The Switchboard: Tech companies release new numbers on NSA spying

February 4

(Charles Dharapak / AP)

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

Tech companies say tens of thousands of user accounts were subject to national security spying. "Numbers released by Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Facebook show that in the first six months of 2013, the NSA submitted requests for private information from at least 59,000 user accounts," the Switch's own Timothy Lee reports.

Frustration mounts in Silicon Valley over patent office vacancy. "Lobbyists for the tech industry say the [U.S. Patent and Trademark Office] needs a confirmed leader to deal with a patent backlog that numbers in the hundreds of thousands, and they argue a confirmed director can better respond to complaints about quality control," the Hill reports.

Suspected data breach at Holiday Inn, Marriott hotels. "Lodgers at Holiday Inns, Marriott and Renaissance hotels may have had their payment card details compromised following a new disclosure on Monday of suspected point-of-sale device attacks," according to Computerworld.

These guys battled BlackPOS at a retailer. "These two experts worked directly on a retail data breach that involved a version of BlackPOS," reports Brian Krebs. "They agreed to talk about their knowledge of this malware, and how the attackers worked to defeat the security of the retail client."

Anna Eshoo, the darling of tech companies, wants to make net neutrality the law. "House Democrats are pushing to restore the network neutrality regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission and struck down in part last month by a federal court," I wrote yesterday. "Leading the charge will be a woman who is gunning to be one of the most powerful Democrats on technology issues: Rep. Anna Eshoo."

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecom, broadband and digital politics. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.
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