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Timothy B. Lee

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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 03:04 PM ET, 05/08/2013

The Circuit: Syrian Internet traffic returns

Syrian Internet traffic: Web traffic in Syria has returned after an approximately 20-hour period during which the entire country appeared to be cut off from the Internet, according to Web analysis firms.

Firms that track Web traffic, including Renesys and Akamai, showed a major spike Wednesday morning after essentially no activity from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning.

According to a report from the BBC, Syrian state-run media said the outage was due to a “fault” in optical fiber cables that connect the country to the World Wide Web.

FTC data brokers: The Federal Trade Commission is looking into the privacy practices of data brokers who gather personal information used in a variety ways, including for background checks for nannies and data sheets that help firms compile data for credit offers.

As The Washington Post reported, the FTC has alerted companies that they may be violating federal restrictions that govern the sale and collection of personal information. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, individuals are supposed to be notified when data reports can affect their eligibility for credit, employment or insurance and given the chance to correct errors.

The FTC is looking at whether data broker firms may be violating that act.

Wiretapping proposal: The Obama administration may lend its support to a Federal Bureau of Investigation plan that would make it easier for the government to wiretap lines of communication that operate online, rather than on traditional phones, The New York Times reported.

As reported in The Washington Post, last month, a government task force is preparing legislation that would pressure companies such as Facebook and Google into complying with wiretap orders through the threat of fines.

T-Mobile earnings: T-Mobile USA sold 500,000 iPhones in the past month, the carrier’s parent company Deutsche Telekom reported Wednesday.

Sales of the iPhone and the full impact of T-Mobile’s new “uncarrier” plans were not included in the first-quarter earnings report released by Deutsche Telekom, because they came after March 31.

Even without the iPhone boost, T-Mobile appears to be in good shape. Deutsche Telekom said revenue for T-Mobile USA declined 7 percent from the previous year — to $4.68 billion — but that the carrier was able to stem customer losses and add subscribers to its ranks.

By  |  03:04 PM ET, 05/08/2013

 
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