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41 U.S.F. L. Rev. 535 (2006-2007)
Companies Caught in the Middle

handle is hein.journals/usflr41 and id is 543 raw text is: Keynote Address

Companies Caught in the Middle
THANK YOU ALL. It is a pleasure to be here. The speakers on the
earlier panel, who were all terrific and entertaining, are a tough act to
follow. I hope I can be as entertaining and informative. Let me start
by saying that I am not speaking for any specific client today.
This is a really interesting program title: Service Providers
Caught in the Middle. I do not tend to think about it that way-being
in the middle-I think it is just way too polite a term, way too ge-
neric, under-descriptive, and under-informed. Instead, I think Ser-
vice Providers As Pifiatas would be a better title because service
providers get beat up by all sides all the time. While this topic is about
service providers in the middle, I'm going to ad lib a little to play off
of the question Kevin Bankston, of the Electronic Frontier Founda-
tion (EFF), posed on the prior panel: Where are the service provid-
ers? As you will see through the following remarks, they are more on
the front lines of these privacy battles than he or others realize and, in
some cases, more so than the privacy groups themselves.
Remember, service providers are not in the business of electronic
surveillance-they do not have a dog in most of the hunts over which
they get beat up. And yet, they end up with the privacy community,
users, and law enforcement pointing the finger at them as the solu-
tion to all of the privacy and security problems. Thus, on the earlier
panel, Kevin asked, Where are the providers? Users ask, Where are
the providers? Someone else will say, They should be the last great
shield, while law enforcement says, They are our most potent
sword. Well, in the law, which is really where we have to start and
* A. Gidari is a partner at Perkins Coie LLP where he leads the firm's privacy and
security practice. He represents communications service providers in the implementation
of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, 47 U.S.C. §§ 1001-21 (2000),
and in responding to government demands for electronic surveillance. He most recently
defended Google, Inc. against the Department ofjustice's (DOJ) demands for billions of
user search terms.

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