Justice Dept. asks FCC to defer action on Sprint-Softbank merger: The Justice Department has asked the Federal Communications Commission to defer action on the proposed merger between Sprint and Japanese carrier Softbank.
According to a filing on the FCC’s Web site, Justice said that it, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are currently reviewing the merger for “national security, law enforcement and public safety” issues. Justice has asked the FCC to wait to take any action until those agencies have completed their reviews.
Softbank has agreed to purchase a 70 percent stake in the country’s third-largest carrier, which would give Sprint an infusion of cash that could help it better compete with Verizon and AT&T. Sprint’s acquisition of Clearwire, which will give it much-needed spectrum is contingent on closing the deal with Softbank.
Google adds to North Korean maps: Relying on contributions through its Map Maker service, Google has sketched out more geographic details in North Korea — previously one of the areas of the world that had almost no detail on Google’s map of the world.
As The Washington Post reported, the map update comes shortly after Google chairman Eric Schmidt made a trip to the country on a private diplomatic mission with former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. There, Schmidt called on the country to allow its citizens to participate in global discussion through the Internet.
In a blog post, Google said that the map was “not perfect” and encouraged others to continue to work on sketching out a map of the country.
Tech companies lend support to immigration act: Tech industry groups are lending their support to a new immigration act, known as the Immigration Innovation Act, or the “I-Squared” act.
In a statement, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith applauded proposals that would reform the process of gaining H-1B visas — visas given to workers with specialist knowledge.
“Microsoft strongly supports the Immigration Innovation Act and urges Congress to send broader immigration reform that includes these critical solutions to the President’s desk this year,” Smith said.
House oversight panel requests review of Swartz case: Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have asked the Justice Department to brief them on the decision to prosecute Aaron Swartz, who was found dead from apparent suicide on Jan. 11.
Swartz, an outspoken Internet freedom advocate, was being charged under a federal computer crimes law for scraping articles from the academic database JSTOR. Swartz believed that the information in that database should have been available to average users.
Issa and Cummings have asked Justice for information on the factors that led it to prosecute Swartz and whether or not his opposition to the Stop Online Privacy Act factored into that decision. They also asked Justice to explain what factors had influenced its sentencing proposals.