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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

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 02:08 PM ET, 03/20/2012

The Circuit: Obama reaches out to Iranian citizens; Facebook adds to D.C. office; European privacy watchdog grills Google

Obama reaches out to Iranian citizens: In a Web speech directed to the Iranian people, President Obama said Tuesday that he wants to break through the “electronic curtain” that Iran’s government has put over Internet and mobile communications, our colleague Scott Wilson reported in The Washington Post.

America, the president said, “seeks a dialogue” with the Iranian people, and “we hope that others” will support Iranians’ right to speak to the world.

Obama said there was no reason that America and Iran needed to be divided from each other. The Post reported that Obama’s more aggressive message reflects growing concern from Israel over Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.

Facebook pads out D.C. office: Facebook has been hiring in its D.C. office lately, announcing Tuesday that Greg Maurer, former director of member services for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), will join the office to lead the company’s outreach efforts to the House. Maurer was most recently the vice president for corporate public affairs at UPS.

On Monday, the company announced that Susan Gonzales would be joining the social network from Comcast. Gonzales will be the head of community engagement for Facebook and will be “managing outreach to diverse communities,” according to a company statement.

CNIL asks for answers from Google: In a letter to Google, the French data protection agency CNIL asked the company for more information about its privacy policy. The letter asks Google for details such as its use of location information and its policies around data retention.

The regulatory agency also said that it “deeply regrets” that the company did not delay its rollout of the new policy.

In a statement, Google said, “We have received the letter from the CNIL and we will respond in due course. We are confident that our new simple, clear and transparent privacy policy respects all European data protection laws and principles.” The company said the policy complies with information required in European directives and follows the guidelines of the privacy-focused Article 29 Working Party. The working party appointed CNIL to lead a probe into Google’s policy in February.

Apple reports record iPad sales: Apple said Monday that it had sold a record number of iPads, on the heels of its announcement that it intends to pay investors a dividend. The company said that customers snapped up 3 million units of the new iPad — which features a sharper display and better graphics — in its first weekend.

Now that the tablet has been out for a few days, consumers have reported that the iPad gets very warm, particularly in one corner. Consumer Reports has said that it will assess the reports, which have cropped up on Apple’s support forums. According to Bloomberg, Apple spokeswoman Tracy Muller said that any consumers who have concerns should contact AppleCare.

Online sales tax: The governor of Maine has asked Maine Republican U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to support the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which would require online businesses to collect state sales tax, The Hill reported.

The act, Gov. Paul LePage wrote, does not raise taxes and will help small Maine-based businesses.

By  |  02:08 PM ET, 03/20/2012

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