The Switchboard: Ron Paul starts petition for Snowden clemency

February 14

Former Rep. Ron Paul in 2011. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

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

Former Rep. Ron Paul launches petition for Snowden clemency. "Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has started a petition demanding clemency for the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who revealed its metadata surveillance program," according to the Hill. "'Edward Snowden sacrificed his livelihood, citizenship, and freedom by exposing the disturbing scope of the NSA’s worldwide spying program. Thanks to one man’s courageous actions, Americans know about the truly egregious ways their government is spying on them,' Paul says in a video on his Ron Paul Channel website."

Comcast, the soon-to-be gazillion-pound technology gorilla. "Comcast has struck a deal with Time Warner Cable that would combine the nation's two biggest cable companies at a price of $45.2 billion," the Switch's Brian Fung writes. "The result will see Comcast serving around 30 million U.S. customers, or just under a third of the American pay-TV market. It's far from certain that the proposed deal will actually happen. The two companies hope to close the deal by the end of the year, but it still has to be approved by shareholders — and hawkish regulators."

Sanity prevails: Europe says hyperlinks don’t infringe copyright. "The EU’s highest court this week ruled that one website can link to another without fearing a copyright lawsuit," GigaOm reports. "The ruling, which came in response to a complaint from Swedish journalists, reflects a growing sophistication in Europe about how the internet works, and was hailed with a sigh of relief by legal scholars. In the ruling, the Court of Justice of the European Union explained that links — like this one about where to watch the Olympics — don’t deprive authors of their right to make their work available to the public."

Infamous scanner 'patent troll' seeks sanctions—against the government. MPHJ Technology is a patent litigation firm that claims to own the concept of scanning documents and sending them by e-mail. It has attracted scrutiny from state and federal regulators. But Ars Technica reports that "far from giving up after meeting this resistance, MPHJ is pushing back hard. Rather than cooperate with investigators from the Federal Trade Commission, the company actually went ahead and sued the agency, naming individual commissioners in the suit. Now MPHJ has doubled down on its attack on the government, arguing that the Vermont lawsuit shouldn't just be dismissed—the state should be sanctioned and forced to pay MPHJ's legal fees."

Google working on 10 gigabit Internet speeds. "Google is working on technology that will provide data transfer speeds over the Internet that are many times faster than its current Google Fiber service in Kansas City, an executive at the online search giant said on Wednesday," according to USA Today. "Google Fiber offers data transfer speeds of 1 gigabit per second currently. But the company is already working on speeds of 10 gigabits per second, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette said during the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference."

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Andrea Peterson · February 13