The Washington Post

The Circuit: Hooking up rural homes, FBI seeks more personal data, Amazon profit falls

LEADING THE DAY: U.S. Telcom head Walter McCormick took to the broadband association’s blog Tuesday to urge the Federal Communications Commission to adopt an industry plan to expand service to approximately 2 million rural homes. In the post, McCormick accuses lobbyists of the wireless and cable industries of introducing “static” into the debate by introducing their own proposals for the Universal Service Fund. He also criticized public interest groups such as Free Press for offering “no data, only histrionics”in the debate over the fund’s reform.

He urged the commission to pass the telecom industry’s plan for the fund, the outline known as America’s Broadband Connectivity Plan.

According to the Hill, the CTIA and Free Press both rebutted McCormick’s statements. The commission is scheduled to vote on chairman Julius’s Genachowski’s plan to reform the fund this Thursday.

FBI heading to court for personal data: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is heading to court more often to obtain personal Internet data, The Washington Post reported. National security letters, a tool that the agency had formerly used to obtain information, appear to have lost some of their effectiveness. The agency has turned to court orders called business record requests instead, The Post reported, and more than 80 percent of these kinds of requests issued this year were for Internet records that would have previously been obtained using a letter.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D- Vt.) has included a provision that would clearly outline what letters could be used for, causing some privacy advocates — who wish to see the FBI use court orders — to challenge the bill.

Amazon profit falls: Amazon.com reported a dramatic plunge in profit Tuesday, prompting a late-afternoon sell-off of its stock. The company reported that profit was down 73 percent to $63 million from $231 million in the same period last year.

The drop was caused by an increase in spending as the company enters a crucial holiday quarter touting its Kindle Fire tablet.

IBM names Virginia Rommety as CEO: IBM has named Virginia Rommety as its new chief executive, effective in January. Rommety has been an IBM employee since 1981 and currently serves as the company’s senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy. She oversaw the integration of Pricewaterhouse Coopers consulting into IBM, according to a company release.

Current chief executive Sam Palmisano will continue on as chairman.

Nokia launches first Windows phones: Nokia has launched the first of its phones based on the Windows mobile operating system. The two companies entered into an agreement in February, as Nokia put the brakes on its own Symbian and MeeGo systems in favor of Microsoft’s mobile phone software.

The phones, called the Lumia 710 and the Lumia 800, were unveiled at the company’s annual Nokia World event.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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