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SOPA debate adjourned, still on table

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The House Judiciary committee considering the Stop Online Privacy Act adjourned Friday with new new vote date set, reported the Guardian.

Hollywood media giants have heavily lobbied for the bill, that would crack down on online privacy, which they say has cost them billions in lost sales, according to the Guardian.

But several prominent web firms sent open letters to Congress, arguing the bill would halt innovation on the Internet, according to the Washington Post.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex., has introduced an amendment to address concerns that it would damage the infrastructure of the Internet, according to the Washington Post.

The debate is expected to resume when Congress resumes after the holiday break, according to the Guardian.

WebOS goes open source

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Hewlett-Packard will be open-sourcing webOS, its mobile operating system, according to the Verge.

The company will likely produce more webOS tablets in 2013, according to Chief Executive Meg Whitman, reported the New Zealand Herald.

It isn't yet clear exactly which portions of the massive webOS blanket will be released, according to the Verge.

The move comes months after the company reduced the price of its TouchPad tablet to $99 in an abandonment closeout sale, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Those devices will "continue to receive software improvements and updates in the future," said the press release, according to the Verge.

Al Franken presses Carrier IQ for privacy answers

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Al Franken, D-Minn., called on a cell phone information tracking company to explain what information it collects on Thursday after a researcher found potential security breaches by the software, according to The Verge.

Franken, chairman of the Senate's subcommittee on privacy, technology and law, sent a letter to Carrier IQ asking for a response by Dec. 14, according to a press release.

Carrier IQ develops software to help phone manufacturers and carriers gain information to better their products. But exactly what information they collect and transmit, and whether consumers can opt out is still unknown.

Chris Soghoian, a computer expert at Indiana University's Center for Applied Cybersecurity, said the software "is a gold mine for hackers," reported the Star Tribune.

80 percent of school districts pass levies

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Almost 80 percent of Minnesota school districts passed at least one school levy on Tuesday, according to KSTP.

Over half of all school levies in Minnesota were passed, reported the Pioneer Press.

These numbers are the best in Minnesota since 1997, according to the Minnesota School Boards Association, reported KSTP.

In the Twin Cities area, however, only two of the eight districts passed their levies, according to the Pioneer Press.

"People are willing to raise their taxes," said Bill Morris, an analyst for school districts told, according to the Pioneer Press.

Hackers plan to take down Iowa caucuses

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Anonymous, a worldwide group of computer hackers, announced plans to take down the Iowa caucuses, reported the Des Moines Register.

"Both parties are desecrating the American democracy and committing crimes against humanity on behalf of the American people," a video states, which Anonymous claims responsibility for, according to the Des Moines Register.

According to the Huffington Post, the intended attack follows others, including revealing the IP addresses of child porn viewers and a threat to take down Facebook.

The FBI has carried out 75 raids and arrested at least 16 people in connection to hacking operations claimed by Anonymous, and sees the group as a potential national security threat.

Redbox raises DVD rental prices

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Renting a DVD from Redbox will $1.20 per night, up from $1.00, starting Oct. 31, according to the Washington Post.

The company said the 20 cent increase is the only planned pricing increase, and month-long promotion will be offered, reported the Washington Post.

"The change is primarily due to the increase in operating expenses, including the recent increase in debit card interchange fees as a result of the Durbin Amendment," said Coinstar, the company that owns Redbox, reported TechCrunch.

The move came after Netflix raised its prices, and consequently lost 800,000 subscribers, according to TechCrunch.

Thailand flooding causes hard drive shortage

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Massive flooding in Thailand is crunching a massive portion of the hard drive industry, according to CRN.

Both of the world's leading suppliers of hard drives are affected, according to All Things D.

Analyst firm IHS iSuppli estimated that 25 percent of the world's hard drives are manufactured in Thailand, reported CRN.

Western Digital, a leading hard drive manufacturing company, has suspended operations in Thailand, along with several other technology companies, according to All Things D.

Western Digital COO Timothy Leyden said the flooding has also affected the company's test and slider facilities, according to CRN.

iPhone 4S breaks records

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Apple sold 1 million iPhone 4S's on the first day of pre-orders, almost doubling their previous record of 600,000 first-day sales, according to Forbes.

All three carriers for the new iPhone sold out of units, reported Forbes.

An unofficial Reuters poll showed that one in four purchasers came from different mobile devices.

"I am tired of the Blackberry issues, like stuff going down every six months," said fashion publicist Adam at the Times Square store, reported Reuters.

Apple says purchasers of the iPhone 4S today will receive theirs in one to two weeks, but that wait may become longer due to high demand, according to Forbes.

Apple sends (free) message to carriers

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Apple's new iOS software undercuts carriers by offering messaging that bypasses text plans, saving consumers money, according to PC Magazine.

The plan is modeled after Blackberry's similar feature, but the amount of iPhone users could create a larger problem for carriers.

Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, who covers the telecommunications industry, said, "There's a huge amount at stake here," according to the New York Times.

Over 2 trillion text messages are sent in the U.S. each year, according to the New York Times. This amounts to a $20 billion revenue stream for carriers.

Blackberry's messaging is a feature that keeps customers loyal, and Apple plans to jump on board this stickiness train with iMessage, reported the New York Times.

Blackhawks drop final exhibition game to Washington

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The Chicago Blackhawks lost their last exhibition game to the Washington Capitals on Sunday 1-4 at the Verizon Center, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Two late Chicago penalties stretched a close game into an insurmountable lead for the Capitals.

Peter LeBlanc was charged with a match penalty for a hit to the head, and will likely be suspended by new NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, reported the Associated Press.

Washington's Mike Green scored the dagger with just three minutes to play and a 5-3 advantage, thanks to a slashing call on Marian Hossa.

"It was a tough loss but we did lots of good things against a really good team," Hossa said, reported the Chicago Tribune.

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