The Switchboard: Mobile location data can’t be seized without a warrant, court rules


(philcampbell / Flickr)

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

AT&T, DirecTV merger could make it harder to cut the cord. "AT&T and DirecTV on Wednesday said in a federal application that their combined companies would be able to offer lower prices for bundles of satellite television and high-speed Internet, puting pressure on cable companies to also cut fees," the Post's own Cecilia Kang reports. "The companies say that's great for consumers and should be a key reason to approve their $49 billion deal."

U.S. appeals court rules warrantless phone location tracking is illegal. CNET reports: "Three judges in the US Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit agreed on Wednesday that acquiring records of which cell towers connect to a smartphone and tablet, as well as when they connect, constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment, which prevents unreasonable searches and seizures."

Uber registrations 'increase 850%' as black cab drivers stage London protest. "The taxi-booking mobile app company Uber said it experienced an 850 percent increase in new users today as London's black cabs staged a protest that brought gridlock to the city center," according to the Independent.

AT&T accuses Netflix of 'double-talk' when it comes to Comcast and Verizon deals. Netflix "has made no secret of its hatred of those deals, arguing that they set a dangerous precedent," I write. "Now AT&T has joined the debate — not with a paid deal of its own, but with some strong language effectively telling Netflix to put up or shut up."

Powerful worm on Twitter unleashes torrent of out-of-control tweets. "Twitter on Wednesday was briefly overrun by a powerful computer worm that caused tens of thousands of users to tweet a message that contained self-propagating code exploiting a bug in the TweetDeck app," reports Ars Technica.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecommunications and the Internet. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.

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Brian Fung · June 12, 2014