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Posted at 8:34 AM ET, 02/ 3/2011

The Circuit: Senators introduce Internet bill, Viacom returns to Hulu

By Hayley Tsukayama

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.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | February 3, 2011; 8:34 AM ET
Categories:  Facebook, Google, International, Microsoft, Privacy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Facebook treads carefully on Egypt, international takedowns
Next: The Circuit: Verizon sells out iPhone 4, throttles data; Hulu CEO in hot water; Apple's online ads beat TV ads

Comments

Unacceptable Senators absolutely unacceptable legislation under any circumstance. Right now the internet community is working to make sure no POTUS ever has the ability to make this possible.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | February 3, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

What is "the Internet" and how is it possible to shut "it" off?

Posted by: BoteMan | February 3, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

In Regard: "Kill Switch Bill", I'm sure that "We The People" of the
United States, would elect to pass this bill for our "Cyber Security"
safety. Technology, is one of the most important facets of information...the President of the United States, should have this option, should it become a necessary factor in the protection of the United States and "We The People."

Posted by: BocaVal | February 3, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

An Open Letter from Lieberman from a CT Resdient:

GTFO and do it now LIEberman. The Internet must remain open for our world to remain free. Nobody should be able to "switch" it off as Egypt just did.

Posted by: theobserver4 | February 3, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

First we saw with the bailout and continued bonus packages that Wall Street's interests were more important than the interests of the general public. Now it's Internet fans' interests that are supposed to be more important than our national security.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | February 4, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Everyone who has posted comments on this legislation needs to read the drafts and understand what you're commenting on instead of jumping to conclusions based on a three-paragraph summary article.

There is no "kill switch" provision and neither last year's draf nor this year's draft legislation gives the president the option to "shut down parts of the internet."

The intent of the legislation is to give the president the option to disconnect certain networks or disable traffic to/from those network when they pose a severe risk to U.S. critical infrastructure. That includes government agency networks and certain critical infrastructure like the power grid, dams and flood control systems, etc.

There is no intent to shut down the internet, which (as one commenter pointed out) is inherently designed not to be shut down and there is no centralized control point that could even allow the government to shut down all traffic.

So the tea baggers, conspiracy theorists, anarchists, etc should stop whining and educate yourselves before you bash the government on this particular issue.

Posted by: RufusPlimpton | February 7, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

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