The Switchboard: Cellphone unlocking bill on track to become law


The sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Published every weekday, the Switchboard is your morning helping of hand-picked stories from The Switch team.

Are you in D.C.? Come visit us to celebrate The Switch's one-year anniversary tomorrow! Details here.

SpaceX’s lawsuit against the Air Force is gaining steam. "A federal judge has ordered a review of a U.S. Air Force contract to put dozens of military satellites into orbit," reports the Switch's Brian Fung. "The contract, which was awarded to longtime federal partner United Launch Alliance, is being contested by SpaceX over claims that the bidding process was non-competitive."

How spy agencies keep their ‘toys’ from law enforcement. "The most sophisticated surveillance technologies are not always available to law enforcement because they are classified," current and former government officials told the Post's Ellen Nakashima. "And sometimes it's not just the tool that is classified, but the existence itself of the capability — the idea that a certain type of communication can be wiretapped — that is secret."

Congress passes cellphone unlocking legislation. Congress passed a bill that would make it legal to unlock cellphones again Friday -- and President Obama has pledged to sign it. Unlocking, or allowing a phone to be used on another network, is technically illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but the government had routinely made an exception for the practice -- until 2012, with the Librarian of Congress declined to renew the exception.

4 senators raise alarm about NSA collection of Americans’ e-mails, phone calls. "Four Democratic senators have sent a letter to the director of national intelligence expressing concerns about the scope of the collection of Americans’ e-mails and phone calls under a National Security Agency program that targets foreigners overseas," The Post's Ellen Nakashima reports.

Can Reddit grow up? Mike Isaac at the New York Times wonders if the popular community site can monetize its platform without alienating its 114 million regular monthly users.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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Brian Fung · July 25