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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

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Brian Fung

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 03:45 PM ET, 08/10/2012

Pentagon proposes stronger role for cyber-specialists #thecircuit

Pentagon proposes strong cyber-specialist role: The Pentagon has proposed granting permission to military cyber-specialists to take action outside its U.S. networks and defend critical U.S. computer systems from cyber attacks.

As The Washington Post reported, the proposal would set a significant precedent, which one senior defense official speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Post would “give more flexibility in defending the nation from cyberattack.” The new rules would allow the CyberCommand to take defensive action in a foreign country if reliable intelligence indicates an imminent threat that could have serious consequences for the country. Pentagon and other officials told The Post that such military action is meant to be taken only in extreme emergencies and with great care.

FTC finalizes Facebook settlement: The Federal Trade Commission Friday finalized a settlement with Facebook that was first proposed in November 2011.

On Friday, the FTC announced its commissioners approved the final settlement with a vote of 3-1-1. Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch submitted a dissenting opinion on the matter; Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen did not participate in the vote.

In his dissent, Rosch raised two points: whether the commission should change its process to keep defendants from denying charges — as Facebook has — and whether the settlement applies to apps hosted within Facebook.

Researchers launch tool to find Gauss: After announcing the discovery of a new malicious software that targets financial data, researchers have created new, Web-based tools that let anyone check if they’ve been infected.

The new malware, Gauss, shows ties to previous state-sponsored viruses Flame and Stuxnet, but targets financial data. Those viruses were aimed at computers tied to Iran’s nuclear program; Gauss is primarily found in Lebanon.

Two groups — Russian-based Kaspersky Labs, which first published information on Gauss and Flame, and the Hungarian research lab Crysys— are detecting the malware by looking for a font that shows up on infected machines called Palida Narrow.

Roel Schouwenberg, senior researcher at Kaspersky Labs, said that researchers still don’t know why Gauss’s creators included the font file.

“We checked the code, there’s nothing in there,” he said. “It’s strange that they would go to the extent of building a font file.”

Markey releases draft legislation on cellphone requests: Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), The Hill reported, has released a discussion draft of legislation that would require enforcement officials to provide regular updates on requests for data from wireless carriers and would require officials to get search warrants before using geolocation tracking.

“With searches and seizures now happening in cyberspace, this legislation will update the Fourth Amendment for the 21st century. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this critical legislation,” Markey said in a release to The Hill.

Google takes on piracy through search: Google announced that copyright requests will now play a part in its search algorithm, punishing Web sites that garner repeated copyright violation complaints from its users.

In a company blog post, Google said that it will begin taking valid copyright removal notices into account in its ranking algorithm, in order to direct users to “legitimate quality sources of content more easily.”

By  |  03:45 PM ET, 08/10/2012

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