Switchboard: Obama refuses to save older Samsung products from patent-related ban

October 9, 2013
(Dado Ruvic / Reuters)
(Dado Ruvic / Reuters)

Published every weekday, the Switchboard highlights five tech policy stories you need to read.

Older Samsung phones banned from U.S. as trade order goes into effect. "Samsung will be barred from importing some of its older phones thanks to a limited exclusion order that Apple won at the International Trade Commission," Ars Technica reports. "The exclusion order came out two months ago and kicks in today. The Korean company's last hope was a veto of the order by President Barack Obama, who recently issued a similar veto to protect Apple from an exclusion order."

Did The NSA Help With The Silk Road Investigation? "The evidence in the criminal complaint filed by the FBI in the Southern District of New York makes it seem as if tearing the mask off" of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged founder of the Bitcoin-based drug site Silk Road, "was easy," writes Forbes. "But what if it only looks easy through reverse engineering of more sophisticated investigative tactics? Given recent revelations about the funneling of NSA evidence by a special unit of the DEA to law enforcement agents — who then make it look as if they got the evidence themselves using 'parallel construction' of investigative methods — it seems possible that the NSA, an agency skilled in parsing online activity, could have assisted in the Silk Road investigation, and that its role is left out of the documents that have been made public."

California driving Internet privacy policy. "With the federal government and technology policy shut down in Washington, California is steaming ahead with a series of online privacy laws that will have broad implications for Internet companies and consumers," Politico reports. "In recent weeks, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a litany of privacy-related legislation, including measures to create an 'eraser button' for teens, outlaw online 'revenge porn' and make Internet companies explain how they respond to consumer Do Not Track requests."

House Intel chairman warns ObamaCare system vulnerable to hackers. "House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) warned on Tuesday that a federal hub of healthcare information is vulnerable to hackers," the Hill reports. The data services hub, which is part of the president's healthcare reform law, is used to verify eligibility and share information between state exchanges and federal agencies. "Rogers warned that the hackers could be able to break into the hub to steal health records, credit histories, Social Security numbers and other sensitive data to enable identity theft."

How the feds busted a top Silk Road seller. "Authorities in the state of Washington arrested two people last week in connection with drug sales on the Silk Road, a clear indication of a crackdown on dealers using the notorious site," according to Ars Technica. While the suspects allegedly used sophisticated technology to cover their tracks online, the police were able to identify them using old-fashioned detective work.

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Andrea Peterson · October 8, 2013