The Weekly Newsletter of The George Washington University Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute
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April 4 , 2016
Legislative Lowdown

-The Senate returns to work today, when lawmakers are expected to vote on  S. 1890 , the Defend Trade Secrets Act. According to Bloomberg , the legislation introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) would update federal standards to make it easier for companies to pursue legal action against entities who steal trade secrets.
Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) this week may introduce legislation that would require tech companies to help investigators access encrypted data, according to Morning Consult. The measure is likely to face opposition from privacy advocates such as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who recently  told a conference in California that he would fight the legislation.
-USA Today reports that a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress is pushing legislation to bar states from enacting their own laws that would require manufacturers to maintain the ability to unlock encrypted smartphones. Check out that story here.

Cyber Security and Privacy News

-In the United States, the F.B.I.'s demands that Apple help "unlock" an iPhone used by a mass killer in California opened a heated debate on privacy, The New York Times reports. "After recent attacks on the Continent, like the bombings in Brussels last week and the wave of violence in Paris last November, governments across the European Union are increasingly pushing for greater access to people's digital lives." Read more here.
Just days after breaking into a terrorist's iPhone using a mysterious third-party technique, FBI officials on Friday told local law enforcement agencies it will assist them with unlocking phones and other electronic devices. According to Buzzfeed, a copy of the letter describing the offer "was sent in response to law enforcement inquiries about its new method of unlocking devices -   a technique the FBI said was successful at gaining access to the iPhone 5C belonging to one of the shooters in the deadly San Bernardino, California, attack."
Some states are already taking the FBI up on that offer. The Associated Press reports that the FBI agreed last week to help an Arkansas prosecutor unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple. The full story is here.
-A lull in high-profile data breaches prompted insurers to cut cyber insurance rates for high-risk businesses such as retailers and healthcare companies during the first three months of this year, according to insurance industry brokers, Reuters reports. "The dip comes after sudden rate hikes for many firms last year in the wake of a spate of attacks on Home Depot Inc, Target Corp, Anthem Inc and others," writes Jim Finkle. "The average price companies in high-risk industries paid for $1 million in cyber insurance coverage fell 13 percent to $18,756 in the first three months of 2016, according to broker Marsh, a unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos Inc."

The Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute (CSPRI) is a center for GW and the Washington area to promote technical research and policy analysis of problems that have a significant computer security and information assurance component. More information is available at our website,
Cyber Security & Privacy Events
Click  here for detailed descriptions

Apr. 4, 3:30 p.m.- 6:30
p.m. Akin Gump
& CompTIA's Panel Discussion: EU General Data Protection Regulation

Apr. 5, 9:30 a.m.
US Cyber Command: Senate Armed Services Committee  Hearing

pr. 5, 
Billington Cybersecurity International Summit

Apr. 7, 8:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Cybersecurity Association of Maryland (CAMI) Event 

About this Newsletter
This newsletter is a weekly summary of events related to cyber security policy and research, with a special focus on developments and events in the Washington, DC area. It is published by the Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute (CSPRI) of the George Washington University. CSPRI is a center for GW and the Washington area that promotes technical research and policy analysis of topics in or related to cybersecurity and privacy. More information is available at our website,
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