The Switchboard: Five tech policy posts you need to read today

August 20, 2013

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning (Patrick Semansky/AP)

British authorities destroyed the Guardian's hard drives hoping to stymie reporting on Snowden. The Guardian's Alan Rusbridger reveals that British intelligence officials raided the Guardian's London offices in the last few weeks but apparently failed to appreciate that NSA leaker Edward Snowden's files would still be available to Guardian reporters overseas. "Whitehall was satisfied," Rusbridger writes, "but it felt like a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age."

Legal bible Groklaw pulls plug. The Lavabit fallout continues as Groklaw, the technology law site that has won awards from the Library of Congress and the American Bar Association, closed its doors Tuesday, the Register reports. "The owner of Lavabit tells us that he's stopped using email and if we knew what he knew, we'd stop too," Groklaw founder Pamela Jones wrote in a blog post. "There is no way to do Groklaw without email."

Bradley Manning's prosecutors ask for a 60-year jail sentence. Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who leaked classified U.S. data, should go to jail for 60 years, prosecutors told a military court Monday. "Pfc. Manning is young. He deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life in prison," Army Capt. Joe Morrow told the presiding judge, according to the Chicago Tribune. Manning's lawyers say he deserves no more than 25 years behind bars.

McAfee exec to head DHS cybersecurity efforts. Phyllis Schneck, a top official from McAfee, has been tapped by the Obama administration to lead the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity office. Schneck will serve as deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, which oversees physical and cybersecurity for U.S. infrastructure, Computerworld reports.

Two-fifths of all blocking requests filed under Russia's new SOPA-like law are rejected. Russia's new law aimed at countering online piracy has hit a roadblock, TorrentFreak reports. "Out of all the blocking requests submitted to authorities so far, 42 percent have been rejected after rightsholders couldn’t come up with the correct paperwork," the site said, citing Pavel Krasheninnikov, head of the State Duma Committee on Civil, Criminal, Arbitration and Procedural Legislation. "In order to have a blocking request accepted, rightsholders are required to provide lots of documentation, including evidence that they own the content in question. It appears that is more easily said than done."

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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Timothy B. Lee · August 19, 2013