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Justice Department goes nuclear on Google in search warrant fight

Enlarge / Close-up of cables and LED lights in the data center of T-Systems, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG. (credit: Thomas Trutschel/Getty Images)

The Justice Department is demanding that a federal judge sanction Google for failing to abide by court orders to turn over data tied to 22 e-mail accounts. "Google's conduct here amounts to a willful and contemptuous disregard of various court orders," the government wrote (PDF) in a legal filing to US District Judge Richard Seeborg of California.

The government added in its Wednesday brief:

Google is entitled to have its own view of the law and to press that view before a court of competent jurisdiction. However, when faced with a valid court order, Google, like any other person or entity, must either comply with such an order or face consequences severe enough to deter willful noncompliance. The issue before this court is what sanction is sufficient to achieve that goal.

Google said it wasn't complying with the order because it was on appeal. Google also said it was following precedent from a New York-based federal appellate court that ruled Microsoft doesn't have to comply with a valid US warrant for data if the information is stored on overseas servers. Google is appealing the California warrant to the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on the same grounds. However, neither Seeborg nor the 9th Circuit is bound by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals' decision— which the government has appealed to the US Supreme Court. (The US circuit courts of appeal are not bound to follow rulings by their sister circuits, but they all must obey precedent from the Supreme Court.)

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In spectacular fail, Adobe security team posts private PGP key on blog

Enlarge / Um, yes, that was Adobe PSIRT's private PGP key on their website. Best get their new public key.

Having some transparency about security problems with software is great, but Adobe's Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) took that transparency a little too far today when a member of the team posted the PGP keys for PSIRT's e-mail account—both the public and the private keys. The keys have since been taken down, and a new public key has been posted in its stead.

The faux pas was spotted at 1:49pm ET by security researcher Juho Nurminen:

Nurminen was able to confirm that the key was associated with the [email protected] e-mail account.

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Solar panel maker wins trade commission finding, tariff decision to go to Trump

Enlarge / An employee inspects photovoltaic cells following electrical contact soldering during manufacture at Solarworld AG in Freiberg, Germany, in July 2016. (credit: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

On Friday, the International Trade Commission (ITC) sided with bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Suniva, voting 4-0 that cheap imported solar panels and modules have harmed domestic panel manufacturers.

The commission now has until November to send recommendations on remedies to President Trump, who will be responsible for either setting a tariff on imported solar materials or finding some other remedy. Given Trump’s promises to bolster American manufacturing, it’s likely that he’ll favor restrictions on solar panel imports.

The case is unique in that it has caused a considerable rift in the solar industry, with manufacturers on one side and installers on the other. Installers fought against Suniva’s bid for tariffs, saying that cheap imported panels have been a primary driver of the solar industry’s recent boom. Other solar installers have claimed that Suniva’s money woes were the result of mismanagement and poor products, not foreign imports.

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Verizon backtracks—but only slightly—in plan to kick customers off network

Enlarge (credit: Verizon)

Verizon Wireless is giving a reprieve to some rural customers who are scheduled to be booted off their service plans, but only in cases when customers have no other options for cellular service.

Verizon recently notified 8,500 customers in 13 states that they will be disconnected on October 17 because they used roaming data on another network. But these customers weren't doing anything wrong—they are being served by rural networks that were set up for the purpose of extending Verizon's reach into rural areas.

As Verizon explained in 2015, the company set up its LTE in Rural America (LRA) program to provide technical support and resources to 21 rural wireless carriers to help them build 4G networks. Verizon benefited by being able to reach more customers in sparsely populated areas. Customers with these plans don't even see roaming indicators on their phones, as it appears that they're on the Verizon network.

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Report: T-Mobile, Sprint finally figuring out this merger thing

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T-Mobile USA and Sprint are getting further along in merger talks and are "close to agreeing [to] tentative terms on a deal," Reuters reported today, citing anonymous sources.

A merger would join the third and fourth largest wireless carriers in the US, leaving the country with three major nationwide carriers including Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

Sprint owner SoftBank of Japan would "own 40 to 50 percent of the combined company, while T-Mobile majority owner Deutsche Telekom will own a majority stake, two of the sources said," according to Reuters. A deal is expected by the end of October if the negotiations don't fall through, the report said.

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