Switchboard: AT&T’s surveillance report doesn’t mention 80 million NSA targets. Here’s why.


FILE: The Comcast Corp. logo is seen on the exhibit floor at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Cable Show in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, June 11, 2013.(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Comcast’s deal with Netflix makes network neutrality obsolete.  "In recent months, the nation's largest residential Internet service providers have been demanding payment to deliver Netflix traffic to their own customers," write the Switch's Timothy B. Lee. " On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Netflix has agreed to the demands of the nation's largest broadband provider, Comcast. The change represents a fundamental shift in power in the Internet economy that threatens to undermine the competitive market structure that have served Internet users so well for the past two decades."

Mt. Gox resigns from Bitcoin Foundation. "Mark Karpelès, chief executive officer of Mt. Gox, the embattled Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange, resigned on Sunday from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation," reports Robin Sidel at the Wall Street Journal. This is the second resignation of a Bitcoin Foundation Board member in recent months.

Apple's 'gotofail' security mess extends to Mail, Twitter, iMessage, Facetime and more. Andy Greenberg at Forbes details the security issues facing Apple over the weekend: "First, Apple revealed a critical bug in its implementation of  encryption in iOS, requiring an emergency patch. Then researchers found the same bug is also included in Apple’s desktop OSX operating system, a gaping Web security hole that leaves users of Safari at risk of having their traffic hijacked. Now one researcher has found evidence that the bug extends beyond Apple’s browser to other applications including Mail, Twitter, Facetime, iMessage and even Apple’s software update mechanism."

This scientist was exposed as a fraud years ago. The government gave him a patent anyway.  "Hwang Woo-suk was a Korean scientist who claimed to have developed a breakthrough cloning technique in 2004. But he was fired in 2006 after he admitted his results had been falsified," writes the Switch's Timothy B. Lee.  "But that didn't stop the United States Patent and Trademark Office from issuing him a patent based on the fake research. The New York Times was first to report on Patent 8,647,872, which was awarded on Feb. 11."

Why AT&T’s surveillance report omits 80 million NSA targets. "AT&T’s transparency report counts 301,816 total requests for information — spread between subpoenas, court orders and search warrants — in 2013. That includes between 2,000 and 4,000 under the category “national security demands,” which collectively gathered information on about 39,000 to 42,000 different accounts," reports David Kravets at Wired. But that number, he says, doesn't give the full picture of AT&T's participation in NSA snooping. "An accurate transparency report should include a line indicating that AT&T has turned over information on each and every one of its more than 80 million-plus customers. It doesn’t."

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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