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The Circuit: Groupon IPO, Gmail attack causes China tension, Calif. privacy bill dies in Senate

LEADING THE DAY: Groupon filed for its initial public offering Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The daily deals site hopes to raise as much as $750 million with its IPO, led by underwriter Morgan Stanley.

In its filing, the company revealed that while it earned $644 million in revenues in the first quarter of this year, it still lost $146.5 million.

The IPO comes on the heels of a huge offering from LinkedIn and worries about a new tech bubble, with several reported tech IPOs on the horizon. Zynga is said to be on the verge of hiring Goldman Sachs to lead its own IPO. Citing a “person with knowledge of the matter,” Bloomberg reported that Goldman Sachs is expected to make a decision by Friday.

Gmail phishing attack causes high-tech tension: China angrily denied that its government was behind a targeted phishing scam that convinced U.S. government officials to divulge their usernames and passwords to hackers based in the eastern Chinese city of Jinan, The Washington Post reported.

The Chinese government said that Google’s accusations that the breach started in China are a “fabrication out of thin air.” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Google’s allegations “very serious” and said that the FBI is investigating the matter.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that all White House employees are told they cannot use their personal e-mail addresses to conduct government business.

California privacy bill dies in Senate: California Sen. Ellen Corbett’s bill, which would have mandated a dramatic change in the way users register for sites online, died in the California Senate Thursday. The measure was opposed by Web giants such as Facebook, Google and eHarmony, but supported by privacy advocates such as Common Sense Media.

The Sacramento Bee reported that Corbett read a letter on the Senate floor saying the “social media guys” need a wake-up call and said that the discussion would continue.

FCC says Baker followed rules: In a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa (R- Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, the Federal Communications Commission said that Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker followed ethics rules regarding her planned move to become a lobbyist for Comcast.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said that the commissioner contacted the FCC’s ethics officer for guidance on “procedures she should follow if she subsequently entered into exploration of employment with NBC Universal” on April 13 and will be subject to post-employment restrictions.

AT&T exec says LTE will match Verizon by 2014: In a speech at the All Things D Conference Thursday, AT&T wireless head Ralph de la Vega said that AT&T would have an LTE network to rival Verizon’s by 2014. He said that in two or three years, LTE service will be indistinguishable.

“Sexting” cause for expulsion in California: The California Senate approved a measure that makes “sexting” — sending lewd or pornographic pictures via text message — cause for expulsion in California public schools. Students who send such pictures on school grounds, or in transit to and from school and school-related activities can be expelled. The messages must be “directed specifically toward a pupil or school personnel,” according to a report from The Associated Press.

The American Civil Liberties Union opposes “sexting” bills, arguing that the issue could be better addressed through education. The Ohio House passed a similar bill on May 27, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Sony hacked again: Hacker group LulzSec posted about a million usernames and passwords of customers in the U.S., Netherlands and Belgium and made the information available for download on its site. The group said its aim was to embarrass Sony and call attention to the fact that none of the information it took was encrypted.

In a statement, Jim Kennedy, executive vice president of Global Communications for Sony Pictures Entertainment, said, “We are looking into these claims.”

In a congressional hearing Thursday, Tim Schaaf, president of Sony Network Entertainment International, said the company supports standard legislation that would require companies to provide timely, accurate information on breaches and customer resources to combat the effects of an attack.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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