The Switchboard: GOP reps want Clapper investigated for lying to Congress

December 20, 2013

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

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

GOP requests criminal probe of intel czar. "Seven House Republicans are calling for the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress," according to the Hill. " 'There are differences of opinion about the propriety of the NSA’s data collection programs,' they wrote. 'There can be no disagreement, however, on the basic premise that congressional witnesses must answer truthfully.' "

How one publisher is stopping academics from sharing their research. "One of the world's largest academic publishers has launched a wide-ranging takedown spree, demanding that several different universities take down their own scholars' research," the Switch's Andrea Peterson reports. "Elsevier is a commercial firm that publishes some of the leading journals in many academic fields. In recent weeks, it has sent takedown notices to the academic social media network Academia.edu, as well as to the University of Calgary, the University of California-Irvine and Harvard University."

Target confirms data breach; Secret Service investigates. "Retail chain Target confirmed Thursday that customers’ personal data was accessed in a massive unauthorized breach between Black Friday weekend and early this week," the Hill reports. "'Approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been impacted between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013. Target alerted authorities and financial institutions immediately after it was made aware of the unauthorized access, and is putting all appropriate resources behind these efforts,' Target said."

Verizon to release first transparency report. "Following in the footsteps of companies like Google and Facebook, Verizon Communications is going to reveal more about what customer information it shares with the government," the New York Times reports. "In a statement released on Thursday, the company announced plans to publish its first transparency report, which will provide data on the number of law enforcement requests for customer information it received this year."

This 100-year-old deal birthed the modern phone system. And it’s all about to end. "One hundred years ago Thursday, one man sent a letter that would transform the telephone industry," our own Brian Fung writes. "The letter gave rise to the country's last and most powerful monopoly." Kingsbury's 1913 letter headed off a Wilson administration antitrust investigation and laid the groundwork for the 70-year Ma Bell monopoly.

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Andrea Peterson · December 19, 2013