The Switchboard: Syrian Electronic Army hacks Skype Twitter account

January 2

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

Skype Twitter account hacked, anti-Microsoft status retweeted more than 8,000 times. "It appears the official Skype Twitter account has been compromised by the Syrian Electronic Army," The Verge reports. "The hacking group has taken over the account today, posting several tweets in what appears to be a classic case of phishing." Skype has since regained control of the account and said no user information was at risk.

Snapchat security breach affects millions of accounts. "Thanks to a gap in the service's security, the phone numbers and usernames for as many as 4.6 million accounts have been downloaded by a Web site calling itself SnapchatDB.info," I wrote Wednesday. "The hack appears to be real, affecting at least one member of the TechCrunch editorial team and possibly Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel himself."

New Year rings in sales tax for Amazon shoppers in three states. The states are Indiana, Nevada and Tennessee. "Amazon agreed to begin collecting sales tax in the three states in 2014, bringing to 19 the states in which it automatically adds tax to purchases," reports the Wall Street Journal. "In the three latest additions, the levies are expected to generate more than $50 million a year collectively, according to state officials."

NYT editorial: Edward Snowden, whistle-blower. The New York Times editorial board is urging the White House for "amnesty" or a plea deal for Snowden. "President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden’s vilification and give him an incentive to return home," the Times writes.

The top four tech legal cases to watch in 2014. "Here's an update on the top four cases that we have our eyes on (in no order): the collective challenges to the National Security Agency spying, Megaupload, Silk Road, and Lavabit," Ars Technica writes.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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Brian Fung | January 1