The Switchboard: Microsoft successfully fights government request for data


File: In this April 2, 2014 file photo, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gestures during the keynote address of the Build Conference in San Francisco.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

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

At 11 a.m. Eastern on Friday, join us in our weekly livechat, Switchback, where we'll be talking about the week's top tech news. The comment box is open, so submit your questions now.

Microsoft wins right to disclose FBI’s demand for info about Office 365 customer  Microsoft revealed on its official company blog that it successfully challenged a national security letter demand from the FBI, after which the agency withdrew its demand for information.  As GigaOm's Jeff John Roberts writes: "In a show of further legal courage, however, Microsoft returned to court to seek permission to disclose information about the process. In response, U.S. District Judge Richard Jones issued an order requiring three documents to be unsealed: Microsoft’s petition challenging the security letter; an agreement between Microsoft and the Justice Department over the FBI letter; and Jones’ unsealing order."

House approves bill that would end NSA’s collection of Americans’ phone records "The USA Freedom Act, which began as a broad package of surveillance reforms embraced by civil libertarians and tea party Republicans, was revised this week to meet the concerns of intelligence and law enforcement officials," writes The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima. But, she notes,"The amended bill lost the support of dozens of co-sponsors who were upset that the reforms were scaled back." In fact, 76 of the original co-sponsors voted against their own bill, per The Post's Andrea Peterson.

U.S. states probe eBay cyber attack as customers complain Following its disclosure of a data breach, eBay Inc  came "under pressure on Thursday over a massive hacking of customer data as three U.S. states began investigating the e-commerce company's security practices," says Reuters' Jim Finkle and Karen Freifeld. "Connecticut, Florida and Illinois said they are jointly investigating the matter. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman requested eBay provide free credit monitoring for everyone affected. Details about what happened are still unclear because eBay has provided few details about the attack. It is also unclear what legal authority states have over eBay's handling of the matter."

Google developing tablet with advanced vision capabilities "The company plans to produce about 4,000 of the prototype tablets beginning next month, according to people briefed on the company's plans" as part of Google's larger Project Tango, according to The Wall Street Journal's Lorraine Luk and Rolfe Winkler. "The device would come with a 7-inch screen and will be equipped with two back cameras, infrared depth sensors and advanced software that can capture precise three dimensional images of objects, said these people."

Facebook ups privacy for new users, by default "Facebook announced Thursday that it is changing a privacy setting for new users, making their 'friends' the default audience for all posts, rather than the general public," writes The Post's Hayley Tsukayama. "The change is small. But it gives new users to the site, who may be unfamiliar with Facebook's sometimes complex privacy settings, a measure of comfort that they won't be making a social network gaffe right out of the gate when they join the social network." In addition, Facebook has also changed some menu options and log-in features for existing users, again with the aim of making the privacy settings more transparent an easier to use.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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File: In this April 2, 2014 file photo, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gestures during the keynote address of the Build Conference in San Francisco.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

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

At 11 a.m. Eastern on Friday, join us in our weekly livechat, Switchback, where we'll be talking about the week's top tech news. The comment box is open, so submit your questions now.

Microsoft wins right to disclose FBI’s demand for info about Office 365 customer  Microsoft revealed on its official company blog that it successfully challenged a national security letter demand from the FBI, after which the agency withdrew its demand for information.  As GigaOm's Jeff John Roberts writes: "In a show of further legal courage, however, Microsoft returned to court to seek permission to disclose information about the process. In response, U.S. District Judge Richard Jones issued an order requiring three documents to be unsealed: Microsoft’s petition challenging the security letter; an agreement between Microsoft and the Justice Department over the FBI letter; and Jones’ unsealing order."

House approves bill that would end NSA’s collection of Americans’ phone records "The USA Freedom Act, which began as a broad package of surveillance reforms embraced by civil libertarians and tea party Republicans, was revised this week to meet the concerns of intelligence and law enforcement officials," writes The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima. But, she notes,"The amended bill lost the support of dozens of co-sponsors who were upset that the reforms were scaled back." In fact, 76 of the original co-sponsors voted against their own bill, per The Post's Andrea Peterson.

U.S. states probe eBay cyber attack as customers complain Following its disclosure of a data breach, eBay Inc  came "under pressure on Thursday over a massive hacking of customer data as three U.S. states began investigating the e-commerce company's security practices," says Reuters' Jim Finkle and Karen Freifeld. "Connecticut, Florida and Illinois said they are jointly investigating the matter. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman requested eBay provide free credit monitoring for everyone affected. Details about what happened are still unclear because eBay has provided few details about the attack. It is also unclear what legal authority states have over eBay's handling of the matter."

Google developing tablet with advanced vision capabilities "The company plans to produce about 4,000 of the prototype tablets beginning next month, according to people briefed on the company's plans" as part of Google's larger Project Tango, according to The Wall Street Journal's Lorraine Luk and Rolfe Winkler. "The device would come with a 7-inch screen and will be equipped with two back cameras, infrared depth sensors and advanced software that can capture precise three dimensional images of objects, said these people."

Facebook ups privacy for new users, by default "Facebook announced Thursday that it is changing a privacy setting for new users, making their 'friends' the default audience for all posts, rather than the general public," writes The Post's Hayley Tsukayama. "The change is small. But it gives new users to the site, who may be unfamiliar with Facebook's sometimes complex privacy settings, a measure of comfort that they won't be making a social network gaffe right out of the gate when they join the social network." In addition, Facebook has also changed some menu options and log-in features for existing users, again with the aim of making the privacy settings more transparent an easier to use.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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