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

September 19, 2013

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPhone during an Apple product announcement at the Apple campus on Sept. 10, 2013, in Cupertino, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

iOS 7 is gorgeous, but it could be better. The new version of Apple's mobile operating system may look pretty, but it lacks one thing that the company's competitors are getting increasingly good at, writes Wired's Mat Honan. "I wish it had gone beyond evoking and directly stolen something that both of those platforms do very well: predictive and pervasive information delivery."

Your Facebook Like is constitutionally protected speech. A federal appeals court has ruled that Facebook Likes are a form of speech, not unlike the speech that's created when you put a political sign on your lawn. But as I explain, the case opens up further questions about the nature of symbolic expression online.

BlackBerry to slash workforce by up to 40 percent. The layoffs represent the latest attempt by the faltering device manufacturer to regain its footing in the mobile market, reports the Wall Street Journal. This weekend, BlackBerry is expected to unveil its BlackBerry Messaging service for Android and iOS users.

Despite Google's protests, the MPAA still says Search is a pirate's paradise. The film industry is out with a report accusing search engines of driving online piracy. Where you stand is mostly a matter of perspective. "Google has consistently looked at piracy through its lens as a search provider: it handles billions of searches a day, and pirate queries are a drop in the bucket relatively speaking. To the MPAA, though, it's the total amount of piracy that matters."

He took on a patent troll, and won. A Canada man built an app that told users when their next bus was coming. For his efforts, he got a $10,000 lawsuit, according to the Ottawa Citizen. But the developer decided to fight back. "The key to his response is that Dovden's case was made up of off-the-shelf pieces, careless about details and indifferent to exactly what Dunkelman's BusBuddy app does and what information it gets from OC Transpo."

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecom, broadband and digital politics. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.
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