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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

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, the American Prospect and Nonprofit Quarterly. Follow Brian on Google+ .

Andrea Peterson

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 12:42 PM ET, 06/17/2013

The Circuit: Apple offers information on data requests

Apple requests: Apple has released information on how many data requests it receives from U.S. law enforcement, as it joins Facebook, Microsoft and others in pushing for looser restrictions on what tech companies can share with their customers.

The effort comes in the wake of reports that the National Security Administration has a wide-ranging surveillance program that analyzes consumer information from companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

According to the statement, Apple said it has recently been authorized to reveal that it has received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from federal, state and local U.S. authorities for customer data between Dec. 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013. Those requests, the company said affected between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices. Apple said the company’s legal team reviews each request to see if it is appropriate.

Snowden answers questions on Guardian site: Edward Snowden, the source of the National Security Administration leaks that led to scrutiny about how the U.S. government reviews consumer data, answered questions live on The Guardian’s Web site.

In the discussion, Snowden answered submitted questions from Guardian readers about the programs he detailed in his leaks, his motivations and his reaction to the fallout from the disclosures.

Snowden said statements from companies, such as Google and Facebook — who have denied any knowledge of PRISM but have also called for the ability to release more information about requests they receive — increase transparency.

He also said that while companies are legally compelled not to comment on specific programs, that does not clear them of ethical obligations.

“If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the Intelligence Community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?” Snowden asked.

Facial recognition: State officials are increasingly using the facial records of more than 120 million people from databases meant to prevent drivers’ license fraud to identify suspects, The Washington Post reported.

Use of these databases, the report notes, blurs a traditional divide between criminal and non-criminal databases, and has prompted some backlash from legislators and privacy advocates, who wonder whether the law enforcement advantage comes at too high a cost to privacy.

Google stock split deal clears hurdle: Google has settled a lawsuit with investors protesting a planned stock split that they argue would give Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin more control over the company.

As Bloomberg reported, the settlement requires Google to provide advance warning of amendments of stock policies, and that moves that increase the voting control of Page and Brin trigger closer scrutiny.

Google proposed the controversial stock split last year, which would create a new class of non-voting stock and give all existing Google shareholders twice the number of shares as they had before.

By  |  12:42 PM ET, 06/17/2013

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