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The Switchboard: Vodafone tips massive government surveillance program in new report

(FILES) A file picture taken in London on September 4, 2013, shows the Vodafone logo. Vodafone's annual profit rocketed to £59.3 billion, boosted by the sale of a stake in US joint-venture Verizon Wireless and despite more problems in Europe, the British mobile phone giant said on Tuesday May 20, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS/FILESJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

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

At 11 a.m. Eastern on Friday, join us in our weekly livechat, Switchback, where we'll be talking about the week's top tech news. The comment box is open, so submit your questions now.

Vodafone reveals existence of secret wires that allow state surveillance "Vodafone, one of the world's largest mobile phone groups, has revealed the existence of secret wires that allow government agencies to listen to all conversations on its networks, saying they are widely used in some of the 29 countries in which it operates in Europe and beyond," the Guardian's Juliette Garside writes, citing a 40,000-word disclosure report.

Virginia officials order Uber, Lyft to stop operating in the stateThe Washington Post's Lori Aratani writes: "Earlier this year, Virginia officials slapped the app-based services with more than$35,000 in civil penalties for operating with out proper permits. On Thursday, Richard D. Holcomb, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, sent a cease and desist letter to both companies." Both companies say they are complying with the law and will continue to operate in Virginia while working to make "policy progress."
Verizon to Netflix: Here’s a cease-and-desist letter. Can you hear me now? "Verizon is threatening to sue Netflix in the latest tit-for-tat between the companies over a controversial error message some Netflix subscribers have been seeing," reports The Switch's own Brian Fung.
"A cease-and-desist letter by Verizon calls Netflix's new error message — which blames Verizon's network for laggy downloads — "deceptive" and "false," arguing that Netflix's claims could potentially harm Verizon's business."

Senators voice concerns over telephone tech switch: "Senators are concerned that an ongoing switch from traditional phone lines to Internet-based phone technology could leave some in the U.S. without reliable phone service," writes The Hill's Kate Tummarello. "During a Thursday hearing held by the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, multiple Democratic senators expressed concerns that the new technologies would be less reliable than the traditional technologies, especially during emergencies."

New OpenSSL vulnerability puts encrypted communications at risk of spying: "A newly discovered vulnerability that allows spying on encrypted SSL/TLS communications has been identified and fixed in the widely used OpenSSL library," according to Lucian Constantin of IDG News Service. "The problematic code has existed since at least OpenSSL 0.9.1c, which was released in December 1998, so the bug is over 15 years old, Adam Langley, a senior software engineer at Google, said in an analysis of the issue posted on his personal blog."

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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