The Washington Post

The Circuit: Phone hacking arrest, Yahoo vs. Facebook, Twitter branching out?

Rebekah Brooks arrested in phone hacking case: British police arrested Rebekah Brooks, formerly a top executive at News International, and several others Tuesday in relation to the Metropolitan Police investigation into phone hacking.

Brooks and her husband were arrested on “suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice,” The Washington Post reported.

The Brookses were arrested in connection to Operation Weeting, one of the three probes related to allegations that reports and editors at the News of the World tabloid broke into voicemail accounts.

Wal-Mart’s disc-to-digital push: Wal-Mart announced, along with several big studio partners, that it would launch an in-store initiative to encourage those who buy DVDs to use the streaming service. Customers will be able to bring their DVD collections to any Wal-Mart store and convert their standard DVD or Blu-ray disc to a digital copy for $2 or to a HD digital company for $5. Users will then be able to put those digital copies into a Wal-Mart streaming Vudu account.

Rare-earth exports: The Obama administration Tuesday filed a trade complaint asking China to loosen restrictions on exports of rare-earth minerals that are essential to the production of everything from computers and smartphones to missiles, The Washington Post reported.

The move was hailed by Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro who said in a statement, that companies “manufacturing here in the United States have been bearing the cost burden of China's unfair practices. We welcome this move and the goal of diversifying the sources of these important minerals used in consumer electronics products.”

Yahoo sues Facebook: Yahoo is facing skepticism and criticism Tuesday after filing an infringement suit against Facebook over messaging, advertising, customization and social networking patents. The suit comes at a vulnerable time for Facebook, which filed for its initial public offering in January.

One former Yahoo board member, Lerer Ventures partner Eric Hippeau, said on Twitter that this suit is not in keeping with Yahoo’s culture. “Pathetic and heartbreaking last stand for Yahoo,” Hippeau wrote. “It's all over. I loved you very much.”

All Things Digital noted that AOL’s Tim Armstrong also brought up the aging company’s impressive patent portfolio in a speech Tuesday morning. “You should assume we understand that portfolio and assume we have a strategy on it,” he reportedly told an audience at a Barclays investor conference.

Twitter acquires Posterous: Twitter announced Monday that it had acquired the blogging site Posterous, leading to speculation that the company is looking to break out of its 140-character shell.

Posterous, a simple blogging site that is very similar to WordPress and Tumblr, was founded in 2008. Twitter has become a popular source for breaking news, but has likely been eyeing the fast growth of the real-time blogging site Tumblr and other blogging sites built around quick sharing.

In a company blog post, Posterous said that its “Spaces” blogs would “remain up and running without disruption” and promised to give users notice if there are changes to its service.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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