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Timothy B. Lee

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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 01:58 PM ET, 03/01/2012

The Circuit: FTC’s Long to Microsoft, Google privacy policy, cybersecurity

FTC attorney to Microsoft: Federal Trade Commission attorney Randall Long has been hired by Microsoft, the Wall Street Journal reported. Long has been deeply involved in antitrust investigations into Google — the frequent target of Microsoft’s public relations, legal and regulatory effort — and was the lead staff attorney when the agency reviewed Google’s acquisition of AdMob.

Most recently, Microsoft has accused Motorola Mobility, which is being acquired by Google, of not offering fair licensing fees for industry-standard patents in Europe.

Google’s privacy policy takes effect: Google began collecting its users’ data Thursday from across its services for ad-tailoring. The company launched the new privacy policy despite requests to pause the rollout from European data protection officials.

Regulators from the French data protection agency, CNIL, sent a letter this week to Google chief executive Larry Page asking him to pause the launch while the agency reviewed its possible effects on the average consumer. Google said that while it would continue discussions about the policy, changing the date of implementation would “cause a great deal of confusion for users.”

In a similar letter to the search engine giant, the government of Japan said that it had concerns about the policy and whether it runs afoul of Japanese data protection laws, the Tokyo Times reported.

Senators introduce alternative cybersecurity bill: Several Republican senators introduced an alternative cybersecurity measure, known as the Secure IT bill, Thursday. The bill places a great emphasis on partnerships between the government and private companies that control systems deemed critical to the nation’s security.

The bill is an alternative to a plan that would grant the Department of Homeland Security more regulatory authority over companies with these systems.

Rep. Walden appoints cybersecurity group: Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the house subcommittee on technology, appointed three Republicans and three Democrats to a “working group” on cybersecurity. Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Mike Doyla (D-Pa.), Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) will examine “legal impediments” to securing communications networks and the best ways to approach a private-public partnership to protect the country against cyberthreats.

Smartphones eclipse feature phones in U.S.: According to a recent study from the Pew Center for Internet and American Life, nearly half of American adults own a smartphone and now outnumber the amount of users who have feature phones.

Nearly half, 46 percent, of those surveyed said they have a smartphone, an increase of 11 percentage points over May 2011. According to the study, 88 percent of all U.S. adults own a cellphone.

By  |  01:58 PM ET, 03/01/2012

 
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