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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.

Post Tech
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Posted at 08:43 AM ET, 06/29/2011

The Circuit: Commerce Committee on privacy, data security; Facebook Credits; Google social network

LEADING THE DAY: The Senate Commerce Committee turns its attention to privacy and data security Wednesday, examining how companies collect and secure personal information. FTC Commissioner Julie Brill, Commerce Department general counsel Cameron Kerry and FCC general counsel Austin Schlick are among those speaking before the panel, as are representatives from Hewlett-Packard, Sony and Consumers Union.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that a poll conducted by the Consumers Union found that eight of 10 Internet users want the government to take a more active role in protecting their privacy online. Ioana Rusu, regulatory counsel for Consumers Union, said that “very few people would agree that every piece of information they transmit should be available to everyone, for any conceivable purpose.”

In an interview, Hewlett-Packard’s chief privacy officer, Scott Taylor, said that companies must provide their customers with clear information about what consumer data a company collects and choices about how it is used. He will advocate for federal privacy legislation in his remarks to the committee today.

Facebook Credits stirs antitrust complaint: Facebook’s new in-network payment system, Facebook Credits, goes into effect on Friday, making the digital currency the only one allowed for use on the site. Under the new system, all Facebook applications and games that rely on in-game purchases must use Facebook Credits and give the social network a 30 percent cut, The Washington Post reported.

That restriction has prompted Consumer Watchdog to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission accusing the social network of “anti-competitive tactics.” Although the government is already taking a close look at antitrust concerns with Google and Apple, it’s not yet clear whether the FTC will take any action against Facebook.

Google launches Google +: Taking another chance on social networking, Google debuted its new social project, Google +, on Tuesday. The network pulls together several aspects of existing social networks and bears a striking resemblance to its main competitor, Facebook.

The network has five basic components: friend groups, a news feed, group video chat, photo and video sharing and group mobile chat. Users must have a Google profile, requiring, at minimum, a name and a photo.

Lawyers drop Facebook ownership suit: Paul Ceglia, the man who claims that Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised him part-ownership of Facebook, has lost his influential legal counsel, prompting speculation that Facebook’s claim that his evidence is forged might be true, CNET reported.

In a statement to CNET, Ceglia’s former law firm DLA Piper confirmed that it had withdrawn from the case.

Iowa woman questioned by FBI over LulzSec: An Iowa woman was questioned last week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about time she spent associating with the hacker group LulzSec, Gawker reported Wednesday.

According to the report, Laurelai Bailey of Davenport, Iowa, was questioned at her home last Thursday by FBI agents who told her they were investigating the February attack against security firm HBGary. Bailey said she has never been a member of Anonymous or LulzSec but has leaked chat logs from conversations she had with hackers in those groups.

Zynga expected to file for IPO: Zynga, the social gaming juggernaut, might be filing for its initial public offering as early as Wednesday, CNBC’s Kate Kelly reported. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” The Wall Street Journal said the company could be valued somewhere between $15 billion and $20 billion.

The company has reportedly picked Morgan Stanley to lead the offering. A spokesman from Zynga declined to comment.

Blackburn, IAB lead privacy roundtable: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau will hold a roundtable Wednesday to discuss the tech industry’s efforts and best practices on privacy. Blackburn said she is interested to hear how the industry and the government can work together to promote business growth while protecting consumers. “Online commerce is reaching a tipping point as consumers become more and more concerned about their private data,” Blackburn said in a statement. “I hope to hear how the tech industry is approaching this problem, what Washington can do to help, and where Washington needs to get out of the way.”

By  |  08:43 AM ET, 06/29/2011

Tags:  Privacy, Zynga, Facebook, Security, FBI, Google, Privacy

 
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