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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.

Post Tech
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Posted at 09:26 AM ET, 07/07/2011

The Circuit: DOJ’s Christine Varney to step down; Obama’s Twitter town hall; Washington Post Jobs site hacked

LEADING THE DAY: Obama’s top antitrust regulator, Christine Varney, will step down from her post next month, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday. The Washington Post reported that Varney will take a senior position at the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, leaving many disappointed about her tenure at Justice. Varney came into office promising to launch cases against companies such as Google, but is being criticized as too soft on many of the country’s largest firms.

Cravath represented United Airlines in its merger with Continental, a deal Varney’s antitrust department at Justice approved last summer.

Twitter town hall: President Obama did very little tweeting at Wednesday’s Twitter town hall, The Washington Post reported, though he did make a rare admission of a misstep on housing policy. After saying that the decline in the housing market hadn’t “bottomed out as quickly” as expected, he said the administration was not doing enough to help homeowners.

The president left the work of paring his verbal replies to Twitter’s 140-charater limit to his staff. Hot topics at the town hall included housing, jobs, the economy and education.

Washington Post jobs site hacked: The Washington Post’s jobs site was hacked last week, exposing at least 1.3 million user IDs and e-mail address, The Post reported. No passwords or personal data were taken, and The Post said user accounts remain secure. The information was taken in an attack on June 27 and June 28.

When asked about the delay in notifying users, spokeswoman Kris Coratti said The Post decided to first investigate the breach, retest the site’s security and report the attack to law enforcement officials before notifying users. Those who subscribe to jobs site should be on the lookout for spam phishing attacks, The Post said.

Hulu — still on the market -- close to 1 million in paid subscribers: Hulu chief executive Jason Kilar said the site is expected to have 1 million paid subscribers for its premium service by the end of the summer, Reuters reported.

Despite that success, Disney chief executive Robert Iger said that the owners of the online streaming site are “committed to selling” the service, the Wall Street Journal reported. Potential buyers include Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, as well as U.S.- and foreign-based television distributors, the report said.

Walt Disney Corp., News Corp and NBC-Universal run Hulu as a joint venture. Business Insider reported that a source close to Hulu said that Kilar is no longer under contract with the company but will stay on until he is replaced or the company is sold.

Apple loses Amazon injunction: Apple lost its bid for an injunction against Amazon for the online retailer’s use of the phrase “Appstore,” CNET reported Thursday. Judge Phyllis Hamilton of U.S. District Court in Northern California said that Apple had not established that Amazon’s use of the phrase would confuse customers. Hamilton, however, also disagreed with Amazon’s claim that the term is completely generic, saying Apple had clearly spent time investing in the term and that the Apple’s App Store is a recognizable mark.

Facebook adds Skype calls: Facebook chief executive and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social network would integrate video calling from Skype into user profiles, The Washington Post reported. The service is free and requires an in-network download. Skype chief executive Tony Bates said that paid Skype services may eventually be offered through the network.

Addressing Google + for the first time publicly, Zuckerberg said that the rival network’s launch is a “validation” of social networking as a platform. Zuckerberg also confirmed that Facebook now has at least 750 million users.

By  |  09:26 AM ET, 07/07/2011

Tags:  Facebook, Apple, Amazon, IP, Hulu, Security, Twitter, Antitrust, DOJ

 
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