ZDNetGovWeek: security-minded email hosts shut down, more surveillance, and inter-agency probing

Government intrusiveness is the story that won't go away. This week, two email providers who offer encrypted hosted email shut their doors citing either government intervention or the potential thereof. And, of course, there's more NSA. President Obama even steps in to say a few words.

ZDNet's worldwide team provides global 24/7 technology news and analysis. In addition to my own coverage analysis here in the ZDNet Government column and on ZDNet's DIY-IT, every week I'll bring you a selection of the best government-related articles posted by our intrepid reporters and analysts. Here are some of the most interesting from the last week.

Top stories this week

Are small-fry encrypted email ISPs using feds as excuse for closure?
ISPs and email hosting providers need to be willing to and plan for the need to work with government officials. Stay tuned on this story. I've got more coming in the next day or so.

Snowden's privacy-oriented email provider shuts down under U.S. government pressure
An American company that specialized in highly encrypted email suspended operations today. The abrupt shutdown of Lavabit, a small Texas-based company, is suspected to be related to a court order related to its best-known customer, NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Apple CEO, President Obama meet to discuss tech surveillance
Apple CEO Tim Cook, together with other tech chiefs, met with U.S. President Obama for a secret meeting to discuss technological surveillance.

DOJ probing claims U.S. drug agency 'collaborated' with NSA on intelligence
The U.S. Justice Dept. said it was "looking into the issues" raised by an Reuters story, that one of its law enforcement agencies collaborated with the NSA to crack down on alleged drug criminals.

Other government coverage around ZDNet

Mega to fill secure email gap left by Lavabit
Kim Dotcom's privacy company Mega prepares a 'cutting-edge' email encryption service.

White House calling for more review of gov't surveillance systems
The Obama administration has outlined four specific, but not "all-inclusive," steps designed to improve federal surveillance programs.

Google expands open patent pledge to 79 more about data center management
The Internet giant isn't alone in hoping to stifle the ever-growing number of patent-related lawsuits in the technology industry.

Microsoft to field a Cloud OS for government: Sources
Microsoft may be readying one or more versions of its Cloud OS tailored specifically for government customers.

Can Australia's digital spooks escape an NSA-level backlash?
Lavabit and Silent Circle's secure email services have been shut down as part of a generational-scale anti-surveillance pushback, but only US and UK agencies are under the microscope. Why not Australia?

A DEF CON postscript: Said the FBI agent to the taxi driver
While attending America's high-profile hacking and security conferences, Black Hat and DEF CON, a Vegas taxi driver tells Violet Blue his FBI fares want to blind hackers to "teach them a lesson."

Mr Burns gets IBM banned in Queensland
On this week's Technolatte podcast, the Australian team discusses IT pros and their workload woes, Queensland's IBM ban, and the first week of the federal election.

Linux desktop Trojan 'Hand of Thief' steals in
Desktop Linux must be growing more popular. Someone's finally created what appears to be a semi-successful Linux Trojan.

Rebellion simmers over US government restrictions on Apple publishing
Publishers are up in arms over tough new restrictions the U.S. government wants to impose on Apple following a ruling that the firm conspired to fix e-book prices.

Battlelines drawn in fair use debate
Copyright holders and technology companies are divided on whether Australia should adopt fair use exemptions in the Copyright Act.

NZ eyes keeping copper prices high to encourage fibre investment
The New Zealand government is proposing putting prices for services on par with fibre prices in order to encourage NZ telcos to invest in the new fibre network.

Cybersecurity incentive proposals from White House underwhelm
The security of critical infrastructure is clearly important, but don't expect much from the Federal Government's efforts to promote it.

Privatising intelligence gathering
PRISM, declining privacy, and lost accountability of government security agencies is the real cost of intelligence privatisation and security outsourcing.