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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.

Brian Fung

Brian Fung

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, the American Prospect and Nonprofit Quarterly. Follow Brian on Google+ .

Andrea Peterson

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 09:28 AM ET, 03/17/2011

The Circuit: Twitter and taxes, Microsoft makes list of ethical companies, administration calls for a privacy bill of rights

LEADING THE DAY:Twitter told the city of San Francisco that it will stay if it can get a tax break for new hires. San Francisco levies a 1.5 percent tax on payroll.

The San Francisco Examiner reports that Twitter expressed its intent in a letter to the city’s board of supervisors, saying, “Twitter is committed to signing a lease that will keep the company in San Francisco for six years and likely for a subsequent 10 year renewal term.” Without a tax break, Twitter said that it cannot justify the cost of staying in the city and will move south to Brisbane, Calif., where it estimates it could save $30 million. Even with a tax break, according to Business Insider, the city estimates Twitter will pay $35 million in city payroll taxes over the next six years.

Microsoft singled out for ethics: Microsoft was named a top ethical company by the Ethisphere Institute, along with Adobe, Salesforce, Symantec and Teradata. As CNET pointed out, it’s a huge win for the company, which was fighting antitrust accusations in the U.S. District court a mere 10 years ago. Other tech and telecom companies on the list include T-Mobile, Avaya, Cisco and Juniper.

Administration calls for privacy bill of rights:At Wednesday’s Senate hearing on consumer online privacy, National Telecommunications and Information Administration chief Lawrence Strickling said the administration supports laws that create basic privacy protections, which many are calling a “privacy bill of rights.”

Reaction to the administration’s proposal has been swift. Consumer Watchdog warned that the law could be “dominated by industry,” and called for privacy legislation to create and enforce the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Track mechanism. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), whose privacy bill is expected soon, reiterated his call for privacy legisation, saying, “the status quo cannot stand.”

WCA International chief thinks FCC may ignore Congress : In an editorial to CNET, Wireless Communications International president Fred Campbell said that the Federal Communications Commission is ducking Congress, by “failing to make a competitive finding in the mobile wireless context.” He expressed fears that the FCC will impose heavy-handed regulations on the wireless industry. Campbell is the former head of theFCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

Judge says Sony can look at hacker’s PayPal history:A judge has granted Sony the right to look into George Hotz’s PayPal account records, according to Ars Techinca. Sony claims Hotz received donations from people in northern California to fund his hack, adding evidence to back Sony’s claim that the case should be tried there. Hotz and others were served restraining orders from Sony earlier this year after releasing a hack for the PS3 intended to allow users to install other operating systems on their consoles. Sony said this hack enabled players to play pirated games. Two weeks ago, Magistrate Joseph Spero granted Sony the right to acquire the IP addresses of anyone who visited Hotz’s site .

Tunisian bloggers take center stage: Young bloggers in Tunisia are ready to meet with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on Thursday as they take a more prominent role in their country’s future. Some Internet activists are viewed as heroes in the country, two months after the fall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

By  |  09:28 AM ET, 03/17/2011

Tags:  privacy, twitter, microsoft, fcc, ntia

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