The Switchboard: Google positions Nest as a smart home hub

(Brian Fung / brendan-c)

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

Microsoft says it’s resolved Outlook outage for business users across the country. Microsoft users at businesses across the country reported widespread e-mail outages for much of Tuesday, the Switch's Hayley Tsukayama reports. A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that the company experienced problems with its Exchange Online service, which many companies and organizations use to manage their e-mail and calendar services, but the company said it resolved the issue around 6 p.m. Eastern.

AT&T: Buying DirecTV would cut our costs — but probably not yours. In a hearing Tuesday, executives at AT&T said its proposed deal to purchase DirecTV would cut the company's costs, but those savings likely would be reflected in customers' bills, the Switch's Brian Fung reports. "The most that TV viewers can expect right now, said AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson, would be that prices simply rise less quickly."

Microsoft’s top lawyer slams secret surveillance court. Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith accused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of being unaccountable and not "inclined to promote justice" in a speech at the Brookings Institution Tuesday, Shira Ovide at the Wall Street Journal reports. The court, whose filings and orders are largely secret, has come under increased scrutiny following the revelations about National Security Agency programs from former government contractor Edward Snowden.

Google makes its Nest at the center of the smart home"Google is turning the Nest Learning Thermostat into the hub of smart homes," Matt Burns at Tech Crunch writes. The tech giant announced a new "Works with Nest" developers program Tuesday -- opening up the software on the platform so that it will be able to talk with other gadgets, cars, remotes, and other Internet of Things items.

Montana to notify 1.3 million of computer hacking. "Montana officials said Tuesday they are notifying 1.3 million people that their personal information could have been accessed by hackers who broke into a state health department computer server," Lisa Bauman at the Associated Press reports. Last month, the agency discovered a malware infection on a state Department of Public Health and Human Services server containing "addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers and medical records related to health assessments, diagnoses, treatment, prescriptions and insurance." However, officials say there's no evidence so far that the information was extracted from the server.


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 · June 24, 2014