The Circuit: California’s data breach report; CALM Act; online NSA protests for July 4

California releases data breach report: California attorney general Kamala Harris has released the state’s first-ever data breach report, disclosing 131 reports of data breaches during 2012. Under California law, companies must report breaches to the attorney general’s office if more than 500 consumers have been affected, regardless of whether a breach was malicious or unintentional.

The report, posted Monday, also contains the names of organizations that were breached, including the California Department of Social Services, the University of Southern California, American Express and State Farm Insurance.

In a press release, Harris said that the report found that 1.4 million Californians’ information would not have been accessible if “companies had encrypted data when moving or sending” the information outside of their own networks.

CALM Act: In a letter released by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission reported that it has received over 15,500 complaints about loud commercials as it works to implement the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act. The law requires that commercials air at relatively the same volume as their surrounding programming. The FCC has been implementing the law, introduced by Eshoo and Whitehouse, since December 2011.

Eshoo and Whitehouse said they have requested that the FCC provide quarterly updates on how the new law is progressing.

NSA protests: Several groups, including Mozilla, Reddit and MoveOn, are participating in online protests on the Fourth of July over National Security Agency surveillance programs. The protest by the Internet Defense League will be held in conjunction with street protests by the group “Restore the Fourth.” The groups are calling for the agency to respect Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and will call on Congress to demand investigations into the programs.

The Internet Defense League was instrumental in getting several prominent Web sites to black out their pages in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act last year. Participating Web sites will be displaying the league’s symbol — a projected cat face — and providing users with links to contact members of Congress and donate to a fund for television ads about NSA surveillance.

Edward Snowden withdraws Russian asylum request: Edward Snowden, the former defense contractor charged with leaking classified documents about the NSA’s programs, has withdrawn his political asylum request to Russia, The Washington Post reported, apparently because he was unwilling to comply with President Vladi­mir Putin’s request that he cease activity that is damaging to the United States.

Putin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told reporters Tuesday that extraditing Snowden to “such a country as the United States, which applies the death penalty, is impossible.”

According to Wikileaks, which has helped Snowden publicize his recent statements, he has applied for asylum to 20 countries. At least two, India and Brazil, have said they will not accept the requests.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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