The Washington Post

The Circuit: Comcast ditching data caps, Howard Schmidt stepping down, Facebook IPO

Comcast ditches data caps, moves to tiers: Comcast announced Thursday that it will move to tiered plans.

In a blog post on the subject, the company said that it has “decided to change our approach and replace our static 250 GB usage threshold with more flexible data usage management,” and that it will offer all households 300 GB per month and add additional tiers based on connection speeds. Those who use more data at each tier can buy additional blocks, the post said, at a price of $10 per 50 GB.

White House cybersecurity coordinator stepping down: White House cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt is stepping down from his position to spend more time with his family, The Washington Post reported. He will be succeeded by Mitch Daniel, the chief of the White House budget office’s intelligence branch.

Schmidt oversaw the creation of the White House’s first cybersecurity proposal and also served as a White House adviser on cybersecurity matters for President George W. Bush. He will retire at the end of May.

Schumer, Casey target Facebook’s Saverin: On Thursday, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) proposed a bill that targets individuals who renounce their U.S. citizenship for tax purposes. The proposal comes shortly after it was revealed that Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, had become a citizen of Singapore ahead of the company’s initial public offering. Saverin owns around 4 percent of Facebook, a stake estimated to be worth $3 billion.

Under the proposal, “any expatriate with either a net worth of $2 million or an average income tax liability of at least $148,000 over the last five years will be presumed to have renounced their citizenship for tax avoidance purposes,” according to a release from Schumer’s office, and they would pay 30 percent capital gains tax — the same rate for U.S. residents. If an expatriate can prove he or she has a legitimate reason for renouncing U.S. citizenship, no penalties will apply.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has also highlighted the Facebook IPO as being illustrative of a tax loophole. Levin said that an estimated $16 billion the company will deduct in taxes by issuing stock options to its employees at the stock’s opening price is “outrageous.”

Verizon: no unlimited 3G plan grandfathered for 4G: Verizon Communications chief financial officer Fran Shammo said Wednesday that customers who have grandfathered 3G unlimited plans will not be able to take their all-you-can-eat plans to 4G networks.

According to a report from Fierce Wireless, Shammo made the comments at a J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference. He also said that the company plans to move unlimited customers to Verizon’s anticipated data-share plan, which will have multiple lines share the same bucket of data.

Mobile phone tracking: At a Thursday hearing of the House subcommittee on terrorism, the Hill reported, enforcement officials said that the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act, a bill that would require a warrant to track individuals using mobile geolocation data, would limit the enforcement officials’ ability to do their jobs.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), has the support of the American Civil Liberties Union. At the hearing, the report said, ACLU attorney Catherine Crump said the bill balances the rights of citizens and the needs of law enforcement officials.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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