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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 01:32 PM ET, 02/14/2012

The Circuit: Cybersecurity, LightSquared, Nortel

Cybersecurity bill: The Senate unveiled new comprehensive cybersecurity legislation Tuesday that would require the Department of Homeland Security to determine which infrastructure systems should be required to meet a set of security standards, grant owners and operators of these systems the right to appeal that designation and consolidate cybersecurity programs under a unified office called the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications.

The bill’s backers, Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) stressed that the bill does not include provisions similar to the Stop Online Piracy Act or the Protect IP (Intellectual Property) Act, which aimed to regulate online piracy.

The bill also does not include emergency authorities for the president or a White House cybersecurity office.

LightSquared opposes public disclosure: LightSquared has objected to the disclosure of filings the company made with the Federal Communications Commission, the Hill reported, asking that the agency release redacted versions of the filings or decline to release them altogether.

Investment firm Harbinger Capital and LightSquared have said that those filings contain business information that is not subject to disclosure, the report said.

Hackers breach Nortel networks: Hackers working from China have reportedly had access to Nortel’s networks since breaching the telecommunication company’s networks as far back as 2000. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, hackers stole seven passwords from Nortel’s top executives, granting them access to reports, business plans, employee e-mails and other documents.

Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy in 2009, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the story.

DOJ approves Google-Motorola Mobility merger: U.S. and European antitrust officials approved Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility on Monday, The Washington Post reported. The move clears the way for the search giant to manufacture its own phones and gain a much bigger patent portfolio.

The $12.5 billion purchase was approved without conditions, but officials expressed concern that Google could use its patents to hurt competitors, especially as the world’s most powerful tech firms increasingly sue one another over intellectual property infringement.

“This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices,” E.U. Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters Monday, according to Reuters. “This is our worry.”

Budget: The Obama budget comes with cuts for spending in U.S. technology, Bloomberg reports, with a 1.2 percent decline in spending on information technology. The budget also includes a plan for $10 billion to be spent on building the interoperable public safety network for emergency workers, and the budget proposes the cost would be offset by spectrum auctions.

The budget also comes with the proposal to increase spending to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, The Washington Post reports, to improve patent processing and the quality of patents overall.

Next iPad to reportedly have 4G capability: The Wall Street Journal backed up an oft-repeated rumor that the next iPad will come with 4G LTE connectivity. The Journal’s report cites the usual “people familiar with the matter,” who say that Verizon and AT&T will be selling the 4G tablets.

The ability to connect to 4G networks is one of the biggest wish-list items for iPad buyers, though including that capability would likely cut into the iPad’s battery life. It would also, the report notes, put a greater burden on wireless carriers who say that their networks already have trouble handling heavy data use.

By  |  01:32 PM ET, 02/14/2012

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