The Switchboard: Five tech policy stories you need to read

August 13, 2013

Aaron Swartz poses in a Borderland Books in San Francisco, Calif. on February 4, 2008. (Noah Berger / Reuters)

Here are the first 104 pages of Aaron Swartz's Secret Service file. The government has released a fraction of its heavily redacted records on Swartz, who in 2011 downloaded some 4 million academic papers in violation of the policies of MIT and JSTOR, a shared digital library. Wired's Kevin Poulson filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the data and was initially rebuffed. But he later won a lawsuit granting him access to the files, which altogether number more than 14,000.

Google's bug bounty programs have paid out $2 million to sharp-eyed security researchers. More than 2,000 security flaws have been filed to Google as a result of the reward program, The Next Web reports. The top exploit discovered in Google Chrome led to an award of $60,000. Google now plans to increase the size of its lower-level rewards from $1,000 to as much as $5,000 in some cases.

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence who misled Congress on surveillance, will be responsible for overseeing the official review of said surveillance. Clapper earlier testified to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that the government was not collecting "any type of data at all on millions of Americans." The intelligence official later admitted that the statement was false.

Apple won't be allowed to take aerial photos of Oslo to fill out its Maps app, the Norwegian government has ruled. Citing security concerns, authorities rejected Apple's request, saying it's nothing personal. Even Norwegian companies that have selectively been granted aerial access before were forbidden from photographing certain parts of the city, creating blank holes.

When Microsoft discontinues support for Windows XP, hackers will go to town. Malicious black-hats looking for vulnerabilities in XP are saving up their exploits before unleashing them next April, when Microsoft will stop issuing security patches to fix the 11-year-old operating system, Computerworld reports. Such bugs currently go for between $50,000 and $150,000 on the black market — a "relatively low price."

Other stories

Here's how NASA will use a 3D printer on the ISS (The Verge)

Facebook acquires speech recognition and translation company (VentureBeat)

Marimba! How Apple's Default Text-Message Alert Was Born (The Atlantic)

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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Timothy B. Lee | August 12, 2013