The Switchboard: five tech policy stories you need to read today

August 14, 2013

(The Guardian)

How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets The New York Times has a profile of Laura Poitras, the filmmaker that NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden approached to help tell the world his story. In a related interview with the Times, Snowden says that he chose to work with Poitras because she had "demonstrated the courage, personal experience and skill needed to handle what is probably the most dangerous assignment any journalist can be given — reporting on the secret misdeeds of the most powerful government in the world."

Congress starts looking into Bitcoin. Politico reports that "the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Monday sent letters to several agencies requesting that they disclose their virtual currency policies, how they developed them, how agencies are coordinating and finally what they plan to do going forward."

Consumer groups want stricter rules for ‘Obama phone’ program. The "Obamaphone," officially known as Lifeline, doesn't actually have much to do with Barack Obama. But The Hill reports that "consumer-minded organizations" have "called for the Federal Communications Commission to institute tough new standards to prevent phone companies from trying to 'game the system' and take advantage of the program."

White House insists James Clapper will not lead NSA surveillance review The Guardian reports that "the White House has moved to dampen controversy over the role of the director of national intelligence James Clapper in a panel reviewing NSA surveillance, insisting that he would neither lead it nor choose the members."

How Government Regulations Created the Time Warner-CBS Blackout. Writing for Reason, Jerry Brito argues that "the fact that many are calling for government intervention in the recent standoff between CBS and Time Warner Cable shows that there is nothing free about the video marketplace."

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Brian Fung · August 13, 2013