The Switchboard: Al Franken seeks Netflix’s aid in challenging Comcast


Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., confers with an aide as the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights holds a hearing on "pay-for-delay" deals between pharmaceutical companies and their generic drug competitors, which critics say keep cheaper forms of medicine off the market, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 23, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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

Sen. Al Franken tries to recruit Netflix to his side. In a letter to Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings, Franken — an open critic of Comcast's — invited the company to weigh in on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. "As a popular provider of Internet content that competes directly with Comcast, Netflix is uniquely positioned to gauge the risks posed by this deal."

Confirmed: Nasty Heartbleed bug exposes OpenVPN private keys, too. "Private encryption keys have been successfully extracted multiple times from a virtual private network server running the widely used OpenVPN application with a vulnerable version of OpenSSL, adding yet more urgency to the call for operators to fully protect their systems against the catastrophic Heartbleed bug," reports Ars Technica.

Time Warner Cable bets big on easy and secure Wi-Fi, rolling out Hotspot 2.0 networkwide. "TWC has launched the first large-scale implementation of Hotspot 2.0," writes GigaOm, "which will make public Wi-Fi networks behave like cellular networks. You log into the network once and you’ll be instantly connected wherever you go."

The first suspected Heartbleed hacker has been arrested. "A Canadian cyber crime unit has arrested and charged a 19-year-old Ontario man for allegedly hacking into the country's tax agency using the Heartbleed Internet security bug," I wrote yesterday.

Marissa Mayer’s secret plan to get Apple to dump Google and default to Yahoo mobile search. "The company has prepared detailed decks, including images of what such a search product would look like, and hopes to present them to Apple execs," according to Re/code.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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