prevents us from going to one extreme. But within the zone of permissible policy choices, that's a pretty big zone. And ultimately, I think it's going to be for the people to decide, you know, through Congress, through state governments, through the federal government to figure out where that balance lies. 

Dave Bittner: One of the things that your article in "Lawfare" cautions against is that it's hard to pull back these steps that are taken. Once we've given up a right or once we've given permission to have a bit of data gathered, it's difficult to dial that back. 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: That's right. And if you look at the history of pandemics and public health crises, and there are historians who've devoted their whole careers to this topic - one recurring theme you see is that interventions and government expansions that occur because of and during a pandemic, they don't tend to go away after the pandemic ceases. They often remain a permanent feature of the state. They may change. They may soften a little bit, but they often are here to stay. That can be a bad thing - right? - if the government then uses that information or uses those emergency powers for bad reasons. 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: But it also can be a very good thing because it has historically been one of the ways in which state capacity in the United States has increased over time. So the fact that the choices we make now are sticky, that they may stay around for a long time, is not necessarily a bad thing if we make good choices. The problem is that it's hard to make good choices or it's hard to have confidence that the choices you're making are good ones in a time of crisis when you have to move quickly and when you have limited information. There's a lot of inertia in societies. Societies don't like to change their policies. This is one main reason why they're often so unprepared for a crisis because they had not foreseen something. And even if they could have, they didn't really want to change their practices to deal with that. And it also means that once a crisis happens, those changes that happen to a society often go on for much longer than perhaps the crisis warrants. Now, again, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't make changes. We should be appropriately cautious, and we should be skeptical of people who come in with grand plans and grand suggestions promising that this one increase in surveillance or this one policy is going to solve all their problems. But it also means that we have to accept that in an imperfect world, an imperfect situation, solving this problem today may cause future problems going down the line. And we're going to have to be prepared to deal with those. 

Dave Bittner: What are your recommendations for people who want to stay vigilant with these sorts of things? What is an appropriate way for your citizen, you know, going about their life on the other side of this when things settle down? How do they stay tuned in, in what your estimation would be, an appropriate way? 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: Yeah. Well, the good news here is that America has a very strong and powerful civil society, in particular when it comes to these sorts of issues. There are tons of organizations, whether it's the ACLU or the Electronic Freedom Foundation, many technologists and academics care a lot about these issues. And so I don't think we have to worry too much that this is going to fall off our radar screen or the government's going to go off and is going to be able to make enormous changes without anyone realizing it. So I think if you want to stay engaged, I think reading The New York Times is probably more than sufficient. And these issues will be raised frequently as they're being raised, frankly, already. I also think that - and this is one reason I'm more optimistic about the effects of increased surveillance coming out of this crisis than perhaps came out of 9/11, for example, is that disease surveillance doesn't have to be secret. It doesn't have to be classified. People in general are not trying to avoid disease surveillance in the same way that targets of concern - right? - terrorists or foreign agents might be trying to avoid national security surveillance. 

Alan Z. Rozenshtein: And what that means is that we can expect and we can demand of our government that any increased surveillance that it engages in is excruciatingly transparent and that we know how we're being surveilled and we know what's happening with that information. And, fortunately, I think we can expect that level of transparency and not have to worry that that level of transparency could undermine the surveillance itself, which is a conflict that you do have when you're talking about law enforcement or foreign intelligence surveillance. So this is perhaps one reason why I think I am more comfortable increasing the surveillance state to deal with pandemics and other public health issues than I perhaps would be if this were a terrorist or national security threat. 

Dave Bittner: All right. Ben, what do you think? 

Ben Yelin: So, first of all, thank you to the professor. And I would encourage everybody to read the article. I had read it and thought it was a very balanced take on surveillance in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. And I agree with pretty much everything he's saying here. I think oftentimes we try to assign values. And we're very absolutist about it to our government and to other governments, saying, you know, well, such-and-such country values security over privacy. So they're going to have, you know, an intrusive contact tracing application. Well, in the U.S., you know, we value data privacy, so we're not going to have that application. 

Ben Yelin: And I think what the professor is getting at here is we do need to achieve that balance. In normal times, this type of technology would seem inappropriate, would seem invasive and would certainly violate our personal privacy. But again, these are not normal times, and I think that's an important acknowledgement to make. We are sacrificing a lot in the absence of this type of surveillance technology because, you know, we're all staying at home. And we're not able to engage in the work and leisure activities that make up our everyday lives. It was interesting to me. He sort of went through a similar journey that I've gone through, as somebody who has no background in epidemiology but has done a lot of research into surveillance, realizing that if you do a Google search, most results on surveillance are going to be related to epidemics, flu epidemics. And I think kind of all of us have been learning about that on the fly in the past several weeks and have just - you know, we've never had the occasion to consider these issues and the law and policy context. So I'm glad that he's doing it, and, you know, he's somebody I'm going to look forward to reading his writing going forward. 

Dave Bittner: Yeah. Well, our thanks to him for joining us. We appreciate him taking the time, and as been said, do check out that article. We will have a link for it in the show notes. The "Caveat" podcast is proudly produced in Maryland at the startup studios of DataTribe, where they're co-building the next generation of cybersecurity teams and technologies. Our thanks to the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security for their participation. You can learn more at Our coordinating producers are Kelsea Bond and Jennifer Eiben. Our executive editor is Peter Kilpe. I'm Dave Bittner. 

Ben Yelin: And I'm Ben Yelin. 

Dave Bittner: Thanks for listening.