The Washington Post

The Circuit: Cybersecurity, Google privacy, Megaupload

LEADING THE DAY: The Senate will turn its attention to cybersecurity legislation this week. A vote on an as-yet-unreleased comprehensive cybersecurity legislation is scheduled for this week, The Hill reported, and it could face some opposition from technology companies.

Juniper Networks has said that the comprehensive bill — which has backing from The White House — would give the Department of Homeland Security too much control over government contractors. Bob Dix, vice president of government affairs and critical infrastructure protection at Juniper Networks, told The Hill that the bill’s language could be interpreted to allow the government to seize systems from private companies and cloud providers, and said it oversteps the “boundaries of the role of the government.”

Google privacy: On Friday, Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex..) wrote to the Federal Trade Commission asking if the agency is planning to investigate whether Google’s new privacy policy violates its privacy settlement over Google Buzz.

“This new policy and omission of a consumer opt-out option on a product-by-product basis raises a number of important privacy concerns,” the lawmakers said in the letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “We are interested in any actions the FTC has taken or plans to take to investigate whether Google has violated the terms of its consent agreement.”

Megaupload data could be deleted: Federal officials said that data from the file-sharing site Megaupload could be deleted as early as Thursday, the Associated Press reported. Ira Rothken, attorney for Megaupload, told the news service that at least 50 million customers could lose their files but that he hopes that a deal can be reached to return the data to customers.

Federal officials have reportedly told two storage companies in Virginia — Carpathia Hosting and Cogent Communications — that they may begin deleting data Thursday. Megaupload had been contracting with the companies to store the information, but can no longer pay those contracts because its assets have been frozen.

With DMARC, tech giants take on phishing : A new kind of e-mail authentication known as Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance, has gathered the support of Bank of America, Fidelity Investments and several technology companies. Technology giants including, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, PayPal, LinkedIn and AOL, are working on a new e-mail authentication system that is supposed to eliminate phishing, according to a release.

The system is aimed at allowing e-mail recipients to better authenticate their e-mails and to prevent users from answering scam e-mails looking for information such as account usernames and passwords while posing as a well-known company.

Twitter boycotted over the weekend: Some Twitter users chose to boycott the service on Saturday after the company announced it may begin blocking tweets in specific countries. The social network said Thursday that it would block content on a country-by-country basis when the content runs afoul of local laws. The new blocking technology could also help it gain a foothold in countries where it has been banned in the past — China’s Global Times has already praised the company’s decision, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The policy has drawn the concern of some users, but Twitter’s decision to be transparent about its actions and to share messages withheld from one country with the rest of the world appeased others.

The American Civil Liberties Union said Twitter’s commitment to transparency makes the best of a bad situation. “Censorship is never a good thing, but transparency can help to minimize the harm,” ACLU attorney Aden Fine said.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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