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

September 11, 2013

(Photo by miheco)

Google must stand trial for Wi-Fi data grab, appeals court rules. The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court has ruled that Google must stand trial for collecting WiFi data with its Street View cars. Ars Technica reports that Google argued "data transmitted over a Wi-Fi network is 'readily accessible to the general public.' Alternatively, it said the Wi-Fi data could be considered an unencrypted 'radio communication,' which means it would not be subject to liability under the wiretapping law. However, the appeals court found that the data collected by Google didn't fit into either category."

After voting against it, Darrell Issa wants another chance to defund the NSA. "A key Republican has shifted his stance on a landmark vote to defund the NSA’s collection of telephone metadata," writes our own Brian Fung. "In a letter to House leadership Tuesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) urged another vote on Rep. Justin Amash’s (R-Mich.) legislative language that would have curtailed the program charged with gathering bulk phone records."

AT&T agrees to modify network to make roaming easier. "Under pressure from the Federal Communications Commission, AT&T agreed Tuesday to take steps that will make it easier for customers of other carriers to access its network," the Hill reports. "The agreement is a victory for small regional carriers such as C Spire Wireless and U.S. Cellular who had complained that their customers were unable to roam on AT&T's network because of technological problems."

Declassified court documents highlight NSA violations in data collection for surveillance. "The National Security Agency for almost three years searched a massive database of Americans’ phone call records attempting to identify potential terrorists in violation of court-approved privacy rules," writes our colleague Ellen Nakashima. "The problem went unfixed because no one at the agency had a full technical understanding of how its system worked." The problems were detailed in documents released by the NSA Tuesday.

Net Neutrality is on trial in Washington. Here’s what you need to know. On Monday, "the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard arguments from Verizon that the Federal Communications Commission had exceeded its authority by enacting network neutrality regulations." Tuesday, I explained how the FCC got to this point and what's at stake in the case.

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Brian Fung | September 10, 2013