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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 05:53 PM ET, 06/25/2012

T-Mobile, Verizon announce spectrum deal #thecircuit

T-Mobile, Verizon announce spectrum deal: T-Mobile announced Monday that it is submitting an application to the Federal Communications Commission to purchase spectrum from Verizon in 218 markets, including Washington D.C. The deal would cover 60 million people, the company said, including those in major metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia.

Access to spectrum was a key driver of T-Mobile's push to be acquired by AT&T, and the company has been building out its 4G LTE network. Some of the spectrum in the T-Mobile deal is not yet in Verizon's hands, however. Some of it is tied up in the pending Verizon-SpectrumCo spectrum swap — deals between Verizon and cable companies for spectrum and cross-licensing, which have drawn some criticism from those who see it as anti-competitive.

In exchange for the spectrum it gets from Verizon, T-Mobile will hand over some spectrum to make contiguous blocks for both companies. T-Mobile is also paying an as-yet-unspecified amount for the deal.

Court case could have bearing on privacy suits: The Supreme Court could rule soon on First American vs. Edwards, which is being watched by technology companies and privacy advocates. The case, a dispute over the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, evaluates whether it is constitutional for someone to sue a company for a policy violation if there is no proof of harm. Facebook, Zynga and others filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court urging it to overturn lower court rulings that upheld the right to sue, saying that allowing no-harm cases could be harmful to their businesses if users were allowed to sue for privacy policy violations.

“Allowing plaintiffs to file such no-injury class-action lawsuits could subject businesses such as amici to damages demands that, at least on their face, would be potentially bankrupting,” the companies said in a brief. The Electronic Privacy Information Center, in turn, filed an amicus brief saying that the right to action is important for privacy cases, “not only because of the difficulty in quantifying harm in privacy cases but also because of the problems associated with establishing a causal link between poor data security practices and the injuries, such as identity theft and financial fraud, that result.”

DOJ, Apple suit heads to trial in June 2013: The Justice Department’s price-fixing lawsuit against e-book publishers and Apple will go to trial in June 2013, setting up a long legal struggle sure to reverberate across the nascent digital publishing market. The Washington Post reported that Apple has maintained that it did no wrong and argued to a federal judge last Friday that it wants a speedy trial to defend itself. The Silicon Valley giant is joined by McMillan and Penguin Group in fighting Justice’s suit.

HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group settled with Justice last April. The Justice Department alleges that Apple colluded with publishers to set prices higher than they were being offered on’s site; others say that Apple’s model was all that kept the e-book market from becoming a monopoly.

U.S. Judge Denise Cote set a trial date of June 3, 2013 — which she said was a compromise. Justice had requested that the trial begin near the end of 2013.The one-year stretch could advance Amazon’s lead, rivals and authors’ groups have complained.

Sheryl Sandberg named to Facebook board: The social network’s chief operating officer will also become the first woman to join its board of directors.

In a statement, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said, “Her understanding of our mission and long-term opportunity, and her experience both at Facebook and on public company boards, makes her a natural fit for our board.”

The Associated Press notes that Facebook has received criticism recently for the fact that its board of directors did not include any women.

Prior to her work in Silicon Valley with Facebook, and before that, Google, Sandberg worked in Washington during the Clinton administration as Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers’s chief of staff.

By  |  05:53 PM ET, 06/25/2012

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