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The Switchboard: Five tech policy stories you need to read today

An Iranian man uses a computer at an Internet cafe in Tehran on May 27, 2013. Iranian authorities have restored blocks on Facebook and Twitter after a "technical glitch" briefly removed filters from the social networks overnight. (Vahid Salemi/Associated Press)

Iran blames technical glitch for Facebook and Twitter access. Iran said it didn't mean to open up access to Western social networks Monday, reports The Verge. "Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, secretary of a government agency on Web regulation, says the glitch appears to have arisen from one of Iran's Internet service providers (ISPs), and that officials are looking into the matter."

Reddit bans subreddit dedicated to finding the Navy Yard shooter. A Reddit spokesperson tells my colleague Andrea Peterson that the service banned the thread because it encouraged the posting of "personal information." Over at GigaOm, Mathew Ingram argues Reddit-style sleuthing would be more useful if organized news outlets could contribute what they knew.

Location-based government alerts are coming to British phones. Pilot programs with some of the country's biggest carriers — including Vodafone and O2 — will begin testing emergency messages that warn users when something dangerous is happening nearby, Computerworld reports. "The trials will take place in three locations: North Yorkshire, Glasgow and Suffolk."

Brazil looks to break from U.S.-centric Internet. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is taking steps to keep her citizens' data on Brazilian soil, a move that's designed to counter U.S. National Security Agency spying but that critics say could lead to an unraveling of a cohesive Internet. "Rousseff's government plans to lay underwater fiber optic cable directly to Europe," Yahoo News reports, "and also link to all South American nations to create what it hopes will be a network free of U.S. eavesdropping."

Facebook explains secrets of building hugely scalable sites. The company explains in a new white paper how making its data centers more energy-efficient and its apps less resource-intensive will help connect the rest of the developing world to its products. "The company has built a tool, called Air Traffic Control, to simulate different network and device conditions right from its headquarters in Mountain View," writes VentureBeat's Dylan Tweney. "Using the results of these tests, it has been able to optimize things such as image sizes to deliver the most efficient possible package to each user, without overloading their network connections."

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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Andrea Peterson · September 16, 2013

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