The Switchboard: Facebook opens up about its fight against bulk search warrants


A man poses for photographs in front of the Facebook sign on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif.  (Jeff Chiu/AP)

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

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Facebook: Fighting Bulk Search Warrants In Court "Since last summer, we’ve been fighting hard against a set of sweeping search warrants issued by a court in New York that demanded we turn over nearly all data from the accounts of 381 people who use our service, including photos, private messages and other information," says Facebook deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby. "This unprecedented request is by far the largest we’ve ever received —by a magnitude of more than 10 — and we have argued that it was unconstitutional from the start."

Facebook can talk about these actions because of a recent move by the U.S. government to unseal warrants and court filings dealing with these efforts, Sonderby said.

German government to drop Verizon over NSA spying fears "Reports of U.S. spying on German citizens -- including German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- caused outrage in the European nation last year after a wave of revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden," writes The Switch's Andrea Peterson. In a statement to The Post, Verizon Germany managing director Detlef Eppig said, "Verizon Germany is a German company, and we comply with German law," and referred to a previous block post outlining the "inability of the US Government to access customer data stored outside the US."

Key Dem: No appetite for consumer privacy bill "Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) doesn’t see Congress moving a bill to protect consumer privacy anytime soon," says The Hill's Kate Tummarello. "Lofgren said Thursday that there is no enthusiasm in Congress for such a bill at the moment," indicating that privacy from government surveillance is a much higher priority for lawmakers at the moment.

Aereo investor Barry Diller: “It’s over now”  Ars Technica's Joe Mullin pulls the money quote of a CNBC report on this week's Aereo decision: "Aereo's chief investor, IAC/InterActiveCorp Chairman Barry Diller, struck a different tone, telling CNBC: 'We did try, but it's over now.'" Aereo's chief executive issued a statement after the ruling vowing that the firm will continue to fight for its customers. But, as Brodkin notes, "[in] order for Aereo to stay in the television business, it will probably need to negotiate a license with the TV companies. That would essentially make it a competitor to Hulu. But, it would be negotiating with broadcasters from a position of having no experience with licensed content, zero negotiating leverage, and more than two years of bitter litigation and bad blood."
[Correction: An earlier version of this post said Jon Brodkin wrote the Ars Technica article.]

Amazon accused of 'bullying' smaller UK publishers "The web giant wants the right to print books itself if publishers fail to provide adequate stock, and wants publishers to match any pricing deals it offers to other distributors," says BBC's Joe Miller. "One mid-sized firm accused Amazon of "bullying," and warned that the company was destroying the industry. Amazon has not commented on the issue."

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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