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Tech Edge

Privacy Board Says Internet Spying Is Legal

By Laura Ryan (@NJLJRyan) with help from Alex Brown (@AlexBrownNJ), Brendan Sasso (@BrendanSasso), and Dustin Volz (@dnvolz).

TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH: The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board mostly supports the NSA's Internet surveillance program in its new report. Patent reform is not dead yet, as Rep. Lee Terry introduces a new, albeit it much smaller, patent demand letter bill. The FTC accused T-Mobile of including bogus fees on monthly bills.

TOP NEWS

PCLOB RELEASES 702 REPORT: The NSA's Internet surveillance program under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is legal and effective, according to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board's long-awaited report.

 

The board makes 10 recommendations that largely consist of boosting transparency and privacy considerations when an intelligence agency conducts a 702 query. But just two of the panel's five members are backing a requirement for individual warrants before the NSA could perform "backdoor" searches of Americans' communications. The House last month passed legislation that would require judicial approval for such queries. The board said it believes none of its recommendations would require legislative changes.

PRIVACY GROUPS DISAPPOINTED: "The PCLOB's proposed reforms for Section 702 are an anemic set of recommendations that will do little to stop excessive surveillance," Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote in a blog post.

The report's modest recommendations contrast with the sweeping call for reform in the board's review of spying under Section 215 of the Patriot Act earlier this year. "If the last PCLOB report was a bombshell, this one is a dud," tweeted Open Technology Institute's Kevin Bankston.

The board is scheduled to formally adopt the report at a meeting this morning.

REP. LEE TERRY UNVEILS DRAFT DEMAND-LETTER BILL: The Nebraska Republican has followed through on a months-old promise to put forward legislation that would require demand letters be more transparent and precise in order to cut down on abusive patent trolling. Lee's draft reasserts the authority both the FTC and state attorneys general possess to charge companies that send frivolous demand letters, and it enumerates what information needs to be include in letters, such as clear representation of the owner and validity of the patent claimed to be infringed upon.

The draft, which is much smaller in scope than the sweeping Innovation Act that died in the Senate, earned quick support from BSA | The Software Alliance CEO Victoria Espinel, who in a statement called it is an "important piece" of the broader reform effort needed to help innovators. The Innovation Alliance, usually an opponent of strong reform legislation, said it was "generally supportive" of the draft.

FCC PUSHES BACK AGAINST E-RATE CRITICISM: The FCC says its proposal to reform E-Rate would upgrade Wi-Fi connections for up to 44 million students and thousands of libraries. The agency released a report yesterday laying out the potential gains for schools and libraries state-by-state over the next five years if the proposal is accepted.

Education organizations, like the National Education Association, have criticized Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal because it does not increase the overall budget for E-Rate, but Evan Marwell, head of the EducationSuperHighway, said that teachers and superintendents around the country are very supportive during a press call Tuesday.

TOP LINES

FTC SUES T-MOBILE OVER BOGUS FEES: The carrier made hundreds of millions of dollars by placing unwanted charges on customers' monthly phone bills, according to the lawsuit. (Sasso, NJ)

...T-MO CEO WEIGHS IN ON TWITTER: "Looks like lobbying work of big greedy carriers!" (Ryan, NJ)

AEREO TURNS TO CONGRESS: In a last ditch plea, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia is asking its users to lobby Congress to reverse the Supreme Court's decision. (Sasso, NJ)

FACEBOOK FACES UK PROBE OVER STUDY: The U.K. data regulator is investigating Facebook's controversial psychological experiment. (Hannah Kuchler, FT)

GOOGLE BUYS SONGZA: Google is hopping on the music "curation" bandwagon with the purchase of Songza, a music streaming service that uses information about the user to crafts playlists. (Ben Sisario, NYT)

FRANKEN AND HELLER CONTINUE TRANSPARENCY PUSH: The senators want Obama to reveal more information about the NSA.

DISH HAD ITS EYES ON DIRECTV TOO: Dish was in the bidding for DirecTV, according to new regulatory filings (Thomas Gryta/Shalini Ramachandran, WSJ)

MINORITY RADIO STATION OWNERSHIP DECLINES: Minority ownership of FM stations went from 196 stations in 2011 to 169 in 2013; at present only 3 percent of stations are minority-owned.

SILK ROAD BITCOINS AUCTIONED OFF TO A MYSTERY WINNER: Bidding for 30,000 bitcoins seized from the Silk Road were auctioned off to a single winner within 12 hours, but no one knows who won. (Joseph Cox, Motherboard)

NINE MORE AUTOMAKERS SIGN UP FOR APPLE'S CARPLAY: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Mazda are among the manufacturers joining the "iPhone on wheels" club. (Ina Fried, ReCode)

TWITTER REPLACES CFO: Anthony Noto, a banker and hedge fund operator, will take over the role of Mike Gupta, who is moving into a new role dealing with strategic investments. (Seth Fiegerman, Mashable)

THE DAY AHEAD

  • The Senate and House are out of session.

  • The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will meet at 10 a.m. to release its report on surveillance under Section 702 of FISA.

The Tech Edge will return on Monday, July 7th. Happy 4th of July!

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