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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

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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.

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Posted at 09:01 AM ET, 01/17/2012

The Circuit: White House weighs in on SOPA/PIPA, Zappos breached, Vivek Kundra to Salesforce

LEADING THE DAY: The White House weighed in Saturday on the debate over online privacy measures currently in Congress — the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act — saying that it had serious reservations about the bills’ provisions dealing with blocking domain name services.

In the statement, the White House said the proposals to block domain names had serious implications for cybersecurity and that the bill has several other issues that need to be worked out after a conversation with all stakeholders.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ( D-Nev.) (J. Scott Applewhite - AP)
In an interview on Sunday’s Meet the Press, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that he would still like to move forward with the bill, calling it an important measure for protecting American Jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also called for swift action on online piracy legislation, saying it was essential to fight rogue foreign Web sites that hurt American companies by selling counterfeit goods.

On Friday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who sponsored PIPA, said he will consider a manager’s amendment to remove the DNS blocking provisions from his bill; SOPA sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith has said he will do the same.

Issa postpones hearing: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has postponed a planned hearing on the effects of domain-name service blocking in light of comments from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) that he will remove the
Rep. Darrell Issa ( R-Calif.). (Susan Walsh - AP)
provisions dealing with blocking from his bill. In a Saturday statement, Issa’s office said that he has been assured by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R- Va.) that SOPA will not be taken up by the House until the bill has been discussed further.

Planned Web site blackouts from Wikipedia and Reddit — originally meant to coincide with the hearing — will go forward regardless of the scheduling change.

“This is going to be wow,” said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on Twitter. “I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday. Tell everyone you know!” breached: Online shoe site Zappos e-mailed customers over the weekend, disclosing that it had been the victim of a breach that may have granted customers names, address, phone numbers, credit card numbers and scrambled passwords. Up to 24 million customers may have been affected, the Associated Press reported, and the company reset all of its customers’ passwords.

Systems at Zappos, which is owned by Inc., were accessed through the company’s servers in Kentucky, the report said.

Vivek Kundra to Salesforce: Salesforce announced that Vivek Kundra, who was the country’s first chief information officer, will be joining the company as its executive vice president of emerging markets. Kundra, who stepped down from his position in June, is credited with pushing the Obama administration’s cloud-first policy. Following his resignation, he has served a joint fellowship at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

GPS industry calls out LightSquared : Save Our GPS, an group representing the global-positioning satellite industry, issued a statement Monday saying that LightSquared has “been afforded every possible opportunity to make its technical case, and has failed to demonstrate that it can avoid interference to many critical GPS based activities.”

The industry has been at odds with the broadband satellite company over studies that show that the proposed Internet network will interfere with GPS satellites used for navigation and other purposes. LightSquared recently asked the Federal Communications Commission — which approved the company’s network on the condition that it did not interfere with GPS systems — to affirm the company’s right to its licensed spectrum.

By  |  09:01 AM ET, 01/17/2012

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