The Washington Post

The Circuit: AT&T and T-Mobile have no plan B, AOL alums to launch start-up fund, Carrier IQ

LEADING THE DAY: Spokesman Philipp Kornstaedt, who represents T-Mobile USA’s parent company Deustche Telekom, told Bloomberg that the company has no backup plan for the carrier if a proposed merger with AT&T falls through.

“We have always said there is no Plan B,” he told Bloomberg.

Kornstaedt’s statement came in response to a report from the Wall Street Journal that said AT&T and T-Mobile are discussing a joint venture to pool their assets.

AOL alums to start fund: Entrepreneurs and AOL alums Ted Leonsis and Steve Case will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a fund aimed at helping D.C.-area start-ups, The Washington Post reported. The Revolution Growth Fund has thus far raised $450 million, the report said, and is an attempt to spark innovation in the local technology community and be a source of funding on the East Coast.

“We want to make it easy for companies to get started here, and particularly to stay and expand and grow while being headquartered here,” Case said in an interview.

Carrier IQ: A researcher named Trevor Eckhart has posted evidence that a program known as Carrier IQ is tracking mobile users’ keystrokes and activities. Eckhart has said the evidence of program is present in Android device and BlackBerry devices; other researchers have found evidence of it in Apple devices. The data, he said, is transmitted back to Carrier IQ’s servers. The company told Wired that the program is meant to gather information to improve users’ experience by collecting data on dropped calls, signal quality and other troubleshooting problems.

In a Twitter message, Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said that the program is not present on any Verizon devices; Nokia has made a similar statement to The Verge.

FCC nominations: On Wednesday, Senate lawmakers mulled the nominations of Republican Ajit Vradaraj Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel to the Federal Communications Commission. The nominees appeared to have broad support, The Washington Post reported. Both Pai and Rosenworcel said that communications laws could use some updating, and highlighted the need for the agency to keep up with the fast-changing pace of technological advancement.

Google’s Schmidt criticizes piracy bills: Google Chairman Eric Schmidt continued to speak about his opposition to online piracy bills in the House and Senate, saying they “go after all the wrong problems,” the Associated Press reported. Schmidt, speaking to an audience at the University of Minnesota, said that the bills would simply redirect criminal activity to different Web sites. He suggested that it would be more effective to make it “more explicitly illegal” to profit from pirated content. He also said that the bills could potentially violate the First Amendment.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who sponsored the Senate’s Protect IP Act, the senator said that the bill does not violate the First Amendment. “There is no First Amendment right to steal,” he said in a statement quoted in the report.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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