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The Switchboard: Uber and taxi unions face off in Europe


Taxi drivers protest in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Milan's taxis have been idle for five days to protest the ride-hailing app Uber, the latest European challenge to a technological advance against old business models. Uber, a San Francisco startup, has been banned in Brussels and is under court scrutiny in Berlin. Milan's 5,000 taxi drivers are seeking similar curbs when representatives meet with Italy's transport minister Wednesday. (AP Photo/Federico Ferramola, Lapresse)

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

Microsoft fights U.S. search warrant for customer e-mails held in overseas server. In what could be a landmark case, the Post's Ellen Nakashima reports Microsoft is fighting a U.S. search warrant asking for data held in an overseas data center. The government seeks e-mails connected to a drug-trafficking investigation held in an Irish Microsoft center. "Microsoft and other tech firms also fear that if the government prevails and can reach across borders, foreign individuals and businesses will flee to their non-U.S. competitors," says Nakashima.

Google’s university book scanning can move ahead without authors’ OK. A federal appeals court upheld the right of universities and Google to scans millions of library books without authors' permission, reports David Kravets at Ars Technica. "The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling in a case brought by the Authors Guild and other writers' groups, argued that the universities were not breaching federal copyright law, because the institutions were protected by the so-called 'fair use' doctrine. More than 73 percent of the volumes were copyrighted."

FAA gives approval to BP to use commercial drones. BP signed a five-year contract to monitor its Alaskan oil operations, reports Jack Nicas at the Wall Street Journal."The effort, which began Sunday, marks the first routine commercial drone flights approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, and comes amid growing excitement about the commercial market for unmanned aircraft."

Soccer fans are excited about the World Cup. So are cybercriminals. While soccer fans around the globe get ready to cheer on their team in the World Cup, cybercriminals are also getting excited according to a new report from cybersecurity firm Symantec. The tournament is a "rich target for cybercriminals," the company says.

Taxi drivers plan big protests in Europe against Uber. "Taxi drivers planned to turn a handful of European city centers into giant parking lots Wednesday, protesting the mobile car-hailing services of Uber Technologies Inc. and others," reports Lisa Fleisher at the Wall Street Journal. "The demonstrations highlight some challenges facing Uber and its peers as they race to increase revenue and woo investors. But the scale of the planned protests across Europe also underscores the extent to which the technology has upended one of the world's most regulated industries."

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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