The Lawfare Podcast


Andrea Matwyshyn and DOJ’s new CFAA Charging Policy

On May 19, the Department of Justice announced a new policy concerning how it will charge cases under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA, the primary statute used against those who engage in unlawful computer intrusions. Over the years, the statute has been criticized because it has been difficult to determine the kinds of conduct it criminalizes, which has led to a number of problems, including the chilling of security research.

Stephanie Pell sat down with Andrea Matwyshyn, professor of law and associate dean of innovation at Penn State Law School to discuss DOJ's new charging policy and some of the issues it attempts to address. They talked about some of the problems created by the CFAA's vague terms, how the new charging policy tries to protect good faith security research, and the significance of the requirement that prosecutors must now consult with the Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property section at main Justice before charging a case under the CFAA.

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Rational Security: The “Small World After All” Edition

This week on Rational Security, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by favorite guestLawfareexecutive editor Natalie Orpett to hash through the week's big nationalsecurity news stories, including:“Another One Bites the Dust.” This past weekend, an American drone strikesuccessfully killed yet another major terrorist leader—this time al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri—in downtown Kabul, while apparently avoiding any civilian casualties or significant collateral damage. What does the strike tell us about the Biden administration's counterterrorism strategy and the role it plays in his broader global agenda?“Maybe He Just Mixed Up His St. Petersburgs.” In Florida, the Justice Department hasindicted Russian agent Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionovfor engaging in an array of political activities on behalf of fringe political candidates and organizations, with the alleged goal of promoting political instability at the Russian government's behest. What light does this indictment shed on Russian interference in American politics?“The Bully Cockpit.” Over reported objections from the Biden administration, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hasflown to Taiwan, making her the most senior U.S. official to visit the hotly contested island in more than two decades and raising China's ire at what many say is a sensitive moment. Is her trip helpful or foolhardy? And what does it tell us about Congress's role in U.S. foreign relations?