LEADING THE DAY:Sony reported that it expects a $3.2 billion annual loss, the Associated Press reported, due to production disruptions from the earthquake in Japan. The company also probably faces losses from a hacker attack that leaked millions of users’ personal information and brought down two of its online services for three weeks.
The company expects about a $439 million loss for the fiscal year that ended March 2010, after a loss of about $1.2 billion the previous year, which the AP reported was Sony’s first annual loss in 14 years.
Autocratic regimes embrace Web tools: Autocratic regimes such as Syria and Sudan are using the social media tools favored by opposition groups against them, The Washington Post reported. Digital activists have been tortured for their Facebook and other account passwords. The report said that users are often unaware of how much the government is monitoring their online activities. The State Department has funded “cyber-defense” training for 5,000 people in the past two years to let users know whom they are chatting with online.
Senate Homeland Security examines White House cybersecurity plan: The Senate Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing Monday to examine the White House’s cybersecurity plan. The White House released its long-awaited plan last week, calling for companies to create plans to secure critical computer systems. Those policies would be subject to government approval. The plan would also create a federal data breach notification law, The Washington Post reported.
Among those speaking before the panel are NIST Internet policy adviser Ari Schwartz and DHS Deputy Undersecretary Philip Reitinger — who announced his resignation last week, the National Journal reported.
More companies join Calif. bill opposition: More companies have joined a coalition that includes Google, Facebook and Twitter in its opposition to a California bill that would drastically change the way Internet users register for sites and set their privacy settings online. Smaller tech startups Oodle, Identified, Zecco and BranchOut have joined the fight against the privacy bill, which would require social networks to allow users to set their privacy settings when registering and would add additional protections to safeguard users’ personal information.
Issa questions Baker’s new job:Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter for FCC chairman Julius Genachowski last Wednesday, The Washington Post reported, asking questions about FCC Commission Meredith Baker’s announcement that she will being working at Comcast after resigning from the FCC next month. The move comes months after approving the merger between Comcast and NBC Universal.
Issa asked Genachowski what the rules are for a commissioner moving to the private sector and whether or not Baker followed those rules.
Foxconn reports third death, explains explosion cause:Foxconn, the Chinese company that manufacturers Apple iPads, confirmed in a statement that a third worker has died after suffering injuries in an explosion at the company’s factory near Chengdu, China. The explosion initially caused two deaths and 16 injuries — six of the injured workers have been released from the hospital, the statement said.
The company said that initial finding indicate the accident was caused by an explosion of combustible dust in an air duct.
IBM passes Microsoft in market cap: IBM passed Microsoft in market cap on Friday for the first time in 15 years, Business Insider reported. Last May, Apple passed Microsoft in market cap for the first time, making the Bellevue, Wash.-based company the second-largest tech company. That title now belongs to IBM, which is currently worth about $1 billion more than Microsoft.
Comcast exec to hold Obama fundraiser: The Los Angeles Times reported that Comcast executive vice president David Cohen is hosting a fundraiser for President Obama at his home June 30. The event is being billed as a “reelection campaign inaugural dinner & photo reception,” the report said.