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The Switchboard: California DMV approves rules for self-driving car tests on public roads

The Uber Technologies application and logo are displayed on an Apple iPhone 5s and iPad Air in this arranged photograph in Washington, D.C. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

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

Surveillance reform bill weakened, privacy groups charge. Legislation in the House aimed at ending the National Security Agency’s mass collection of Americans’ records has been revised to win Obama administration approval, leading privacy advocates on Tuesday to withdraw their support," reports The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima.  According to the some civil-liberties groups the bill has been "significantly watered down and undermines a recent deal between the intelligence and judiciary committees," she writes.

FCC chair: An Internet fast lane would be ‘commercially unreasonable.’ "FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the agency recognizes that Internet providers would be disrupting a 'virtuous cycle' between the demand for free-flowing information on one hand and new investment in network upgrades on the other if they started charging companies like Google for better access to consumers," reports the Switch's Brian Fung. "What's more, he said, the FCC would have the legal authority to intervene."

California approves test of self-driving cars on public roads. "The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) officially approved rules to allow the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads" Tuesday, Megan Geuss at Ars Technica reports, noting that the rules will take effect Sept. 16.

Taxi commission official plans to join Uber. A top official at New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission, Ashwini Chhabra, is leaving for Uber, he said on Monday, becoming the company’s first head of policy development and community engagement," reports Matt Flegenheimer at the New York Times. "The move comes days after the commission approved an extension of a pilot program for street-hailing smartphone apps, including Hailo and Taxi Magic."

Secrets, lies and Snowden's email: why I was forced to shut down Lavabit. In a column for the Guardian, Ladar Levinson, the founder of now defunct encrypted e-mail service Lavabit, speaks out about his fight to withhold keys to his kingdom from the government. First government agents showed up with an order requiring the installation of surveillance equipment, he says. "But that wasn't enough," he writes," The federal agents then claimed that their court order required me to surrender my company's private encryption keys," leading to a lengthy court battle that took place under a shroud of secrecy.

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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