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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 08:50 AM ET, 01/25/2012

The Circuit: European privacy rules, Google’s privacy changes, Facebook Timeline

LEADING THE DAY: The European Commission on Wednesday proposed new privacy rules that would place more responsibility on companies to protect user data. Those who breach user data can be fined up to 2 percent of their annual global turnover.

The BBC reported that the new rules include a “right to be forgotten” and will require that data breaches must be reported “as soon as possible.”

Many of the rules emphasize data portability and accessibility, trying to ensure that users have more control over their own information. They also require that companies with 250 or more employees appoint a data officer.

Facebook’s Sandberg warns about strict privacy rules: Ahead of the European Commission’s release of its privacy rules, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg warned that strict privacy rules could hurt innovation.

In a speech at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich, Sandberg said that the U.S. and Europe need to have “the right regulatory environment — a regulatory environment that promotes innovation and economic growth,” the New York Times reported.

Google’s privacy changes: Google announced Tuesday that it plans to follow the activities of users across nearly all of its ubiquitous sites, including YouTube, Gmail and its leading search engine, The Washington Post reported.

Google has already been collecting some of this information. But for the first time, it is combining data across its Web sites to stitch together a fuller portrait of users.Consumers won’t be able to opt out of the changes, which take effect March 1. And experts say the policy shift will invite greater scrutiny from federal regulators of the company’s privacy and competitive practices.

Facebook Timeline: Facebook said Wednesday that, as announced, it will require all users to transition to the Timeline format in the next few weeks, giving the social network’s users seven days to review their information before converting all of its users to the new format.

Timeline, a scrapbook-like layout that highlights big events in users’ lives, has the capability to display all Facebook activity.

Apple earnings: Apple blew away already-high expectations with its first-quarter earnings results, buoyed by strong sales of the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2. In the first full fiscal quarter the company faced without its late co-founder, Steve Jobs, Apple posted a quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion and announced it had sold 37 million iPhones and 15 million iPads. Analysts had predicted iPhone sales of around 30 million and iPad sales at a more conservative 13 million.

By  |  08:50 AM ET, 01/25/2012

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