The Circuit: Senators introduce Internet bill, Viacom returns to Hulu
LEADING THE DAY: Senators introduced a redraft of legislation yesterday that would authorize the president to shut down parts of the Internet in the event of a cybersecurity emergency. A similar bill was proposed in the last session of Congress, prompting several privacy and security organizations to express concern over the idea of allowing the government to shut down any part of the Internet.
Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) issued a joint statement clarifying that this bill would not grant the president the power to turn off the Internet in the same manner as Egypt's government, likely in response to those framing this as a "kill switch" bill.
“We would never sign on to legislation that authorized the President, or anyone else, to shut down the Internet," the statement said. "Emergency or no, the exercise of such broad authority would be an affront to our Constitution."
Viacom returns to Hulu: Viacom has struck a deal with Hulu to stream its content, meaning shows from networks such as Comedy Central will return after being pulled from the site in March 2010. The new agreement will see "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" return to Hulu.com, and make an array of Comedy Central, MTV, BET, VH1 and other Viacom network shows available on Hulu Plus.
Markey, Barton ask Facebook for more information: Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.) wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking for clarification on the social network's recently announced feature to allow application developers access to user phone numbers if granted permission. The feature caused a stir among Facebook users worried about the Web site's privacy settings and was suspended.
Markey and Barton, co-chairmen of the House privacy caucus, asked Zuckerberg to describe the feature, its function and its risks in a three-page letter. “Facebook needs to protect the personal information of its users to ensure that Facebook doesn’t become Phonebook," Markey wrote.
HP, Dell allow returns on laptops affected by Intel's $1 billion chip error: Hewlett-Packard and Dell announced that they will accept returns for products that shipped with the faulty Intel chipset. HP's statement said that customers can "return their affected product and choose a comparable product or receive a refund." HP spokeswoman Marlene Somsak told InformationWeek that the company is "evaluating our product roadmap in light of the industry issue." Dell issued a similar statement on Feb. 1, saying it is "committed to addressing this with customers who have already purchased one of the four products" affected by the problem, the XPS 8300, the Vostro 460, the Alienware M17x R.3 and the Alienware Aurora R.3. The products have been removed from Dell.com
In yesterday's Circuit, we linked to an Engadget article that said Intel's overall costs had risen to $1 billion, but Intel contacted us and said that figure is in line with its initial announcement of $300 million in costs for the current quarter and $700 million for replacement and repair costs.
Microsoft responds to Google claims of copying: In a Wednesday blog post titled, "Setting the record straight," Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's senior vice president for the Online Services Division, said that Google's claims that Bing is copying its search results are baseless. "It was interesting to watch the level of protest and feigned outrage from Google," he wrote "One wonders what brought them to a place where they would level these kinds of accusations."
Mehdi said, in no uncertain terms, that Bing does not copy search results and said Google's tactics to identify the similarities between the two search engine's results were little more than click fraud.
| February 3, 2011; 8:34 AM ET
Categories: Facebook, Google, International, Microsoft, Privacy
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