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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 01/10/2011

The Circuit: Twitter and WikiLeaks, E&C subcommittees, Commerce to work on Internet ID

By Hayley Tsukayama

LEADING THE DAY: The U.S. Justice Department has asked Twitter to hand over information on a number of users who support the Web site WikiLeaks, including Julian Assange, Pfc. Bradley Manning, Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp, WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum and a member of the Icelandic Parliament. Birgitta Jonsdottir, a former WikiLeaks volunteer, posted a tweet on Jan 7. announcing she had been informed that her information was of interest to a Justice Department investigation.

usa government wants to know about all my tweets and more since november 1st 2009. do they realize i am a member of parliament in iceland?less than a minute ago via web

Salon.com obtained a copy of the order, which gives the Justice Department the right to ask Twitter for the information to aid an ongoing criminal investigation. As CNET reported Friday evening, the order is not a traditional subpoena, but a broad order asking for contact information, connection records and records of user activity.

The court issued the order to the microblogging site Dec. 14, and Twitter moved to have the order unsealed this past week to inform its users of the investigation.

Twitter is also involved in an unrelated investigation by the U.K. Office of Fair Trading, according to reports from the Guardian. The regulatory office is cracking down on public relations firms who pay for Twitter endorsements without being transparent about the sponsorship.

E&C releases subcommittees: House Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has released the full list of subcommittee members for the 112th Congress. As announced previously, Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon will chair the subcommittee on Communications and Technology. His vice chairman will be Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska.

Internet ID given to Commerce: The Obama administration will tap the U.S. Commerce Department to lead the initiative to give Americans an Internet ID, CNET reported from an event at Stanford University on Friday. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said that the program will not implement a national ID card or a government-controlled system, but will aim to enhance online security and set up trusted digital identities to eliminate the need to remember multiple sets of log-in information.

Unlimited data for Verizon iPhone?: The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Verizon will be offering unlimited data plans for the iPhone when the company begins selling the phones at the end of the month. This is a departure from rival AT&T's current data plans for the Apple smartphone, which are tiered. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have both cited unnamed sources confirming that the iPhone will be coming to the Verizon network following an announcement from the company tomorrow.

Privacy law can't keep up: A news analysis from the New York Times says the 1986 law that governs privacy is being outstripped by the pace of technology. The article examines the way different companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter have balanced their obligation to customer privacy and legal compliance with criminal investigations.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | January 10, 2011; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  AT&T, Apple, DOJ, Facebook, Google, Mobile, Privacy, Social media, Twitter, Verizon  
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