The Circuit: Universal EMI, location-based services, cybersecurity

Antitrust committee to examine Universal/EMI: Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) plans to hold a hearing to examine the proposed merger between Universal Music Group and EMI, according to his office.

Kohl has not yet set a date for the hearing. Groups such as Public Knowledge have criticized the deal, saying that it has the “potential to thwart innovation in digital music.”

Universal has disputed those claims, saying that it has “every business reason” to continue offering its music through digital platforms.

Location features: A study released Friday by the Pew Center for Internet and American Life has found that 75 percent of all smartphone users use location-based services and that 18 percent use check-in apps that tell others where they are.

According to the study, the proportion of U.S. adults who get location-based information from their phones has almost doubled over the past year, to 41 percent from 23 percent.

Cybersecurity: The Pentagon is expanding and making permanent its trial program to have defense contractors share information about data theft with Internet service providers, The Washington Post reported.

The Pentagon is also enlarging a four-year-old cybersecurity program in which the Defense Department and contractors share threat data directly with each other. That program has 36 participants and could grow to about 1,000, said Pentagon deputy chief information officer Richard Hale.

California deliberates password law: The California state assembly has passed a bill that would prevent companies from asking current or prospective employees for the passwords to their private social networking accounts.

The bill now goes to the California Senate, according to a report from Wired.

Maryland recently became the first state in the country to pass a law prohibiting the practice; Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Reps. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) have introduced similar legislation at the national level.

Facebook updates data use policy: Facebook has proposed changes to its data use policy. The changes were made, in part, in response to an audit from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s Office, wrote Facebook’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan. Other changes include referencing Facebook’s Timeline format, which has launched since the network last updated its policy.

Egan said she will be hosting a video Q&A on the changes on Monday, May 9.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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