The Switchboard: U.S. government ridicules Lavabit founder over marketing

November 13, 2013

(Photo by Gage Skidmore)

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

Apple and Samsung will duel again over patents in front of a jury. "After a long day of questioning by a judge and lawyers from each side, a jury of six women and two men has been selected to hear a damages case about how much Samsung should pay Apple for its patents," according to Ars Technica. "The group includes a social worker, an Army combat medic turned ER nurse, a retired English teacher who was born in the UK, a pharmacist, and a Stanford medical researcher. Earlier in the day, one software engineer was dismissed for cause after he expressed concerns that too many vague patents were granted."

Senate bill would protect Netflix. "Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced legislation on Tuesday aimed at boosting online video services like Netflix, Hulu and iTunes," The Hill reports. "His bill, the Consumer Choice in Online Video Act, would provide certain legal protections to online video sites and would bar cable, broadcast and media companies from engaging in anti-competitive practices."

Lavabit — The government's response The government has filed its reply in the case involving Ladar Levison, the owner of the shuttered secure e-mail service, Lavabit. Lawfareblog passes along the Justice Department's argument: "Finally, Lavabit’s belief that the orders here compelled a disclosure that was inconsistent with Lavabit’s 'business model' makes no difference. Marketing a business as 'secure' does not give one license to ignore a District Court of the United States."

Facebook pushes password resets after hack. Facebook is urging its users who may have been affected by a recent Adobe hack to change their Facebook passwords, according to PC Mag. "Though Facebook was not directly involved in the Adobe hack, the social network is taking precautions for those members who used the same e-mail and pass code sequence for Facebook and Adobe."

Pentagon prepares for the end of the BlackBerry era. "The Defense Department, owner of 470,000 BlackBerrys, is distancing itself from the struggling vendor," reports Defense One, "while moving ahead with construction of a department-wide app store and a system for securing all mobile devices, including the latest iPhones, iPads and Samsung smartphones and tablets."

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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Timothy B. Lee · November 12, 2013