Silicon Valley companies paying hackers ‘bounties’ to find their flaws before crooks do

With cyberattacks seemingly getting worse every day, a bidding war has broken out between Silicon Valley tech giants and black marketeers for the talents of hackers who spot software vulnerabilities that can be used to steal everything from corporate trade secrets to consumers’ financial information.…But critics fear that U.S. and other authorities sometimes fail to correct these flaws, leaving the public dangerously exposed, and that the purchase of bugs by various nations is fueling the black market. “The actions of world governments to buy these things has made it more likely that hackers will sell vulnerabilities and we will all remain vulnerable,” said Bruce Schneier, a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Law Students Grieved by Grand Jury Decisions

Students at a number of top U.S. law schools have asked that winter-term deadlines be extended because they are upset over the recent grand jury decisions in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases. “We have no faith in our justice system, which systematically oppresses black and brown people,” read a Dec. 7 letter from the Harvard Law School Affinity Group Coalition to the university’s administration. “We are afraid for our lives and for the lives of our families. We are in pain. And we are tired.” …McKenzie Morris [`15], president of the Harvard Black Law Students Association, said in an email to Epoch Times that the students’ reaction to both the Brown and Garner cases was based on both legal reasoning and life experience. “Students were devastated when the Ferguson grand jury decision came out,” wrote Morris. “When the Garner decision came out, we were absolutely distraught. Pouring salt into an already open wound doesn’t even come close to the devastation we and so many Americans felt. Each decision, and so many other cases, are collectively the reason why we are working so hard to try to make change.”

As views on race relations dim, Obama grasps for historical context

After President Obama was sworn in as the nation’s first African-American president, Americans had a bright outlook on race relations: 66 percent of Americans in April 2009 said race relations were generally good. More than five years later, the latest CBS News poll shows, views on race relations have dimmed dramatically. Just 45 percent say race relations are generally good, the lowest figure in CBS News polling since 1997. …In some ways, improving attitudes about race have made the more persistent social problems harder to root out, historians say. “Whereas few publicly argue today that Jim Crow was justified, no one can dispute that law enforcement has a legitimate interest in ensuring public safety. Officers sometimes are justified in using force,” Prof. Tomiko Brown-Nagin, a constitutional law expert at Harvard, told CBS. “The question is whether law enforcement officers police fairly, and whether there is accountability in the criminal justice system when officers engage in misconduct.”

Harvard Law students ask for finals delay after protest (video)

Students at some of the most prestigious law schools across the country have spent the past two weeks protesting, and now they’re saying they didn’t have time to study for finals. The students, including some from Harvard University, asked school officials to postpone finals. “When the law does something so flagrantly ill law students need to say something about it and do something about it,” Harvard Law student Dami Animashaun [`16] said….“There are some things more important than an exam. Give us a chance to actually do some real things that have implications, then we can come back and finish our exams,” Martin Njoroge [`17] said.

SEC Commissioner Warns Harvard of Vulnerability

A top official at the Securities and Exchange Commission has taken the unusual step of saying Harvard University could be vulnerable to legal action from the agency or investors over a corporate governance project. In an academic paper, Daniel Gallagher, one of five SEC commissioners, criticized the Shareholder Rights Project at Harvard, which helps large investors like pension funds file shareholder ballot measures meant to help investors get more influence over corporate boards…Lucian Bebchuk, director of the Harvard project, rejected any suggestion the project’s efforts violate securities laws, saying its work is “entirely consistent with SEC rules and not false or misleading in any way.”

Tsarnaev trial: Let’s not relive the Marathon bombings

An op-ed by Nancy Gertner, Michael B. Keating and Martin F. Murphy. On Jan. 5, we are set to relive the Boston Marathon bombing when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial begins. For months after that, a cast of thousands — lawyers, court officials, jurors, police officers, survivors, evidence technicians, and an army of photographers and reporters — will gather at the federal courthouse in South Boston to recreate those days in April 2013. Prosecutors will show photos and videos of the bleeding, dazed victims. The wounded survivors at the finish line and the brave families of the four who died that week — two young women, an 8-year-old boy, and an MIT police officer — will be asked to re-experience the trauma that they (and we) can never forget. And round-the-clock news reporting will rekindle the emotions the event engendered. But the fact is, it is not inevitable: There need not be a trial at all.

Supreme Court Doesn’t Understand Wage Labor

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Back in the 1940s, when the U.S. Supreme Court last spent a lot of time struggling with the question of what parts of a worker’s day were included in the job for the purposes of getting an hourly wage, the cases tended to come out 5-4. Then, liberals inclined toward unions while moderates and conservatives preferred employers. Times have changed. Today, the Supreme Court issued a 9-0 decision that warehouse employees who spend their days fulfilling Amazon orders won’t be paid for mandatory end of the day screening designed to check if they’ve stolen anything from the shelves. To do so, the court interpreted the 1947 Portal to Portal Act essentially as a pro-employer law. And the liberal justices were supremely uninterested in the moral logic of employee compensation.

Why the CIA Won’t Be Punished for Torture

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Why won’t any U.S. politician, official or contractor ever be prosecuted for torturing people? That big question looms in the background of the just-released CIA report. Until now, the conventional wisdom had been that the Central Intelligence Agency’s actions were essentially immunized from prosecution because the agency relied on opinions from the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice — the so-called torture memos. The report championed by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California says that CIA interrogations went well beyond the techniques described to the Office of Legal Counsel and authorized as legal in its memos. If that’s true, then the interrogators essentially flouted even the counsel’s expansive and doubtful approval of enhanced interrogation techniques. So shouldn’t somebody be held criminally responsible? And if not, why not?

The Experience of Dignity: Community Courts and the Future of the Criminal Justice System

An article by Michael Zuckerman `17. We do a lot of punishing in America these days—more than virtually every other country, and far more than we did when crime rates were higher…In recent years, a nascent recognition has begun to take root on both sides of the political aisle that our current incarceration system is not only too harsh and too expensive, but an assault on the dignity of the people pulled into it. (Among theorists and activists, these critiques go back a lot farther.) As we think about reforms, we should note the successes of a still-exotic creature in that system: the community court.

Fallout From A Controversial Rolling Stone Magazine Story On A Campus Sex Assault (audio)

A story in last month’s Rolling Stone magazine described the gang rape of a student at a University of Virginia fraternity house. The university responded by suspending all fraternities and a criminal investigation was launched. But in recent weeks, key elements of the alleged victim’s story have been questioned and could not be verified by other news organizations. Advocates say the firestorm around the story has led to blaming the victim and sets back efforts to address campus sex assault. Diane and guests discuss a controversial Rolling Stone article and what it means for journalism standards, the rights of victims and those accused. Guests: Diane Rosenfeld lecturer on law and director, Gender Violence Program, Harvard Law School; former Senior Counsel to the Violence Against Women Office, U.S. Department of Justice.