The Switchboard: Patriot Act author wants Obama intelligence chief prosecuted

December 6, 2013

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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

House votes 325-91 to pass Innovation Act, first anti-patent-troll bill. "The Innovation Act, a bill with measures aimed to stop 'patent troll lawsuits, passed the US House of Representatives this morning on a 325-91 vote," Ars Technica reports. "Passage of the bill is a big step for patent reformers, which would have been hard to imagine even one year ago. However, patent trolls going after 'Main Street' businesses like grocery stores and coffee shops have made headlines and enraged politicians from Vermont to California."

Patriot Act author: Obama’s intel czar should be prosecuted. "Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the original author of the Patriot Act, says Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should be prosecuted for lying to Congress," according to the Hill. "'Lying to Congress is a federal offense, and Clapper ought to be fired and prosecuted for it,' the Wisconsin Republican said. He said the Justice Department should prosecute Clapper for giving false testimony during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March."

FTC: Flashlight app shared users' location data. "The maker of a popular flashlight app agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday over charges that it shared its users' location information with advertisers," The Hill writes. "The FTC claimed that the 'Brightest Flashlight' app, which is available for Android devices, failed to disclose to its users that it would transmit their exact location to third parties."

Bowing again to the FDA, 23andMe stops issuing health-related genetic reports. "The Google-backed genetics company 23andMe will no longer be providing personalized health analyses to consumers based on their DNA samples in an effort to comply with a federal safety warning," The Swtich's Brian Fung reports. "When the Food and Drug Administration expressed concern about the product late last month, 23andMe responded this week by halting its advertising for the kit. In a statement Thursday night, the firm went a step further, announcing that it would only provide ancestry information and raw health data."

New cybersecurity boom arrives in Silicon Valley. "Nefarious cybercrime syndicates and villainous state-sponsored hackers are making the digital world an increasingly dangerous place," the Los Angeles Times writes. "That's bad news for companies suffering growing losses from relentless cyberattacks. But it's good news for Silicon Valley, where cybersecurity has suddenly become the hot new-old thing."

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Brian Fung · December 6, 2013