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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Today’s Scuttlebot: Bitcoin Sell-Off and an Apple Star

The technology reporters and editors of The New York Times scour the Web for important and peculiar items. Wednesday's selections look at the impact of government surveillance revelations on digital currency trading and at a software executive's good reviews at an Apple event.

After Long Night of Counting, Post-Election Celebrations in Iran

The Lede followed developments in Iran on Saturday, where Hassan Rowhani, a moderate cleric supported by the country’s reformist movement, was declared the winner of Friday’s presidential election.

3:36 P.M. Joy and Relief on the Streets of Iran

As Bahman Kalbasi of BBC Persian notes, reports from Tehran suggest that joy over the victory of the reformist candidate is mixed with widespread relief at the end of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two terms in office.

Arash Azizzada of Voice of America’s Persian News Network in Washington just received video of wild celebrations in Borujerd, in western Iran, a bastion of support for Mehdi Karroubi, one of the leaders of the 2009 post-election protests who is currently under house arrest.

We are going to wrap up this live blog with links to another few striking images and reports, but will return in the days ahead to report on the extraordinary developments in Iran.

For the latest news from Iran, read my colleague Thomas Erdbrink’s report, which will be updated throughout the day and night.

3:30 P.M. Full White House Statement on Iran’s Election

Here is the complete text of a statement from the White House on the election of Hassan Rowhani as Iran’s next president:

We have seen the announcement by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran that Hojjatoleslam Doctor Hassan Rouhani has been declared the winner of Iran’s presidential election. We respect the vote of the Iranian people and congratulate them for their participation in the political process, and their courage in making their voices heard. Yesterday’s election took place against the backdrop of a lack of transparency, censorship of the media, Internet, and text messages, and an intimidating security environment that limited freedom of expression and assembly. However, despite these government obstacles and limitations, the Iranian people were determined to act to shape their future.

It is our hope that the Iranian government will heed the will of the Iranian people and make responsible choices that create a better future for all Iranians. The United States remains ready to engage the Iranian government directly in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

1:55 P.M. More on Rowhani’s Remarks

Following remarks by Hassan Rowhani on state television â€" summarized by Borzou Daragahi of The Financial Times on Twitter â€" more reports and images of celebrations by his supporters across Iran have appeared on social networks.

1:37 P.M. Remarks From Iran’s Supreme Leader and President-Elect

As celebrations continue on the streets, Iran’s ruling cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the president-elect, Hassan Rowhani have just spoken, Iranian journalists and bloggers report.

According to Abas Aslani, the director of Iran’s Fars News Agency, Mr. Rowhani thanked both the former presidents who now lead the reformist movement, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, and the supreme leader.

Mr. Rowhani, who was Iran’s nuclear negotiator during the Khatami presidency, also spoke of his hopes to engage with other nations in pursuit of peace.

Monavar Khalaj, who reports for The Financial Times from Tehran, noted that Mr. Rowhani, the candidate of “hope and prudence,” also described his election as a victory for moderation over extremism.

Among the images of celebration by Mr. Rowhani’s purple-clad supporters posted online, there were also some symbols of the opposition Green Movement that contested the results of the last presidential election in 2009.

12:46 P.M. Supreme Leader Congratultes President-Elect Rowhani

Iran’s ruling cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has congratulated President-Elect Hassan Rowhani, my colleague Thomas Erdbrink reports on Twitter.

More images of the celebrations in Tehran, and text accounts from witnesses, have been posted on Instagram by Iranian bloggers.

A blogger in the city of Mashhad, where Mr. Rowhani held a large rally this week, uploaded an image of his supporters celebrating in the streets there.

As Saeed Kamali Dehghan on The Guardian notes, an Iranian researcher in London has produced a useful overview of the vote totals in a Google Doc.

12:39 P.M. Images of Celebration in Iran Spread Online

Iranian bloggers and journalists are sharing images of the celebrations taking place in Iran on Saturday, and reporting chants for the detained opposition leaders Mir Hussien Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

12:22 P.M. Amid Celebrations, Defeated Candidates Concede

Amid celebrations on the streets of Tehran by supporters of Hassan Rowhani, the moderate cleric who was just declared the winner of Iran’s presidential election, the two conservative candidates who finished second and third the final count, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, and Saeed Jalili, Iran’s nuclear negotiator, have congratulated him.

From Oslo, the exiled Iranian blogger and activist Mojtaba Samienejad, who writes as @madyar, joined the celebrations online.

The announced result led some gloating online from Iranian bloggers who were heartened to see even the conservative Fars News Agency forced to publish the news that the ultraconservative candidates had failed to win.

11:52 A.M. Rowhani Declared Winner of Iran’s Presidential Election

Iran’s interior ministry just declared Hassan Rowhani, a moderate cleric supported by the reformists, the outright winner of the presidential election with a majority of the votes, according journalists and bloggers in Tehran, including my colleague Thomas Erdbrink, Abas Aslani, the director of Iran’s Fars News Agency and Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post.

Mr. Aslani, the Fars News director, notes that the victory must still be ratified by Iran’s unelected ruling cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The same source says that Mohammad Reza Aref, a reformer who dropped out of the race late in the campaign to throw his support behind Mr. Rowhani, is said to be in line to be one of the country’s new vice presidents.

11:47 A.M. Final Results Due Within the Hour, State TV Says

Iran’s interior ministry plans to release final results within the hour, according to Abas Aslani, the director of the Fars News Agency in Tehran.

Shiva Balaghi, an Iranian-American scholar at Brown, points out that similar information was just broadcast on the live stream of state television she is monitoring.

My colleague Thomas Erdbrink is with supporters of Hassan Rowhani, the reformist candidate who appears to have won almost exactly half the vote.

The activist blogger who writes on Twitter as @persiankiwi, a source for many during the 2009 protests, claims to be one of those celebrating on a central Tehran street near the Rowhani campaign headquarters.

11:25 A.M. Celebration Grows on Tehran Streets

Reporting via Twitter from the streets of Tehran, my colleague Thomas Erdbrink says the celebration is growing outside the campaign headquarters of Hassan Rowhani, the moderate cleric backed by the reformist camp, who seems to be closing in on victory in the presidential election.

Negar Mortazavi, monitoring Iranian social media from Washington, points to celebrations on Facebook too.

11:13 A.M. Celebrations as Vote Count Nears End

According to my colleague Thomas Erdbrink in Tehran, a cautious celebration has begun outside the campaign headquarters of the reformist candidate Hassan Rowhani, as the news that he seems to be closing in on an outright victory, with nearly all the votes counted, filters out.

Reza H. Akbari, a research associate at the the Stimson Center in Washington, notes that Iran’s semiofficial Mehr News Agency just reported that less than 7,000 ballot boxes remain to be counted, and the reformist retains his slim majority.

Thomas notes that a small number of people, wearing the purple color that symbolized the Rowhani campaign, are chanting for reform and a sarcastic farewell to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

A blogger writing on Twitter as @persiankiwi, a supporter of the 2009 Green Movement who claims to be a political activist in Tehran but has been mostly silent since then, just posted a series of updates on celebrations in Iran’s capital.

The blogger also posted a barbed look back at the very different vote-counting process and timetable four years ago.

10:46 A.M. Reformist Candidate Rowhani Holds Majority in New Tally
A screenshot of the running vote tally in Iran on the Web site of the international public opinion and research firm IPOS. A screenshot of the running vote tally in Iran on the Web site of the international public opinion and research firm IPOS.

The director of Iran’s Fars News Agency, which is close to the influential Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, reports on Twitter that the reformist cleric Hassan Rowhani still leads with slightly more than 50 percent of the votes in the latest official count of 32 million ballots released by Iran’s interior ministry minutes ago.

The research and polling firm Information and Public Opinion Solutions, which produced a poll just before the vote showing a surge in support for Mr. Rowhani, is keeping a running tally of the official numbers on its Web site.

According to my colleague Thomas Erdbrink in Tehran, supporters of Mr. Rowhani, who could be declared Iran’s next president within hours, seem determined not to provoke the authorities by spilling into the streets â€" not, at least, just yet.

The response seemed in keeping with the careful campaign slogan of a candidate who managed to inspire the hopes of reformist voters and yet avoid taunting the Islamic Republic’s unelected clerical authorities: “Hope. Prudence.”

According to bloggers in Iran, and residents of Tehran speaking to expatriate Iranian journalists, the desire for change drove many citizens to vote, despite the disappointment of the last election, and calls from exiled activists for a boycott of the poll.

As the Iranian-American writer Hooman Madj noted earlier, the fact that Mr. Rowhani must get more than 50 percent of the total ballots cast, including those intentionally spoiled as an act of protest, could cause some regret from reformists who did not expect this result.

It remains possible that the cleric could end up with slightly more than 50 percent of the valid votes counted, but slightly less than 50 percent of the total votes, making a second-round runoff possible.

10:08 A.M. Rowhani With More Than 50 Percent in Latest Count

As my colleague Thomas Erdbrink reported from Tehran within the last hour, Iran’s state television announced that the reformist cleric Hassan Rowhani has maintained a commanding lead in the latest vote count released by interior ministry.

The focus now is on whether or not the reformist will finish with a clear majority of the votes, or be forced into a second-round runoff with his nearest challenger, the conservative mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf. Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post correspondent in Tehran, notes that as Mr. Rowhani was narrowly above that mark according to the latest information.

As excitement built in the reformist camp at the possibility of an outright win, Iran’s unelected ruling cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, claimed on his Twitter feed that a similar wave of joy had greeted the disputed victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.

According to Najmeh Bozorgmehr, reporting from Tehran for The Financial Times, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a two-term former president who called for greater freedom during protests in 2009, and was barred from running this year, has started calling Mr. Rowhani “the president-elect.”

Love and Hate for Apple\'s New Mobile Software

Apple this week unveiled a major redesign for iOS, the mobile software system running on iPhones and iPads. The software, called iOS 7, adopts a “flat” design principle that simplifies the look, while introducing thin typography and a vibrant color palette.

After Apple demonstrated iOS 7, Twitter lit up with reactions from designers, Apple fans and even some former Apple employees. The responses were polarized: Some loved the new design, while others despised it.

Here's a sampling of tweets from notable people in the technology industry.

Andrew Borovsky, a former Apple designer who now works at Square, said the operating system was not designed for everyday people.

John Gruber, owner of Daring Fireball, an influential Apple fan blog, could not begin to fathom why anyone would dislike iOS 7.

Khoi Vinh, a former design director for The New York Times who is now an app developer, suggested that Scott Forstall, Apple's former head of mobile software who was fired last year, did not have much to worry about.

Matt Gemmell, an Apple app developer, didn't like some elements of the operating system, but he was otherwise positive about the overall improvements.

Sebastiaan de With, chief creative officer of DoubleTwist, the maker of a music app for mobile devices, disliked the icons and the typography of the system.

Josh Brewer, a designer at Twitter, wondered whether Apple had thoroughly tested iOS 7 before going with this approach.

Google Offers Some Detail About How It Transfers Data to the Government

Google has offered a few more details about how it shares user data with the government, including in response to national security requests.

As The New York Times reported on Tuesday, when Google is legally required to hand over data about its users, it usually delivers it using a file-transferring technology called secure FTP, David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, said in an interview on British television.

FTP is a simple way to upload and download files sent between parties - like an online file folder. Either party can operate the secure FTP server that the files flow through. In an interview on PBS NewsHour, Mr. Drummond indicated that the secure FTP server is on the government's machines and not on Google's.

“We deliver it to them, we push it out to them,” said Mr. Drummond, who was speaking from Amsterdam. “They don't come access it through any machines at Google.”

The New York Times reported on Friday that the National Security Agency‘s secret Internet surveillance program, Prism, involved electronically transmitting data - though not automatically or in bulk - in compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. While the government asked the companies to make a secure lockbox, the article said, the companies responded in d ifferent ways.

Mr. Drummond's statement on Tuesday provides some clarity on how Google electronically transfers data in response to government requests, including national security requests.

Some lawyers who respond to national security requests for tech companies described the systems as nothing more than a 21st-century way to transfer files. Every government request is reviewed by a person, they said, but once it is time to hand over the data, it is more efficient to use the Internet than to print pages and mail them or burn a CD, for instance. (FTP, however, is hardly new, having existed in some form for about four decades.)

Mr. Drummond spoke publicly about the issue for the first time as part of a day of damage control to quell the criticisms after the Prism revelations.

Though Google and the other tech companies have repeatedly said they do not provide the government with direct access to their servers and only comply with lawful government requests, many questions remain about how the government surveillance program works.The companies have said they are restricted from saying more by government gag orders.

“There are a lot of misimpressions that are out there,” Mr. Drummond said on British television. “We feel very strongly that we've got to set the record straight.”

He also published a letter on Tuesday asking the government for permission to reveal more information about the number and scope of national security requests, and Microsoft and Facebook followed suit.

The delivery mechanism, people at tech companies have said, is not as important as the data that governments ask the companies to turn over, which is why they asked to reveal more information about the data requests.

Google Says It Has Uncovered Iranian Spy Campaign

Google said on Wednesday that it had uncovered a vast Iranian spy campaign that had been targeting tens of thousands of Iranian citizens over the last three weeks.

“These campaigns, which originate from within Iran, represent a significant jump in the overall volume of phishing activity in the region,” the company said in a blog post. “The timing and targeting of the campaigns suggest that the attacks are politically motivated in connection with the Iranian presidential election on Friday.”

The company said that thousands of its users inside Iran had been the targets of a sophisticated e-mail phishing campaign in which attackers send users a link that, when clicked, sent them to a fake Google sign-in page where the attackers could steal login credentials.

The surveillance campaign is just the latest evidence that political groups are increasingly using digital means to keep tabs on their opposition. During elections last April in Malaysia, security researchers at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab found evidence that servers in Malaysia were running FinSpy, a surveillance tool sold to governments by the British surveillance firm Gamma Group. According to security researchers, the targets appeared to be members of Malaysia's opposition party.

Google would not say how it had traced the current spy campaign to Iran because it did not want to tip off attackers. It did say, however, that it was confident the attackers were the same ones behind a sophisticated attack in 2011 on DigiNotar, a Dutch company that sells certificates that validate the security of a Web site. By compromising the certificate authority, the attackers were able to intercept users' Web traffic and compromise their computers.

Security researchers who analyzed the DigiNotar attack believe the company was compromised by Iran or hackers working on its behalf. By tying the latest Iranian phishing campaign to Iran, Google's findings on Wednesday seemed to confirm that Iran was also behind the DigiNotar attack.

Of the DigiNotar attack, Phil Zimmermann, a pioneer of encryption software, said, “There are thousands of Iranian dissidents in prison today because of that.”

Compared with the public uproar that followed Iran's 2009 elections, the run-up to this week's elections has been tightly controlled. Many leaders of the 2009 opposition have fled the country, been silenced or jailed. The two main presidential challengers in those elections, Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, remain under house arrest.

Secret Surveillance Court May Reveal Some Secrets

The secret court that adjudicates national security-related information requests lifted the veil on its operations a tiny bit on Wednesday, ruling that portions of one of its earlier opinions could be disclosed to the public.

The ruling came in a case by the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation. It had pressed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow one of its opinions to be disclosed under a Freedom of Information Act request. The government argued that there is good reason to keep the case sealed.

The court said it saw no reason to prohibit disclosing the documents sought under the Freedom of Information request. It left it to a federal court in the District of Columbia to make a ruling on the specific Freedom of Information Act litigation.

In other words, the court said it would not stand in the way of another court, if it ruled in favor of the organization's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

“The victory today was a modest one,” E.F.F. wrote in a blog post announcing the decision.

The actions of the court have been the subject of fierce public debate ever since last week's disclosures, first reported in The Guardian and The Washington Post, of widespread telephone and Internet surveillance efforts authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. On Tuesday, bipartisan legislation was introduced in the Senate calling for the Attorney General to declassify portions of the surveillance court's opinions, at least its interpretations of the law.

“It is impossible for the American people to have an informed public debate about laws that are interpreted, enforced, and adjudicated in complete secrecy,” Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, one of the co-sponsors of the bill said in a statement.

The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, earlier this year asked the court to summarize its major opinions, at least explaining its legal reasoning, while excising the classified facts of the case. The court's chief justice, Reggie B. Walton, wrote back, explaining why that was not feasible. For one thing, the judge said, summaries would miss out on “the more nuanced or technical point of a court's analysis.” He added, “For FISC opinions specifically, there is also the very real problem of separating the classified facts from the legal analysis.”

Microsoft to Open Mini-Stores Inside Best Buy

It isn't hard to find a place to buy a Windows computer. What's missing, apparently, is the right kind of place.

To correct that, Microsoft and Best Buy announced a plan on Thursday to create 600 Windows stores within existing Best Buy retail locations in the United States and Canada. The Windows stores, at 1,500 to 2,200 square feet, will be the biggest stores-within-a-store at Best Buy, which has similar dedicated areas for Samsung and Apple products.

The partnership is an effort to give a lift to Windows 8, Microsoft's latest operating system, which has failed to reverse declines in shipments of personal computers since it came out last fall. Microsoft is investing much more heavily in the retail side of the business, where Apple has a distinct advantage with its stores.

Microsoft currently has almost 70 Microsoft-owned retail stores, about 30 of which are “pop-up stores” in shopping malls and other locations.

Since Windows already runs on the vast majority of personal computers sold in Best Buy stores today, the deal between the companies is really a renovation of the stores' existing computer departments. Walls will be decorated with Windows logos and spacious new tables will display Windows computers. An additional 1,200 workers will be hired to work exclusively in the Windows departments.

“We've learned again and again that dedicated, trained people makes such a difference when helping customers,” said Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer for Windows at Microsoft.

Smartphone Makers Pressed to Address Growing Theft Problem

1:16 p.m. | Updated This post was changed to include the name of the company that estimated the total cost of cellphone theft.

Seeking to curb a nationwide increase in smartphone thefts, New York's attorney general and San Francisco's district attorney on Thursday announced an initiative to push the industry to develop technologies that will discourage theft and dry up the market for stolen devices.

The new group, the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative, will include prosecutors, political officials, law enforcement and consumer advocates from over a dozen states. The co-chairmen will be the New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, and the San Francisco district attorney, George Gascón.

Mr. Gascón and Mr. Schneiderman were scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon with representatives from Apple, Samsung, Google's Motorola unit and Microsoft, which have about 90 percent of the smartphone market.

“It is totally unacceptable that we have an epidemic of crime that we believe can be eliminated if the technological fixes that we believe are available are put into place,” Mr. Schneiderman said.

The coalition is encouraging manufacturers to equip all smartphones with a “kill switch.” When consumers reported to providers that their cellphone had been stolen, the phone, like a stolen credit card, would be rendered inoperable.

“For the thieves who would steal them,” Mr. Schneiderman said, the phones would be “nothing more than a paperweight.”

The loss and theft of cellphones cost consumers over $30 billion in 2012, according to a recent study by Lookout, a San Francisco mobile security company. About 113 smartphones are lost or stolen each minute in the United States and, according to the Federal Communications Commission, cellphone thefts account for 30 to 40 percent of all robberies nationwide. In New York City, the thefts increased 40 percent last year alone.

“The industry has the moral and the social obligation to fix this problem,” Mr. Gascón said. “There are very few things that can be fixed with a technological solution, and this is one of them.”

Apple said on Monday that its next mobile operating system, iOS7, to be released in the fall, has a new feature called Activation Lock that will help to thwart theft. An Apple representative was not immediately available to comment.

Though he did not specify how the coalition would make manufacturers comply with its demands, Mr. Schneiderman said, “The stakes here are very high and we intend to pursue this with every tool in our toolbox.”

Apple E-Book Negotiator Defends Tactics in Trial

Apple Negotiator Defends Tactics in E-Book Trial

Louis Lanzano/Associated Press

Eddy Cue, center, of Apple as he left Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday.

A top executive at Apple who was a close associate of Steve Jobs said on Thursday that he had thrown himself into negotiations with the major publishing houses as Apple entered the e-book market because “Steve was near the end of his life.”

The executive, Eddy Cue, Apple's lead negotiator with the publishers, said he was determined to close deals that would allow them to sell their e-books on Apple's iBookstore in time for the introduction of the iPad in early 2010.

“I wanted to be able to get that done in time for that because it was really important to him,” Mr. Cue said, referring to Mr. Jobs. He was testifying in Federal District Court in Manhattan in the civil antitrust trial brought against Apple by the Justice Department.

“I pride myself on being successful, but this had extra meaning to me,” Mr. Cue added.

Those sped-up negotiations attracted the attention of the government, which filed a lawsuit against Apple and five publishers in April 2012. Mr. Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, died of cancer in October 2011.

Mr. Cue, the highest-ranking Apple executive to take the stand so far in a trial that began almost two weeks ago, mounted a vigorous defense of Apple, which is accused of colluding with the publishers to fix e-book prices.

Through a nearly full day of testimony on Thursday, Mr. Cue denied that he had encouraged publishers to impose a new business model on other retailers, including Amazon.com. Shown a slide displaying what the government has repeatedly called a “spider web” of communications among the publishing executives, Mr. Cue said he did not know that the executives, from publishers including the Penguin Group USA and Simon & Schuster, were talking to one another during their negotiations with him.

“I struggled and fought with them,” he said. “If they were talking to each other, I believe I would have had a much easier time getting those deals done.”

But he also revealed details of an unusually long and close working relationship between him and Mr. Jobs.

Mr. Cue, Apple's senior vice president for Internet software and services, said he spoke or e-mailed with Mr. Jobs at nearly every step of the negotiations, once calling him on his way to the airport as he left a round of talks with publishers in New York.

In one e-mail, Mr. Jobs questioned Mr. Cue about the fledgling iBookstore. “Are we going to let anyone self-publish? Does Amazon?” he wrote.

“Yes and yes,” Mr. Cue replied.

After publishers signed agreements with Apple, shocking the publishing industry, Mr. Jobs e-mailed Mr. Cue: “Wow, we have really lit the fuse on a powder keg.”

The focus of the government's questioning turned to December 2009 and January 2010, when Mr. Cue repeatedly flew to New York, met with publishers and tried to reach deals to make their e-books available in the iBookstore on the soon-to-be-unveiled iPad.

For publishers, the appeal of Apple getting into the e-book market was enormous. Amazon, which had introduced its Kindle e-reader in 2007, commanded a 90 percent share of e-book sales at the time. But the default price for newly released and best-selling books on Amazon.com was $9.99, a paltry sum in the publishers' eyes and one that undermined the value of the authors' work and cannibalized hardcover sales.

Apple encouraged publishers to switch to a so-called agency model, in which the publishers set the price of a book and the retailer takes a commission. Previously, e-books had been sold on a wholesale model, where the retailer pays the publisher about half the list price, then is free to set another price. The agency model prevented Amazon from sharply discounting the books.

Five publishers - the Penguin Group USA, the Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Macmillan - have already settled with the government. But Apple, intent on protecting Mr. Jobs's legacy, is fighting the charges in a nonjury trial that was expected to last several weeks.

The defense was questioning Mr. Cue when the day ended and he will return to the stand when the trial continues on Monday.

Lawrence Buterman, a lawyer for the Justice Department, occasionally raised his voice while he questioned Mr. Cue for several hours before a packed courtroom presided over by Judge Denise L. Cote.

“Isn't it true, sir, that throughout your negotiations with the publishers, that you constantly pitched the deal that you were proposing as a way for them to change the entire e-books market?” Mr. Buterman said.

“No, that is not true,” Mr. Cue said.

Mr. Buterman asked Mr. Cue about a previous statement by David Shanks, the chief executive of the Penguin Group USA, that Penguin would only sign a deal with Apple if three other major publishers had done so first.

“Did that strike you as a little bit like, ‘I'm only doing this deal if my competitors do it?' “ Mr. Buterman said.

“It's not unusual,” Mr. Cue said. “Nobody likes to be the first to sign. Everybody thinks that you get a better deal by signing last.”

According to Mr. Cue, Apple approached the negotiations with publishers the same way it did with record companies and other content providers in the iTunes store.

After Apple and other retailers started selling e-books on the agency model, prices on many best-selling and new books rose to the $12.99 to $14.99 range, infuriating many consumers.

“Who protected them?” Mr. Buterman said.

“I did,” Mr. Cue said.

“By charging them higher prices?” Mr. Buterman said.

A version of this article appeared in print on June 14, 2013, on page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: Apple Negotiator Defends Tactics in an E-Book Trial.

Tech Pushes to Keep Its Spoils in Immigration Bill

Keen to hold on to its winnings in a landmark Senate immigration bill, the technology industry this week put on what one lobbyist called “a full court press” on Capitol Hill, dispatching executives and entrepreneurs to buttonhole lawmakers and rallying people in the industry to dispatch e-mails, telephone calls and Twitter messages to Congress.

Human resource department heads from eight of the country's largest technology companies popped into the offices of more than a dozen members of Congress. A new group called Engine Advocacy, which has focused on a so-called start-up visa for foreign entrepreneurs, sent its representatives to the Hill and set up a new online platform, called www.keepushere.org, to encourage techies to send Twitter posts to members of Congress. And yet another industry-led coalition, called Partnership for a New American Economy, and supported by New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, was rallying supporters to aim at crucial senators, state by state, to support the bill with a “virtual march.”

The efforts all point to a wave of unprecedented effort by Silicon Valley firms to make sure the overhaul of the federal immigration law goes in their favor. The omnibus bill, which arrived on the full Senate floor this week after intense negotiations in the Judiciary Committee, contains several provisions directed specifically at the technology sector. It makes it easier for foreign students who get science and engineering degrees at American universities to get permanent residency, creates a new temporary visa for entrepreneurs, and in the most contested clause, vastly expands how many temporary contract workers can be brought into this country under so-called H-1B visas, while also raising the minimum wages they must be paid.

The delicate political agreement could still fall apart, and for Silicon Valley, the temporary work visas expansion is by far the most delicate piece. Labor groups say the law should require these companies to hire Americans first. Industry groups call that undue regulatory interference. Both sides have tried to muster evidence to back their claims. And this week, the industry upped the ante by bringing human resources managers directly to Washington to persuade Congress of their need to bring in foreign workers to fill job openings. Organized by the Information Technology Industry Council, a trade group that includes companies like Apple and Oracle, the hiring managers told lawmakers that the demand for talent is so competitive that they sometimes blatantly poach from one another.

There are likely to be more calls on the Senate floor to require companies to show that they are making efforts to hire Americans.

Meanwhile, Senator Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas, introduced an amendment Wednesday to lower the investments that an entrepreneur would need to get permanent residency. The current bill requires a foreign entrepreneur to raise $100,000 in investments to gain a temporary visa and $500,000 for permanent residency. Among other things, the amendment would lower those thresholds: anyone who raises $250,000 in investments would be eligible for permanent residence.

The biggest push is yet to come. All eyes are on what the industry's newest, most well-financed lobby, Fwd.us, backed by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, will do next. It has stepped into the immigration fight with expensive television advertisements for key Republicans who backed the immigration bill in the Senate Judiciary. Those ads included a television spot that praised the Keystone XL pipeline, a pet project of key Republican senators, and it cost Fwd.us support from some of its backers in Silicon Valley. It remains to be seen what kinds of political advertisements the group will bankroll next, and who they will back.

Facebook Discloses Basic Data on Law-Enforcement Requests

12:10 a.m. Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Updated Added Microsoft's release of more data on Friday night.

Facebook on Friday disclosed for the first time how many requests for data about its 1.1 billion users it had gotten from law enforcement authorities in the United States.

The social networking company said that in the last six months of 2012, it had 9,000 to 10,000 requests for information about its users from local, state and federal agencies. Those requests covered 18,000 to 19,000 user accounts.

“These requests run the gamut - from things like a local sheriff trying to find a missing child, to a federal marshal tracking a fugitive, to a police department investigating an assault, to a national security official investigating a terrorist threat,” the company's general counsel, Ted Ullyot, said in a blog post disclosing the data.

Facebook said it was legally prohibited from saying how many of the data requests were related to national security. But generally speaking, the vast majority of the law-enforcement data requests received by tech companies are for other matters, like local criminal cases.

Facebook's disclosure comes after negotiations with the federal government that began after the first news reports a week ago about the National Security Agency's secret Prism surveillance program. Those reports revealed that a number of American Internet companies, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, had secretly provided data about foreigners to the United States government under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The tech companies have also secretly provided data to the F.B.I. under National Security Letters, which the government uses to gather information about Americans.

Under federal law, companies generally cannot disclose even the existence of national security data requests they receive. But in recent days, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have been pressing the government for permission to share more information.

“We're pleased that as a result of our discussions, we can now include in a transparency report all U.S. national security-related requests (including FISA as well as National Security Letters) â€" which until now no company has been permitted to do,” Mr. Ullyot wrote. “As of today, the government will only authorize us to communicate about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range. This is progress, but we're continuing to push for even more transparency.”

Google had previously published a transparency report that included N.S.L. but not FISA data requests. Microsoft's recent transparency report similarly excluded FISA requests but included National Security Letters.

Late Friday, after Facebook's data release, Microsoft provided similar information about requests for data that it had received from law enforcement at all levels of government.

For the six months ending Dec. 31, 2012, Microsoft received between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from governmental entities in the United States, the company's deputy general counsel, John Frank, said in a statement.

“We have not received any national security orders of the type that Verizon was reported to have received that required Verizon to provide business records about U.S. customers,” Mr. Frank said.

This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: June 15, 2013

An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Microsoft's transparency report. It included National Security Letters requests, but excluded FISA requests. It did not exclude both types of national security requests.

A version of this article appeared in print on 06/15/2013, on page B2 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Facebook Offers View Of Requests For User Data.

Google Calls U.S. Data Request Disclosures a Step Backward for Users

Even as the government gave tech companies permission to publish some data on national security requests for user data, Google said it did not go far enough.

Facebook and Microsoft on Friday night published data that for the first time included national security requests authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which are broad surveillance orders that prohibit recipients from acknowledging their existence. The companies, led by Google, had been publicly pressing the government to let them publish the data since Tuesday, in an attempt to quell anxiety among consumers after revelations of the government's secret Internet surveillance program.

But the government gave the companies permission to publish the numbers only if they were grouped with all other government requests, including those from state and local governments and for criminal cases, making it very difficult to glean any information about the national security requests.

Google already publishes a transparency report that separates requests by country and type, including search warrants, subpoenas and national security letters. The report does not include FISA requests.

On Friday, the company issued a statement saying that publishing data that combines criminal and national security requests would be even less transparent than the data it currently publishes, and that it would continue to push the government for permission to publish the number and scope of the FISA requests it receives.

“Lumping the two categories together would be a step back for users,” the statement said. “Our request to the government is clear: to be able to publish aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures, separately.”

Google and other tech companies have said they want to disclose the information in part to correct misimpressions about their participation in government surveillance. While some have pushed back on requests, they are forced to comply with lawful orders, yet are unable to talk about them.

Twitter, which also publishes a transparency report but does not include national security requests because of silence orders, issued a statement in support of Google.

“We agree with @Google: It's important to be able to publish numbers of national security requests - including FISA disclosures - separately,” Benjamin Lee, Twitter's legal director, wrote on Twitter.

Facebook had never published data on government requests for user data until Friday, because it had said the data was meaningless if it did not include national security requests. On Friday, Ted Ullyot, Facebook's general counsel, said in a statement that the company was still trying to get permission from the government to publish more detail.

John Frank, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, wrote in a blog post, “We continue to believe that what we are permitted to publish continues to fall short of what is needed to help the community understand and debate these issues.”