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The New Chief Cyberwarrior, And What’s Really Stopping Robot Cars

Welcome to the first edition of National Journal's Tech Edge, a morning tipsheet 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 http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech-edge

By Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)

 

TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The NSA has a new chief-in-waiting, as President Obama has reportedly settled on Vice Adm. Michael Rogers to lead the embattled spy agency when current head Keith Alexander steps down in March. Rogers will lead the NSA while Obama oversees a paring back of some of its authority, but his proposed reforms do little to address the program's legal challenges. Elsewhere, the tech world gets a closer look at Republican FCC commissioner Michael O'Rielly today when he delivers his debut speech, and another retail chain is looking into a massive data breach. AT&T denied speculation it was looking to place a takeover bid on Vodafone, Samsung and Apple struck a patent deal, and the cars of the future are coming--but it's looking like Congress will keep them parked through the road rules of the past.

TOP NEWS

OBAMA OKs ROGERS AS NEW NSA DIRECTOR: The president has reportedly given the go ahead for Vice Adm. Michael Rogers to replace Keith Alexander as NSA and Cyber Command chief. Alexander retires on March 14. (Ellen Nakashima, WaPo) → Who is Michael Rogers? Catch up with his official bio.

NSA'S LEGAL WOES: President Obama's reforms to the NSA haven't solved his administration's legal problems. Privacy groups say changes to the agency's bulk data collection aren't enough to derail their lawsuits, which are working their way through the federal courts. (Brendan Sasso, NJ)

 

AT&T QUIETS VODAFONE SPECULATION: The telecom giant said Monday it has no intention of making an offer to the British company. And thanks to U.K. rules, AT&T is now barred from placing a takeover bid for six months. Vodafone's shares dropped more than 5 percent early trading. (Costas Paris, WSJ)

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DATA BREACH: Arts and crafts chain Michaels appears to be the latest retailer hit by hackers, admitting Saturday that it is working with federal law enforcement to determine whether customer credit card numbers have been stolen. "While we have not confirmed a compromise to our systems, we believe it is in the best interest of our customers to alert them to this potential issue so they can take steps to protect themselves," Chuck Rubin, the company's CEO, said in a statement. (Nicole Perlroth, NYT)

For those counting, the data heist on Michaels, a Texas-based chain operating more than 1,000 stores in North America, would be the third large retailer--following Target and Neiman Marcus--to fess up to a large breach in recent months after security blogger and former WaPo reporter Brian Krebs first sounded the alarms.

O'RIELLY TALKS TELECOM POLICY: O'Rielly, a former aide to Texas Sen. John Cornyn and other GOP lawmakers, rubbed some Dems rough at his confirmation hearing last year for declaring he would "stand strong for freedom," which some took as extreme libertarian doublespeak. So far, however, O'Rielly has yet to cause major waves at the FCC, focusing instead on vanilla issues like the dangers of driving while using mobile devices. His remarks expected at noon. Occupy your lunch hour with the livestream: www.hudson.org/WatchLive.

 

GOOGLE, SAMSUNG STRIKE PATENT DEAL: Google and Samsung agreed on Sunday to cross-license many of their existing patents, as well as new ones filed over the next 10 years. The two companies have been at the center of the "smartphone patent wars," but have generally fought on the same side against Apple. (Samsung)

CONGRESS IS KEEPING FLYING CARS GROUNDED: Smart cars, at least. And the future won't be nearly as fun because of it. (Alex Brown, NJ)

DOJ BRINGS FIRST CASE ON APP PIRACY: The Justice Department accused four people on Friday of distributing more than a million pirated copies of mobile apps for Android devices. (DoJ)

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

I read the Tech Edge every morning."

Ashley, Senior Media Associate

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THE WEEK AHEAD

Tuesday: President Obama delivers the State of the Union. Techies and policy wonks will convene at the ​day-long ​State of the Net conference, with appearances by Tom Wheeler, Penny Pritzker, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, and Sens. John Thune and Rand Paul.

Wednesday: Eric Holder will testify before the Senate Judiciary committee oversight hearing at 10:00 a.m., while James Clapper testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee's annual worldwide threats hearing.

Thursday: The FCC will vote on whether to move ahead with experiments for the IP transition and get an update on plans for the incentive auction during its open commission meeting at 10:30 a.m.

TOP LINES

GOOGLE IS INVESTING IN ROBOTS: By shelling out $400 million to buy U.K.-based artificial intelligence startup DeepMind. (Liz Gannes, Re/code)

SNOWDEN LAWYER: PLEA DEAL OFF THE TABLE: Snowden is convinced the government wants to kill him as one of his legal advisors shot down any suggestion that the fugitive leaker would agree to a deal with the U.S. government. (Meredith Clark, MSNBC)

TIM COOK ON NSA: 'MUCH OF WHAT HAS BEEN SAID ISN'T TRUE': Cook again clamored for increased leeway for tech companies to divulge more about the government's data requests and denied that the NSA taps directly into Apple's servers. (ABCNews)

CYBERSECURITY RESEARCHERS BLAST NSA: "Indiscriminate collection, storage, and processing of unprecedented amounts of personal information chill free speech and invite many types of abuse, ranging from mission creep to identity theft," the researchers opined Friday in an open letter.

A US FOXCONN PLANT?: The chairman of Foxconn said he is looking into building a display manufacturing plant in the United States. The Taiwanese firm, which assembles iPads, iPhones and other devices, has come under fire for its labor practices in Asia. (Lorraine Luk, WSJ)

E IS FOR E-RATE: FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel visited Sesame Street's New York studios Friday to talk about E-Rate and digital opportunities in education.

THE IRS DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO TAX BITCOIN: Virtual currencies are exploding, but so far the agency has little guidance on how they should be taxed. (Catherine Hollander, NJ)

HOLY GRAIL OF ONLINE COURT RECORDS GOES DOWN: Choose your news: either a malicious hack or technical problems brought down PACER and other sites belonging to the federal courts late Friday.

HOW .CO BECAME THE HIPPEST DOMAIN NAME: Clever marketing made the Colombian internet address the darling of startups. (Leo Mirani, Quartz)

UBER POACHING ATTEMPT BACKFIRES: The ride-sharing service's campaign against New York rival Gett has only given more media exposure to the little-known little guy--and made Uber look like an oversized schoolyard bully. (Salvador Rodriguez, LATimes)

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

I read the Tech Edge every morning."

Ashley, Senior Media Associate

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