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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.

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Brian Fung

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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.

Post Tech
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Posted at 09:45 AM ET, 03/03/2011

The Circuit: Twitter denies J.P. Morgan reports; Kerry, Snowe introduce spectrum bill; Microsoft mad at Facebook

LEADING THE DAY: Twitter co-founder Biz Stone denied reports that the company is talking to J.P. Morgan about an investment that would value the company at $4.5 billion. Stone told Reuters that the reports, which originally ran in the Financial Times, were “made up.”

“We have so many other things before we even think about that,” Stone told Reuters. The original reports did not make it clear whether JPMorgan was talking to the company itself or to its investors, though Stone’s comments seem to rule out the former.

Net neutrality under scrutiny again: On March 9, the House communications and technology subcommittee will hold its second hearing on the Federal Communications Commission’s Internet access rules. This time, it will consider a bill that would reverse the agency’s rules.

Spectrum inventory bill: Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced spectrum policy reform legislation allowing federal agencies to survey how the government is using spectrum that could have commercial wireless applications.

“The wireless industry has seen explosive growth and amazing innovation over the past decade,” Snowe said in a press release announcing the bill. She went on to say that “the government’s current spectrum management framework is inefficient” and has not kept pace with technological advancements. In the release, Kerry said, “We know that our nation’s airwaves are a finite resource, and it’s more important than ever to use them as efficiently as possible.”

Microsoft considering legal action against Facebook: Microsoft is reportedly considering several responses to Facebook’s hiring of its head of global advertising sales, Carolyn Everson. Everson was hired by Facebook to be its vice president of global sales. All Things Digital reports that Microsoft is considering filing a restraining order to stop the hire, citing non-compete and confidentiality issues.

Google offers help to those hit by algorithm change: Google’s algorithm change, intended to hit content farms, has had the unintended consequence of cutting down hits to legitimate Web sites as well. In fact, while noted content farm Demand Media has bragged that the change didn’t affect them at all Wired reported that the Apple-dedicated Cult of Mac has lost up to 50 percent of its traffic since the switch.

Google Fellow Amit Singhal told Wired that when a valid site gets caught by the algorithm, Google engineers work hard to bring it back up to speed. “That’s exactly what we are going to do, and our engineers are working as we speak building a new layer on top of this algorithm to make it even more accurate than it is,” Singhal said.

One in five use Internet while driving: A recent survey released by State Farm Insurance says that 19 percent of drivers surveyed admit that they use the Internet while driving. The top five activities used in the dangerous multitasking were using driving directions, reading e-mail, looking up specific information of immediate interest, using social networking sites and composing e-mail. Most use happens when stopped or in traffic and most drivers surveyed said that they used the Internet when driving alone, during the day and on long stretches of interstate.

By  |  09:45 AM ET, 03/03/2011

 
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