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Posted at 9:40 AM ET, 02/18/2011

The Circuit: a revised 'kill switch' bill; Zynga raises almost $500 million; Apple anti-trust concerns

By Hayley Tsukayama

LEADING THE DAY: Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) have introduced a new version of their cybersecurity bill, titled the "Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act."

The senators have rewritten their bill to explicitly state that neither the president nor the executive of the proposed National Center for Cybersecurity has the authority to "shut down the Internet. According to a statement from the senators, the bill allows courts to review the executive branch's designations of systems as "covered critical infrastructure." Many critics of the previous bill said that having no opportunity for judicial review was a serious oversight.

Lieberman said he hopes the rewrite will put fears to rest. “We want to clear the air once and for all. As someone said recently, the term ‘kill switch” has become the ‘death panels’ of the cybersecurity debate," he said in the statement. "There is no so-called kill switch in our legislation because the very notion is antithetical to our goal of providing precise and targeted authorities to the President." It is "impossible to turn off the Internet in this country."

Zynga raises almost $500 million: The social game company Zynga has reportedly raised almost $500 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. The maker of games such as Farmville and Cityville is believed to be speaking with new investors. Citing people familiar with the situation, the Journal says that Zynga now has a valuation of up to $10 billion.

Subscription plan may land Apple in anti-trust investigation: Apple's new subscription plan raised the ire of developers and may have caught the attention of the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission. While developers are concerned with giving Apple a 30 percent cut, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC and Justice are more interested in Apple's policy that any subscription deal made outside of the app must also be made available in-app for the same price or less. The report said the agencies' interest is preliminary and may not lead to an investigation. A spokeswoman for the European Commission said that body is also carefully monitoring the situation.

New York imposes harsher penalties for driving and talking: Talking on your cell phone while driving can now cost New York drivers two points on their license. According to NY1, the state already charges drivers caught chatting behind the wheel $100; texting already costs you $150 and two points. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that distracted drivers caused 5,000 deaths last year.

Digital divide widens in U.S.: Poorer communities are often being shut out of the fastest download speeds, according to a report from The Washington Post. Data from the Commerce Department released Thursday found that Americans in lower-income and rural areas often have slower Internet connections than users in wealthier communities. While praising the study for drawing attention to a critical problem, experts have been critical, noting that the study used the advertised maximum speeds for data instead of measuring real speed, and also lacks pricing data.

President Obama has introduced an $18 million plan to provide high-speed internet access to 98 percent of the nation in five years.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | February 18, 2011; 9:40 AM ET
Categories:  Antitrust, Apple, DOJ, Digital Divide, FTC, Gaming, Privacy, cyber security, internet  
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Next: Pandora IPO echoes larger anxieties over Do Not Track

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