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The Switchboard: This app shows how easy it is to match your metadata to you

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

Researchers show why the NSA's phone metadata is far from anonymous. "Last month, Patrick Mutchler and Jonathan Mayer released an Android app called MetaPhone that allowed them to pull phone records — with permission — from users' phones," reports The Verge. "In an ongoing series, they're now showing what can be gleaned from that information: most recently, how easy it is to correlate numbers with names. First, they simply pulled 5,000 numbers from their MetaPhone dataset and checked them against Facebook, Yelp, and Google Places; these three services let them match 27.1 percent of the numbers with a name or business."

Apple renews motion calling for a U.S. ban on Samsung products. "Apple has renewed its bid for a U.S. ban on Samsung products," according to MacRumors, "requesting that a separate injunction trial be held on January 30, 2014."

Bitcoin exchanges suspend operations in India amid government warning. "India's largest bitcoin trading platform has suspended its operations," reports ZDNet, "citing a recent public advisory by the central bank highlighting the risks of virtual currencies."

China's telecom regulator awards virtual telecom licenses to 11 companies. "With the new licenses, the 11 companies will be able to lease mobile services from China's three state-run telecom service providers," the Wall Street Journal reports. "Analysts have long said the creation of the new businesses ... could offer a first step to breaking up the monopoly held by China's three state-run telecom service providers."

Major recording labels prepare to sue Russia’s Facebook. "Russia’s telecoms regulator has just stated that the country’s Facebook equivalent vKontakte has done enough against piracy to have itself removed from the USTR’s Special 301 Report," according to TorrentFreak. "However, the major labels including Sony, Universal, EMI and Warner seem to disagree and say they are preparing to sue the social networking giant."

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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Timothy B. Lee · December 26, 2013

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