The Switchboard: Google used to ride the pipes. Now it wants to own them.

December 17, 2013

(Mark Lennihan / AP)

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

Tech firms push to control Web's pipes. "Technology giants like Google and Facebook are expanding efforts to control more of the world's Internet backbone," the Wall Street Journal reports, "raising tensions with telecom companies over who runs the Web."

Intellectual Ventures reveals list of 33,000 patents. "Intellectual Ventures, under increasing pressure to be more transparent about its patent holdings ... released a searchable list of more than 33,000 of its patents," according to Geekwire, "about 82 percent of the nearly 40,000 patents that the company makes available for sale, license and other commercial activities."

Federal Circuit affirms Microsoft's import ban against Motorola Mobility's Android-based devices. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled against Google's (Motorola Mobility's) appeal of an import ban Microsoft won from the United States International Trade Commission in May 2012 over a meeting scheduler patent," according to FOSS Patents.

Judge: NSA’s collecting of phone records is probably unconstitutional. "U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon found that a lawsuit by Larry Klayman, a conservative legal activist, has 'demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success' on the basis of Fourth Amendment privacy protections against unreasonable searches," the Post's own Ellen Nakashima and Ann Marimow report.

Can the D.C. Circuit use the Mosaic theory to invalidate the NSA telephony metadata program? "The mosaic theory developed by the D.C. Circuit in Maynard reasoned that long-term surveillance can allow the government to collect and analyze so much information about a person that eventually the government can develop a complete picture of their lives," explains George Washington University's Orin Kerr. "When that happens, a Fourth Amendment 'search' is deemed to have occurred."

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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