The Switchboard: T-Mobile will exempt some music services from your data caps


T-Mobile CEO John Legere introduces Music Freedom which allows customers to stream all the music they want from all the most popular music streaming services without ever hitting their high-speed 4G LTE data during the T-Mobile Un-carrier event on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 in Seattle. (Stephen Brashear/AP Images for T-Mobile)

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

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Google cheers growing support for ECPA reform. "Four years after Google first began raising warnings about the Electronic Communications Privacy Act," writes CNET, "a small but significant milestone has been reached in attempts to get Congress to update the bill to better protect your data."

T-Mobile's 'Music Freedom' is a great feature — and a huge problem. "T-Mobile has decided, arbitrarily, that some of the data traveling over its pipes should count against a cap, while other data should not," writes the Verge. "What's to stop it from using data cap exemptions as a punitive measure against content providers that aren't on good terms with T-Mobile (or its parent company Deutsche Telekom)?"

FCC report shows ISPs are faster than ever, but congestion is a problem. "The good news is that, overall, the country’s average broadband speed is 36 percent faster than what it was in 2012," writes Gigaom. "The bad news is that DSL subscribers are getting left out of the party, and that severe congestion points are making life worse for everyone on the internet."

This one Supreme Court decision could upend the future of TV. "New York-based Aereo is controversial because the company takes over-the-air broadcast programming, like shows on PBS, ABC or NBC, and streams them over the Internet to its customers," I write. "It does this without paying the networks that produce the content. Should Aereo have to pay these guys for transmitting their stuff?"

SpaceX says it will put humans on Mars by 2026, almost 10 years ahead of NASA. "Actually getting humans to Mars isn’t all that difficult," writes Extreme Tech. "Yes, the journey is quite long (around 200 days) and there’s a risk of radiation exposure, but these are fairly small problems compared to a) landing on Mars, b) surviving on Mars, and c) getting back to Earth. This is the area where NASA — which has landed and taken off from the Moon, and landed a huge rover on Mars — has a lot more experience than SpaceX."

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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