Did the Saudi Crown Prince really hack Jeff Bezos’s phone?

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This episode features an interview on the Bezos phone hacking flap with David Kaye and Alex Stamos. David is the UN Special Rapporteur and clinical professor of law at UC Irvine who first drew attention to an FTI Consulting report concluding that the Saudis did hack Bezos’ phone. Alex is director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and was the CSO at Facebook; he thinks the technical case against the Saudis needs work, and he calls for a supplemental forensic review of the phone.

In the news, Nate Jones unpacks the US-China “phase one” trade deal and what it means for the tech divide.

Nick Weaver and I agree that the King County (Seattle) Conservation District’s notion of saving postage by having everyone vote by phone is nuts. Nick in particular reacts as you’d expect him to. Although, frankly, if anyone deserves to have Putin choose their local government, it’s Seattle. He could hardly do a worse job than Seattle voters have.

Nate talks about the profound hit the credibility of the FISA process has taken as a result of the Justice Department admitting that two of four Carter Page warrants were invalid. Among other things, it opens FISA to a kitchen sink full of crazy  proposals for handcuffing national security wiretaps. Like this one from Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Steve Daines (who should know better).

Brazil has charged Glenn Greenwald with “cybercrimes” on evidence that would be thin at best in the US, Nate argues. Nick agrees and is only sad that the Bolsonaro government has put him in the position of defending the unspeakably unpleasant Greenwald.

Google is redesigning its search results again, blurring even further the line between ads and organic results. Living up to its new motto (“Don’t be caught being evil”), Google announces that it’s just testing its design, and everyone should chill. Nick and I are skeptical that A/B testing will tell Google anything other than which redesign fools consumers most effectively and thus makes more protection money for Google.

And speaking of protection money, this episode was not brought to you by Avast, the company that probably would have paid the most not to be mentioned on the podcast this week. Because they’ve been caught getting largely uninformed consent to the monitoring of their customers’ Web activities – right down to their porn preferences.

Download the 297th Episode (mp3).

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