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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 06:12 PM ET, 06/05/2012

The Circuit: Cybersecurity, Facebook and kids, special access

Cybersecurity exercise: President Obama and other senior officials participated in a simulated cyber attack Tuesday, the Hill reported. The exercise, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency looked at how the government would react to an attack on the nation’s critical infrastructure — in this case, the New York City electrical grid.

Utilities and other systems have been shown to be vulnerable to cyber attacks in the past, The Washington Post reported, and the government has been concentrating on efforts to better protect critical infrastructure.

Facebook and kids: Facebook is mulling lowering the age restrictions for its network, to allow children under the age of 13 to join. Facebook said it hasn’t made any final decisions on its plans for children, The Washington Post reported, but it points to what it describes as a problem: Millions of underage kids are on its site already. A report funded by Microsoft recently showed that parents are often helping their children set up Facebook accounts.

Experts say it’s hard to determine if parents would be more willing to let their children under 13 sign up if Facebook changed its age rules. But the numbers offer financial promise for the social networking giant, The Post reported.

Special access reform: The Federal Communications Commission has circulated an order that would suspend the current pricing flexibility rules for telecommunications companies buying and selling access to the infrastructure that connects cell towers and data — called “special access” — until a new pricing framework can be put into place.

Sprint’s Charles McKee, vice president for government affairs, praised the decision, saying that it is an “important first step of regulatory reform, which will spark business investment and job creation, at a time when our country needs both.”

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) also approved of the move, saying that the rules up to this point “ have not functioned in a manner that promotes competition in the wireline and wireless markets in this country.”

The future of television?: The video game industry is putting forth its vision for the future of television at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this week, by continuing to build out the non-game content that users can access through their consoles.

Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo now all support Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant video on their consoles — and are finding ways to make that content more mobile. Microsoft’s SmartGlass application, announced Monday, would put content from Xbox Live on any iOS, Android or Windows smartphone or tablet by way of an app.

Startup Act: A bipartisan group of representatives are prepared to introduce the Startup Act 2.0 on Wednesday, which would make it easier to grant visas to foreign-born entrepreneurs who have completed their education in the United States.

The act builds on the original Startup Act, introduced in December by Sens Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.).

By  |  06:12 PM ET, 06/05/2012

 
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