Governance

US sues Sprint for allegedly overcharging on wiretaps

Sprint has come under fire from the US government over claims that it tacked on excessive charges for court-ordered wiretaps.

The government filed a complaint against Sprint in US District Court in San Francisco on Monday. The complaint says that government agencies, like the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, were allegedly overcharged $21 million for wiretaps by Sprint.

"Sprint inflated its charges by approximately 58 percent," the complaint reads. "As a result of Sprint's false claims, the United States paid over $21 million in unallowable costs from January 1, 2007 to July 31, 2010." … Read more

Is Venezuela blocking the Internet amid violence?

In Venezuela, the government controls most of the television stations, so many residents turn to the Internet and social media for news. But, what happens when those get censored?

As the South American country has become engulfed in lethal protests and government crackdowns, it is said that the authorities have now started blocking the Internet -- especially in those states that have seen the most bloodshed.

Widespread student-led protests against President Nicolas Maduro's administration erupted last week. While the government is working to maintain its control of the country, the protesters are calling for Maduro's resignation due to … Read more

Twitter vows fight to disclose more government data requests

The US government is giving tech companies more freedom to disclose government data requests. But for Twitter, it's not enough.

In a blog posted Thursday, Jeremy Kessel, Twitter's manager for Global Legal Policy, said the company sees the current restrictions against disclosure as a violation of its First Amendment rights. As such, the microblogging site has been battling with the US government.

"We have pressed the US Department of Justice to allow greater transparency, and proposed future disclosures concerning national security requests that would be more meaningful to Twitter's users," Kessel said. "We are … Read more

Tumblr lets loose its first Transparency Report

In an effort to be fully open, Tumblr unveiled a Transparency Report on Monday that detailed all government requests for user data. This report shows that in 2013, the company received 462 requests and it gave the government data 76 percent of the time. Tumblr said that from now on it will publish these Transparency Reports twice a year.

"Consistent with our core principles, we'd like to shine some light on an issue that is deeply important to both our community and the greater public: government requests for user information," Tumblr wrote in a blog post. "… Read more

ICANN CEO sets off explosion of new Internet names (Q&A)

Starting next week, the Internet is going to look very different -- and ICANN Chief Executive Fadi Chehade is the one who'll get both the credit and the blame.

Today, Net addresses end with 22 familiar terms -- .com, .net, and .edu -- called generic top-level domains (GTLDs). But starting Feb. 4, the first of hundreds of new GTLDs will begin arriving -- .ninja, .farm, .shoes, .photography, .bike, .pink, and even .wtf.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization, oversees the domain-name expansion and the core Internet technology called the Domain Name System that … Read more

BlackBerry stock soars on word of Pentagon order

Like a cat, BlackBerry appears to have nine lives. Just as investors seemed to be writing off the struggling smartphone maker, it was reported by some media outlets that the company landed a massive US government contract and its share prices skyrocketed.

The US Department of Defense announced last week that over the coming year it would be bringing "new mobile capabilities to as many as 100,000 DOD users." The agency said that it "currently supports 1,800 unclassified mobile devices," including items like iPads, iPhones, Samsung 10.1 tablets, and Motorola Razr, and "… Read more

Carriers got 1M gov't, police requests for data in 2012

Requests for customer mobile phone data from federal, state, and local authorities topped 1 million last year, according to Senator Edward Markey.

The results were revealed Monday by the senator's office, which published letters received from the major US carriers in response to questions from Markey. The senator's questions touched on such topics as:

How many total requests did your company receive from law enforcement to provide information about your customers' phone usage? How long does your company retain records for law enforcement? How many of the requests did your company fulfill, and how many did it deny? … Read more

Huawei reportedly decides to abandon the US market

It's no secret that Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei and the US government aren't exactly best friends -- for the past couple of years, the US has accused Huawei of cyberespionage on behalf of the Chinese military.

It appears this spat may now have escalated into a full-fledged falling-out.

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei told French news site Les Echos last week that he no longer wanted to stay in the US market.

"If Huawei gets in the middle of US-China relations," and causes problems, "it's not worth it," Ren reportedly said, according to … Read more

The 404 1,366: Where we got these Oreos, man (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- "South Park" misses deadline for the first time in its history.

- Bad Lip Reading kills it with "Game of Thrones" mashup.

- There's no way that Oreos are as addictive as cocaine.

- 23andme: Testing your genetics at home.

- The best part of the government reopening: Pandacam is back.… Read more

Canadian government considers end to bundled cable channels

The Canadian government is trying to change the way cable providers offer their programming, according to a Reuters report.

Canada's industry minister announced on Sunday that cable and satellite television providers soon will be required to offer individual channels to customers, rather than bundles that force customers to pay for channels they don't watch, according to reportedReuters

.

The move flies in the face of how many cable and satellite providers offer their programming, which forces customers into packages that can include hundreds of channels. The Canadian government's idea is to allow customers to buy only the … Read more