Overnight Tech: Microsoft battles US on warrant powers

LEDE: The federal government will face off Wednesday against Microsoft in a case that could determine the reach of a U.S. warrant to access data stored overseas.

Microsoft is fighting a government warrant demanding it turn over a user's email account stored at a data center in Dublin, Ireland -- in a case that has broader implications for the emerging business of cloud storage.

Both sides will have a final chance to plead their case on Wednesday morning during oral arguments at the U.S. Appeals Court for the Second Circuit in New York. The case will be heard by three Obama appointees: Judge Gerard Lynch, Judge Susan Carney and Connecticut District Judge Victor Bolden.

Microsoft argues the authors of the 1986 law guiding government access to electronic communication could not have anticipated today's model for data storage in foreign countries, and the courts should not be in the business of rewriting law. The government, however, argues that the case should not turn on where the information is stored. Instead, it should focus on the fact that Microsoft is a U.S.-based company under the government's jurisdiction.

The technology industry is rallying behind Microsoft. Companies like Amazon, Apple, Cisco, HP, eBay, and Salesforce, as well as news organizations like CNN, Fox News, NPR and The Washington Post have filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Microsoft's side. The company has also pushed a public relations and lobbying campaign to get Congress to settle the issue outside the courts with an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

DRUG COMPANIES PUSH FOR PATENT CARVE-OUT: Stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry on Tuesday continued to press their case for a carve-out in patent reform legislation, as Congress returns after a month-long break. During an event at the American Enterprise Institute, officials with Johnson & Johnson and OncoMed Pharmaceuticals argued they are facing their own sort of "patent trolls" who have attempted to short pharmaceutical stocks while challenging drug patents through the trial-like reviews at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The industry is a major stakeholder in the patent debate, which has largely focused on the separate issue of patent litigation procedures in the court system. But the industry has demanded that Congress tackle the separate issue involving the U.S. PTO reviews, which drug companies argue skew too far against patent holders. Tech advocates, however, have been wary of granting those concessions.

VERIZON TO TEST 5G WITHIN NEXT YEAR: CNET reports that Verizon will begin testing 5G wireless technology within the next year. The company expects "some level of commercial deployment" by 2017. Verizon's tests have found that their 5G technology is 50 times more speedy than the 4G network.

...AND CALLS FOR CONGRESS TO ACT FAST ON SPECTRUM: "We need Congress to act quickly because a Congressional mandate for more spectrum is just the first step in what can be as long as an 8 to 13-year process to bring spectrum to market," said David Young, the company's vice president for public policy, in a blog post. The comments come amid speculation about when lawmakers might introduce a bill to free up spectrum controlled by the government.

UBER CEO GOES ON A MINI-MEDIA BLITZ: Travis Kalanick, the divisive leader of ride-hailing behemoth Uber, is the subject of a profile in "Fast Company" with the cover line "Admit it. You love Uber." He'll follow that up with an appearance on the "Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on Thursday, the same day Vice President Biden stops by the program. All of this comes after the company closed a reported $1.2 billion fundraising round for its Chinese arm.

MARK ZUCKERBERG COVERS 'VANITY FAIR': Elsewhere on the magazine cover beat, an Annie Leibovitz shot of the Facebook mogul appears on the cover of the magazine's October issue (September was Taylor Swift) in connection with their "New Establishment" list. Zuckerberg tops the annual feature, which also includes his colleague Sheryl Sandberg (No. 9) and a myriad of tech figures like Uber's Travis Kalanick (No. 2) and venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz (No. 16).

PELOSI ADVISES GOP TO MOVE LEFT ON TECH ISSUES: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it is fine that Republicans are increasingly courting tech donors. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, she hopes the party would be more progressive on issues like tax policy, education and respect for science -- all issues important to the industry.

"Whatever they do politically is one thing. I would like to see a commensurate interest in the tech and science community when it comes to policy in Washington, D.C," she told Bloomberg in an interview published Tuesday.



At noon, the Software & Information Industry Association hosts an event on patent reform with remarks from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteGOP chairman threatens subpoena for FBI records on Clinton probe Dem leaders pull back from hard-line immigration demand Goodlatte's immigration reform bill has room for compromise MORE.

At 12:40 p.m. ET, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler keynotes CTIA's trade show in Las Vegas. You can stream the speech here.



Tech firms are courting campaigns ahead of the 2016 presidential election, where budgets for digital advertising are expected to reach new highs.

The antivirus software pioneer John McAfee on Tuesday filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for president.

The United States and the European Union have finalized negotiations on a privacy agreement on law enforcement information shared between countries.

Databases used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which were supposed to be back online Tuesday, will instead be down through Thursday while undergoing upgrades, the agency says.

The CEO of Uber, the ride-hailing service that just closed a $1.2 billion fundraising round in China, says the company plans to expand to 100 more cities in the country within the year.


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