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Timothy B. Lee

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 04:17 PM ET, 05/10/2012

The Circuit: Phone contracts decline; browser makers get in spat; cybersecurity

Phone contracts fall: U.S. customers are turning away from phone contracts for the first time in the first quarter, the Associated Press reported, as the seven largest U.S. phone companies lost a combined 52,000 subscribers from January to March.

The drop-off, in part, is because the market is saturated with contracts. It’s also, the report said, due to the increase in prepaid, no-contract plans and carriers adding more non-phone devices to their portfolios.

Google, Mozilla go after Microsoft: Google and Mozilla have accused Microsoft of not playing fair by making Internet Explorer an integral part of Windows 8 — particularly on tablet devices.

As The Wall Street Journal reported, Mozilla general counsel Harvey Anderson said that Microsoft’s ARM-based tablets and PCs will only run Internet Explorer. According to InformationWeek, Google has lent its support to Mozilla’s claims, saying that the browser space should benefit from strong competition.

Cybersecurity bill: The American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Democracy & Technology and Electronic Frontier Foundation are among groups urging the Senate not to pass the cybersecurity bill sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), which has the backing of the White House, the Hill reported.

The measure has not met the same resistance as the Cyber Intelligences Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), though both bills are intended to make it easier for private companies and government to share cyber threat data. The Lieberman-Collins bill, however, has also raised concerns about how easy it would make it for companies to pass on private consumer data without due process, the report said.

Facebook App Center: Facebook took another step toward its goal of being a platform for developers Wednesday, by announcing that it will launch its own App Center, a single location for the platform’s many applications.

The company also announced that it will begin supporting paid apps, a program that it is offering to developers in a beta test.

In a company blog post, Facebook’s Aaron Brady said that the new center will be a way for users to identify high-quality apps connected to the social network, and to drive mobile installs for the social network.

E.U. roaming fees: The European Parliament said Thursday that it will cut mobile roaming prices, starting on July 1. The regulation is meant to prevent bill shock, or unexpectedly high phone bill charges, by capping charges and requiring carriers to send warning messages about high charges.

From July 2014, users will also be able to choose another operator for roaming service.

By  |  04:17 PM ET, 05/10/2012

 
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