The Switchboard: Amazon speaks out about Hachette fight

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks on stage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

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

Amazon Defends Its Stance Against Hachette Jeffrey Trachtenberg of the Wall Street Journal reports, "Russ Grandinetti, Amazon's senior vice president of Kindle content, indicated the retailer was willing to suffer some damage to its reputation and was simply doing what is 'in the long-term interest of our customers.' Grandinetti rejected the claim that Amazon holds too much clout in the book world, pointing out that most publishers are 'part of much larger media conglomerates.'" (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post.)

Independent panel: NSA surveillance program targeting foreigners is lawful "An independent executive-branch board has concluded that a major National Security Agency surveillance program targeting foreigners overseas is lawful and effective but that certain elements push 'close to the line' of being unconstitutional," writes The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima. "The 'unknown and potentially large' collection by the agency of e-mails and phone calls of Americans who communicate with foreign targets is one aspect that raises concerns, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said in a report released online Tuesday night. But the board did not go as far in its recommendations as privacy advocates would like. For instance, it would leave in place the government’s ability to conduct warrantless searches for Americans’ communications in the data gathered by the NSA."

US Marshals: One Auction Bidder Claimed All 30,000 Silk Road Bitcoins CoinDesk's Stan Higgins reports that, "The US Marshals Service (USMS) has announced that a single, undisclosed bidder claimed all of the roughly 30,000 bitcoins seized from online black market Silk Road and sold in its recent auction." According to the U.S. Marshals office statement, the bitcoins have already been transferred to the winner.

The FTC is accusing T-Mobile of jacking up customers’ phone bills "According to the FTC, the wireless carrier got kickbacks when other companies offering 'flirting tips, horoscope information or celebrity gossip' tried to bill customers for spammy content they didn't want or didn't ask for," The Switch's Brian Fung reports. "In a statement posted to the company's Web site, T-Mobile chief executive John Legere called the FTC's complaint a 'sensationalized legal action' that was 'unfounded and without merit.'"

UK regulator investigates Facebook over emotions study  "The British data watchdog is investigating whether Facebook Inc violated data-protection laws when it allowed researchers to conduct a psychological experiment on its users," according to Reuters. "Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) spokesman Greg Jones said in an email to Reuters that the office is "aware of this issue and will be speaking to Facebook, as well as liaising with the Irish data protection authority, to learn more about the circumstances." (Facebook's European headquarters is in Ireland.) It is not clear, the report said, which part of data-protection law Facebook may have infringed.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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