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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.

Brian Fung

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 02:44 PM ET, 03/27/2013

The Circuit: Digital activists decry draft of computer bill

Digital activists speak out against draft computer crimes bill: Digital activists — particularly those who called for computer crimes reform after the death of activist Aaron Swartz — spoke out against a draft proposal of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act under discussion in the House Judiciary Committee.

Demand Progress, which Swartz helped to found, said that the proposal would make the bill more strict and impose stiffer penalties on those who break the law. Swartz, who was found dead of an apparent suicide in January, had been charged under the CFAA for downloading hundreds of articles from an academic database.

“This is a slap on the face to everybody who’s demanded reform of our laws and of law enforcement in light of Aaron’s prosecution and passing,” said David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress. “It's up to all of us to make it clear that Department of Justice (DOJ) is overplaying its hand and ensure that this proposal is defeated.”

Groups weigh in on who should lead FCC: Over 25 organizations wrote to Obama on Tuesday, urging him to appoint a strong public interest advocate to lead the agency, criticizing Genachowski’s tenure.

The administration, the groups said, “must recognize the severe mismanagement and lack of progress that occurred” under Genachowski’s leadership and urged the president to consider someone without strong ties to industry lobbying groups.

Public interest groups are not the only ones weighing in on who should succeed Genachowski.

In a letter dated last week, 37 senators, including Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), wrote to President Obama asking him to consider appointing current FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to take Genachowski’s place. Rosenworcel was confirmed to the commission in May, having served previously as legal adviser to former commissioner Michael Copps.

If appointed, Rosenworcel would be the first woman to hold the position. The letter points to her expertise and experience in the world of telecommunications and media policy and notes she had strong bipartisan support during her confirmation hearings.

NYTimes editorial supports online sales tax: In an editorial, The New York Times’s editorial board supported a bill that would allow states to require online retailers to collect sales taxes.

The piece argues that exempting online retailers from collecting sales taxes in places where they do not have a physical presence give these online retailers an “unfair advantage” over brick-and-mortar stores.

Last week, the Senate voted to approve an amendment that supports an Internet sales tax, which indicates strong support for a bill that would impose those taxes, the Marketplace Fairness Act.

Zuckerberg plans to start political group: Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, is reportedly planning to start his own political group that would push for legislative reform. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal citing “people familiar with the situation,” Zuckerberg is beginning to “co-organize” a group of technology leaders who would speak up on a variety of issues such as immigration and education.

According to the report, the group does not yet have a name but has plans to raise $50 million and register as a nonprofit 501(c)(4) social welfare organization.

By  |  02:44 PM ET, 03/27/2013

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