OVERNIGHT TECH: Facebook unveils 'graph search' feature

THE LEDE: Facebook unveiled a new search feature on Tuesday that lets people find photos, people, places and interests relevant to their friends and others across the social network.

For example, users can search for friends they have on the social network that live in their city, family members that enjoy cycling, or even restaurants in San Francisco. 

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In a release, the company was careful to note that its new "graph search" feature varied from typical Web searches, such as ones on Google, because "every piece of content on Facebook has its own audience, and most content isn't public." In accordance with its privacy policy, people will only be able to see content on the social network that they already were able to view, Facebook said.

Facebook partnered with Microsoft's Bing search engine team to launch the new feature, and Web search results on Bing will appear when people want to search "beyond Facebook," Derrick Connell, a corporate vice president for Bing's search team, said in a company blog post.

The launch of the new feature is Facebook's latest attempt to have users spend more time on its network without having to click over to another website to find other content, such as a restaurant, book or online retailer, The New York Times said.

The graph search feature is still in its beta testing phase and will only be available to a small group of its users that use Facebook in U.S. English. People can sign up to get on the wait list for the new feature on the social network's website. 

McCaul weighs in on cybersecurity executive order: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) viewed a draft of the Obama administration's cybersecurity executive order when he met last month with Michael Daniel, the White House cybersecurity coordinator. In regards to his read of the draft, McCaul said "it's not bad," but warned "there are some provisions that I think the private sector may view as a little more regulatory in nature."

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"Hopefully they can work that out," he said.

The release of the executive order will prompt Congress to act more quickly on cybersecurity legislation this year, McCaul said. He noted that White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan played a role in crafting in the executive order and that the administration will likely hold back on releasing it until he is finished going through the confirmation process for his nomination as CIA director.

McCaul speculated that the White House could release the order next month, emphasizing that nothing was certain at this point.

AT&T faces new net-neutrality complaint: Public Knowledge accused AT&T on Tuesday of violating the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality regulations by favoring its own cellphone customers on its microcells. 

Microcells act as tiny cellphone towers that allow AT&T's home broadband customers to boost their cellphone coverage. 

Data from an AT&T wireless phone does not count against a customer's home broadband cap.

Michael Weinberg, a vice president for Public Knowledge, slammed AT&T for "egregiously abusing data caps to give its own services advantages over competitors." 

"When providers give preferential treatment to data associated with their services, they undermine competition and inhibit innovation. This is precisely the type of discrimination at the core of the net neutrality debate," he said.

He urged the FCC and Congress to enact regulations to prevent companies from using data caps anti-competitively.

AT&T did not respond on Tuesday evening to a request to comment.

Leahy to lay out agenda: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will lay out his agenda for the new Congress in a speech at Georgetown University Law Center on Wednesday morning.

Leahy's top technology priority will likely be to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require that police obtain a warrant before reading people's emails, Facebook messages or other forms of electronic communication.

Leahy might also renew his push for legislation that would make it a crime for a company to hide a data breach from its customers. The bill, which Leahy pushed in the last Congress, would also require businesses that store consumers' sensitive personal information to establish data security programs.

Leahy has been active on the cybersecurity front, and has authored legislation that would stiffen penalties for hackers.

Lawmakers slam DOJ prosecution of Web activist Swartz: House lawmakers blasted federal prosecutors on Tuesday for pushing aggressive hacking charges against Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who killed himself on Friday.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) says his Oversight panel will look into whether federal prosecutors acted inappropriately. 

“The charges were ridiculous and trumped-up,” Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) told The Hill. “It's absurd that he was made a scapegoat. I would hope that this doesn't happen to anyone else.”

Eshoo to push cellphone info bill: Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that she intends to reintroduce legislation in the coming weeks that's aimed at ensuring consumers have complete information about pricing and service conditions before they sign up for for a mobile wireless contract.

Eshoo said it's imperative that mobile providers "accurately disclose terms and the conditions of services, including a clear and concise explanation of pricing," as well as explain whether they have a "network management policy that could impact a user's experience."

Poe expects Judiciary panel will act to limit spying by drones: The House Judiciary Committee could move to regulate the use of drones to conduct surveillance over U.S. skies during this Congress.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) said on Tuesday that he has spoken with Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) about the privacy risks of domestic drones.

"I think that's on his agenda, to have some kind of drone legislation during the Congress," Poe said following an event at the National Press Club to discuss drones.

Petition to fire DOJ lawyer hits threshold in wake of activist suicide: A White House petition to fire U.S. district attorney Carmen Ortiz surpassed the 25,000 signatures it needed for an official response on Monday, after an Internet activist Ortiz was prosecuting killed himself over the weekend.

As of Tuesday afternoon, nearly 29,000 had signed a petition, created on Saturday, calling Ortiz "a danger to the life and liberty of anyone who might cross her path."

— Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled "microcell."

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