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Posted at 8:20 AM ET, 02/28/2011

The Circuit: Gmail accounts wiped, Verizon denies low iPhone sales, Congress reworks patent law

By Hayley Tsukayama

LEADING THE DAY: About 150,000 users of Google's email system, Gmail, logged in over the weekend to find that their information had been erased. According to Engadget, some users found that their accounts had been effectively reset, receiving welcome messages. Google said the glitch affected about .08 percent of its users and the company is looking into a fix.

Verizon denies low iPhone sales: Verizon denied reports that its version of the iPhone is selling more poorly than anticipated. Verizon chief executive Daniel Mead said that lower in-store sales were due to high demand for the handset on the Internet. Mead told the Wall Street Journal that 60 percent of the iPhone's sales on the network were online. When Verizon launched its version of the iPhone, many were surprised not to see the long lines outside stores that normally accompany an iPhone's debut.

Congress moves to overhaul patent law: As reported in The Washington Post, the Senate is taking up the Patent Reform Act, looking to revamp patent law, which has remained largely unchanged for decades. According to the report, it now takes about three years to get a patent approved -- a wait that often discourages new patent applicants. The new bill introduces provisions to cut down on patent litigation and creates a "micro-class" for those who have applied for fewer than five patents in the past. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R-Utah) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are co-sponsoring the bill.

Facebook tries out new privacy policy: After struggling with privacy issues, Facebook has released a revamped version of its privacy policy written in plainer English. In a blog post about the new changes, Facebook said there are three criteria that must be present in a privacy policy.

1. First, it should be easy to understand, even when the concepts are complicated, or it is of no use to anyone.
2. Second, it should be visual and interactive, because that's the way people use the web today.
3. And third, it should focus on the questions people who use Facebook are most likely to ask, because that makes it relevant.

In addition to some revamped language, the new policy makes use of different font sizes, hyperlinks and screenshots to make it easier to understand.

Vodafone sees UK break-in: In the United Kingdom, some mobile users found that their phones had lost all connectivity. Vodafone confirmed the outage was due to equipment damage, possibly from vandalism. In a statement to TechRadar, the company said, "We had a break in last night at one of our technical facilities which resulted in damage done to some of our equipment. This means that some customers may be experiencing temporary loss of voice, SMS and internet services. We are working quickly to restore these and will be back to normal as soon as we can. There has been no impact on the privacy of customers' data."

By Hayley Tsukayama  | February 28, 2011; 8:20 AM ET
Categories:  Google, Social media, Verizon  
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