Published every weekday, the Switchboard highlights five tech policy stories you need to read.
Calif. bill would halt assistance to NSA. "Lawmakers in California want to block state agencies and universities from assisting the National Security Agency (NSA) in its surveillance of Americans," according to The Hill. "Legislation from state Sens. Ted Lieu (D) and Joel Anderson (R), introduced on Monday, would cut off the spy agency from California utilities, services and other agencies."
Nebraska AG seeks to shut down vague patent demand letters. "Today, Nebraska AG Jon Bruning announced his 2014 legislative package," according to Ars Technica. "At the top of the list: the Nebraska Patent Abuse Prevention Act. The act would prohibit making a 'bad faith assertion of patent infringement' in a patent demand letter and would require anyone sending out more than 25 demand letters in a year to register with the attorney general's office."
Uber CEO: Surge Pricing Is Here to Stay. "A serial entrepreneur at the helm of Uber Technologies Inc. valued at $3.5 billion, Mr. Kalanick rang in the New Year squabbling with Twitter users over surge pricing, an algorithm Uber uses to charge customers more money during times of high demand," the Wall Street Journal writes. "One rider tweeted that a $35 fare ballooned to $262. Mr. Kalanick, Uber's co-founder and chief executive, defended the practice as a method of finding the 'market price.'"
Yelp seeks Washington clout after rapid rise in Silicon Valley. "The online review site Yelp is seeking clout in Washington to match its growing influence in Silicon Valley," The Hill reports. "The company made a splash by hiring a former staffer to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) as its first ever in-house lobbyist and followed it up by forming a political action committee to funnel donations to candidates."
NSA employee will continue to co-chair influential crypto standards group. "A National Security Agency employee will continue to co-chair an influential group that helps to develop cryptographic standards designed to protect Internet communications, despite calls that he should be removed," Ars Technica reports. "Kevin Igoe, a senior cryptographer with the NSA's Commercial Solutions Center, is one of two co-chairs of the Crypto Forum Research Group (CFRG), which provides cryptographic guidance to working groups that develop widely used standards for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)."