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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.

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Posted at 08:34 AM ET, 10/11/2011

The Circuit: Online privacy, news ‘neighborhooding,’ A&T/T-Mobile merger

LEADING THE DAY: Researchers at Stanford University have released a study saying that most “anonymous” third-party Web tracking is not anonymous. The study points to several ways that a user’s identity can be associated with data that are supposed to be collected without linking to personally identifiable information. Examples include associating anonymous data with usernames or user IDs from social networks, by exploiting security vulnerabilities or by using a “matching service” that sells personal information.

Privacy advocates are pointing to the study as evidence that the industry needs Do Not Track legislation. Chris Calabrese, the legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement, “The sharing of detailed Internet records with the government is certain to have a chilling effect on Americans’ First Amendment rights to speak and pursue unpopular subjects online. These practices must be brought in line with the Constitution.”

Bloomberg, Comcast: Bloomberg has asked the Federal Communications Commission to stop Comcast’s “stalling tactics” and implement a merger condition that requires the company to place news channels into channel “neighborhoods.” Bloomberg said Comcast must include Bloomberg news channels with other cable news and business channels — Comcast said that it believes this rule applies to any new “neighborhoods” it creates in the future.

Jobs math in the AT&T, T-Mobile merger: AT&T and T-Mobile have said that a merger between the two companies will create as many as 96,000 jobs, but The Washington Post reported that the companies’ much-touted figure doesn’t factor in potential layoffs.

An AT&T spokesperson told The Post that it expects to keep its call-center jobs and that most of its labor reduction would happen through attrition, not layoffs.

Calif. cellphone bill: California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed legislation that would require the police to obtain a warrant before searching through suspects’ mobile phones at the time of arrest, Wired reported. The bill was supported by civil liberties groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Brown said that the issue is complicated and that the bill would overturn the state’s Supreme Court decision that holds the state has a right to conduct warrantless cellphone searches. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld that decision last week.

Netflix: Netflix has backtracked on its business plan to separate its DVD and Web streaming services, The Washington Post reported. In a company blog post, CEO Reed Hastings said that the company changed its mind after it became apparent that consumers do not want to see the change.

Netflix shares initially jumped about 7 percent on the news but steadily declined throughout the day to close down $5.56 per share at a price of $111.62.

By  |  08:34 AM ET, 10/11/2011

Tags:  Netflix, Mobile, AT&T, T-Mobile, FCC, Comcast, Privacy

 
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