Privacy groups and Facebook: In a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, presidents from the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy asked the executive to withdraw the changes Facebook made to its data use policy last week.
The changes, which eliminate a voting mechanism that allowed users to weigh in on possible changes and make some changes to the data use rules for messages and advertisements, were announced on Nov. 21.
EPIC President Marc Rotenberg and CDD President Jeff Chester also sent the letter to the chairman and commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission, the president of the National Association of Attorneys General and top members of the Senate and House committees with jurisdiction over technology privacy matters.
ECPA: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released the latest version of changes to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which would update the 1986 law to address new technology such as e-mail and social media messages.
Contrary to earlier reports, the draft bill still includes strong privacy protections for e-mail and does not include exceptions for government investigations. The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on the bill this Thursday at a mark-up hearing.
USPTO director to step down: The United States Patent and Trademark Office confirmed Monday that Director David Kappos will leave the office in January. The Hill reported that Kappos joined the government in 2009, and was a proponent of changing the patent system to “first-to-file” rather than “first-to-invent” through the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. The act was signed into law last year.
CyberCity: The U.S. government has constructed a cyber city with infrastructure, free WiFi networks and social networking to simulate what would happen in the event of a major cyberattack. As The Washington Post reported, the mock town is used to help train military personnel to defend against cyber attacks on its critical infrastructure.
Exercises in the CyberCity have exposed weaknesses with several systems, including in social networks and in the health-care industry.