The Switchboard: NSA chief offered to resign after Snowden leaks

November 25, 2013

NSA chief Keith Alexander. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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

NSA chief offered to resign. "Shortly after former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed himself in June as the source of leaked National Security Agency documents, the agency's director, Gen. Keith Alexander, offered to resign," reports the Wall Street Journal. "The offer, which hasn't previously been reported, was declined by the Obama administration. But it shows the degree to which Mr. Snowden's revelations have shaken the NSA's foundations—unlike any event in its six-decade history, including the blowback against domestic spying in the 1970s."

FindTheBest destroys “matchmaking” patent, pushes RICO case against troll. "Six months ago, a shell company called Lumen View Technology told Santa Barbara startup FindTheBest that it should pay $50,000 for infringing its patent on 'multilateral decision making,'" according to Ars Technica. "Instead of getting a quick payout, it ran into FindTheBest founder Kevin O'Connor and a RICO lawsuit. Now, the judge has shut down the whole infringement case, finding that Lumen View is trying to patent an abstract idea, and it's invalid."

Rights group asks U.S. judge to halt NSA phone data program. "The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday urged a federal judge to halt a U.S. spy agency's sweeping collection of telephone data, arguing that the program goes beyond what Congress authorized and violates the constitutional rights of Americans," Reuters reports. "'If you accept the government's argument, you are accepting a dramatic expansion in the government's investigative power,' Jameel Jaffer, an ACLU attorney, told U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan."

GOP rep. repeats calls for federal online poker bill. "As New Jersey becomes the third state to allow Internet gambling for money, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is reiterating his calls for a federal online gambling law," The Hill writes. "Earlier this year, Barton introduced the Internet Poker Freedom Act, which would create an interstate licensing system for gambling operations that want to offer online poker games where entrants play for money. Following Nevada and Delaware, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed into law a bill legalizing online gambling in the state in February. On Thursday, New Jersey began trials of its statewide online gambling program. "

President’s tech council plays sad trombone for federal cybersecurity. "The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report on the state of the nation's cybersecurity" on Friday, Ars Technica reports. "The report's first finding: the US government is terrible at cybersecurity. In order to ensure that the country as a whole is more secure against cyber attack, the council advised, the government 'needs to lead by example and accelerate its efforts to make routine cyber attacks more difficult by implementing best practices for its own systems.'"

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Brian Fung · November 24, 2013