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Snowden (Virtually) Visits SXSW, and Aereo Goes Dark in Two Cities Snowden (Virtually) Visits SXSW, and Aereo Goes Dark in Two Cities

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Snowden (Virtually) Visits SXSW, and Aereo Goes Dark in Two Cities

Welcome to National Journal's Tech Edge, a morning tip sheet with the news you need in technology policy, featuring a round-up of the best coverage and exclusive tips for the day ahead. Got this by forward? Sign up at

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


TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Edward Snowden will speak via live video at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas at noon with Christopher Soghoian and Ben Wizner of the ACLU. The famed NSA leaker plans to discuss how mass surveillance has affected the technology community and how to better protect communications.


AEREO PARTIALLY SHUTS DOWN: TV-streaming service Aereo shut down in Denver and Salt Lake City at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday due to its ongoing legal battle with broadcasters. A federal judge in Utah sided with the broadcasters on Feb. 25, ruling that Aereo was stealing the broadcasters' copyrighted content. In a 2-1 ruling on Friday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Aereo's bid to delay the judge's injunction, saying the company had failed to show it is likely to ultimately win the case. Aereo had to cut-off service to Denver and Salt Lake City because those are the cities it was serving in the 10th Circuit's jurisdiction.

The ruling is a break from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, which rejected the broadcasters' lawsuit last year. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case on April 22.


"We are extremely disappointed that the District Court in Utah has chosen to take a different path than every other Court that has reviewed the Aereo technology," Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia wrote in an email to subscribers in the two cities on Friday night. "Consumers have a fundamental right to watch over-the-air broadcast television via a modern antenna and to record copies for their personal use."

FAA TO APPEAL RULING NIXING DRONE BAN: Before drone evangelists had much time to celebrate an NTSB administrative judge's Thursday ruling effectively killing the FAA's ban on commercial drone use, the agency announced late Friday it would appeal the decision, a move that keeps the ban in place--for now. The appeal to the full NTSB "has the effect of staying the decision until the board rules," the FAA said in a statement, adding that it was concerned the judge's ruling "could impact the safe operation of the national airspace system and the safety of people and property on the ground."

Before last week's action, the FAA had intended to set drone integration rules by September 2015, a deadline that regulators acknowledged in congressional testimony last month they were unlikely to meet. (Volz, NJ)


THE PEOPLE COLLECTING YOUR DATA: 60 Minutes' top segment Sunday night focused on the largely unregulated world of data brokers, and featured commentary from FTC Commissioner Julie Brill, App Developers Alliance's Tim Sparapani and Epsilon CEO Bryan Kennedy. Brill repeated calls for more oversight and transparency of the multi-billion dollar industry: "Consumers don't know who the data brokers are. They don't know the names of these companies. They have no way to know, 'What -- well, what website am I supposed to go to? Who do I call? What letter do I write?'" (Steve Kroft, 60 Minutes)


MARKETERS HIT BACK: The Direct Marketing Association blasted CBS for its "unbalanced, heavily negative depiction"of data brokers. "DMA has managed our successful self-regulation program for more than four decades, and we will continue to fight on the side of consumer value, transparency in data collection and use, ethical and responsible marketing, and innovation," DMA President Linda Woolley said in a statement, arguing that the industry creates hundreds of thousands of jobs.

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  • The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday to consider the nomination of Michael Rogers to be the director of the National Security Agency and the head of U.S. Cyber Command

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on "Open Government and Freedom of Information: Reinvigorating the Freedom of Information Act for the Digital Age" at 10:15 a.m.

  • Public Knowledge will host a panel discussion on the IP transition at 10:30 a.m.

  • SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son plans to discuss the wireless industry at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at 12:00 p.m.

  • Technology company CEOs will discuss the "data economy" at an event moderated by Fareed Zakaria at 5 p.m.


  • The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing at 10:00 a.m. to consider whether to empower states to tax online purchases.

  • The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee will hold hearing on whether to re-authorize the satellite-TV law STELA at 10:30 a.m.

  • The House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on 3D-printing at 1 p.m.

  • The Senate Armed Services Committee will have a hearing on military space programs at 2:30 p.m.

  • The House Armed Services Committee has a hearing on IT and cyber operations at 3:30 p.m with General Keith Alexander.


  • The House Judiciary IP Subcommittee will have its next hearing on copyright issues at 9:30 a.m.

  • The Senate Homeland Security Committee will vote at 9:55 a.m. on the nomination of L. Reginald Brothers, Jr. to be the undersecretary for science and technology at DHS.


  • The New America Foundation will host an event on big data and civil rights at 9 a.m.


AT&T, T-MO TWEAK PRICES: AT&T is again cutting prices in its bid to fend-off increasingly aggressive competition from T-Mobile. But T-Mobile, which has suffered wider losses due to the price-war, is going in the opposite direction. The carrier will charge an extra $10 for its unlimited data plan. (Thomas Gryta, WSJ)

EU PRIVACY VOTES LOOM: U.S. tech companies are worried about two measures before the European Parliament this week to toughen privacy restrictions. (Kate Tummarello, The Hill)

COURT REJECTS NSA BID TO HOLD DATA LONGER: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rejected the Obama administration's request to hold millions of phone records beyond the current five-year limit. The government had argued it needed to hold on to the records as evidence for the privacy lawsuits. (Sasso, NJ)

COMMISSIONER PAI RESPONDS TO E-RATE PUBLIC NOTICE: FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is not happy with the priority system discount matrix proposals in the E-Rate modernization public notice released Thursday.

REP. POMPEO: DON'T LET SNOWDEN SPEAK AT SXSW: The Kansas Republican asked event organizers to reconsider allowing Snowden to talk via video chat, saying his "appearance would stamp the imprimatur of your fine organization on a man who ill deserves such accolades."

ASSANGE WARNS OF NEAR-UNIVERSAL INTERNET SPYING: The Wikileaks founder told SXSW governments will soon be able to snoop on everyone on the planet. (Liz Gannes, Recode)

SOFTBANK HEAD OFFERS NEW APPROACH FOR SPRINT: WSJ explores Masayoshi Son's management style as he takes Sprint in a new direction. (Mayumi Negishi/Ryan Knutson, WSJ)

FTC: SECURITY COMPANY ADT FAILED TO DISCLOSE PAID ENDORSEMENTS: "Independent experts" were paid six figures to promote products. (Katy Bachman, AdWeek)

BIG CHANGES IN STORE FOR MEXICAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Mexico has a new telecom regulator that is preparing to crack down on two of the country's biggest companies. (Elisabeth Malkin, NYT)

THE APPS OF THE FUTURE WILL BE POWERED BY BITCOIN CODE: The innovating platform hosting Bitcoin, known as "blockchain," will be more transformative than the digital currency itself. (Primavera de Filippi, Wired)

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Love it - first thing I read in the morning."

Amy, VP of Communications

I read the Tech Edge every morning."

Ashley, Senior Media Associate

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