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A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot Off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:

• Pakistan lifts Facebook ban

LAHORE, Pakistan — Pakistan lifted a ban on Facebook on Monday after officials from the social networking site apologized for a page deemed offensive to Muslims and removed its contents, a top information technology official said.

The move came almost two weeks after Pakistan imposed the ban amid anger over a page that encouraged users to post images of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims regard depictions of the prophet, even favorable ones, as blasphemous.

"In response to our protest, Facebook has tendered their apology and informed us that all the sacrilegious material has been removed from the URL," said Najibullah Malik, secretary of Pakistan’s information technology ministry, referring to the technical term for a Web page.

Facebook assured the Pakistani government that "nothing of this sort will happen in the future," Malik said.

Officials from the website could not immediately be reached for comment. They said earlier the contents of the "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" page did not violate Facebook’s terms.

The page encouraged users to post images of the prophet to protest threats made by a radical Muslim group against the creators of the American TV series "South Park" for depicting Muhammad in a bear suit during an episode earlier this year.

Pakistan blocked Facebook on May 19 following a ruling by one of the country’s highest courts. The Lahore High Court reversed its ruling Monday because of Facebook’s response, Malik said.

• Taiwan’s AsusTek unveils tablet computer

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s AsusTek Computer Inc. unveiled Monday a portable tablet computer that runs on Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system, joining a slew of manufacturers trying to tap demand for the sleek devices following Apple’s launch of the iPad.

AsusTek is among several Taiwanese computer makers to display tablet PCs at the five-day Computex Show in Taipei that opens Tuesday.

Acer Inc., the world’s second largest PC vendor, unveiled last week a 7-inch touchscreen tablet that like many other coming models runs on Android, the operating system that Google is distributing for free for mobile devices.

AsusTek’s touchscreen tablet, with the name of Eee Pad, comes in 10- and 12-inch sizes and is set to go on sale in the first quarter of 2011.

In addition to full Windows support, Company Chairman Jonney Shih said Eee Pad is equipped with a Web camera and runs Flash by Adobe Systems which will allow users to view YouTube and other video programs on the Internet.

The 10-inch Eee Pad will sell for $399 to $449. No price tag was given for the 12-inch model.

By contrast, Apple’s iPads cost $499, $599 or $699 depending on the data storage capacity. But iPads use the HTML5 standard and its lack of Flash support has alienated some users.

• Feds sue websites for offering free comic books

MIAMI — Six websites run by a Florida man violated federal copyright laws by allowing visitors to view Batman and other comic books for free without permission from the publishers or authors, government lawyers charge in a federal lawsuit.

ComicBooksFree.com, HTMLcomics.com, and PlayboyMonthly.com were among the domain names run by Gregory Steven Hart doing business as Database Engineers Inc. located in Tampa, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Tampa federal court.

"We have taken civil action to shut down the websites and take custody of the website domains," said Steve Cole, the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa.

A phone message was left Friday by The Associated Press with the company. An attorney for Hart was not named in the lawsuit, nor was a phone number listed for Hart. His company’s websites appeared to be no longer working Friday.

The FBI began investigating Hart in 2009. The site HTMLcomics.com provided a large number of copyrighted comic books and Hart was operating the site without the permission of either the publishers or authors who own the copyrights to those materials, the lawsuit says.

The publishers sent Hart letters demanding that he cease and desist distribution of copyrighted material, but Hart refused. By June 2009, HTMLcomics.com claimed to host over 100,000 issues.

In Nov. 2009, Hart was contacted by the attorneys for Marvel Comics Group, which own Spiderman and X-Men comics. He told them he designed the website, and although he did not personally own the comics being displayed, he received digital image files from people who scanned the comics and posted them on his website, the lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, Hart advised the attorneys that if no company agreed to a revenue-sharing arrangement, he would continue to operate the site without charging users to view the comics.
HTMLcomics.com received between 400,000 and 500,000 hits per day. The monthly cost

• Lawmaker seeks cooperation from Google, Facebook

WASHINGTON — The head of the House Judiciary Committee is asking Google Inc. and Facebook to cooperate with any government inquiries into privacy practices at both companies.

Michigan Democrat John Conyers sent letters to Google and Facebook on Friday amid mounting concern in Congress that the two online companies are not adequately protecting personal privacy on the Internet.

Facebook has come under fire for sharing user information with a handful of other online services as part of its new "instant personalization" program, which is intended to let Facebook members share their interests in everything from music to restaurants with others in their social network. The program draws information from a member’s profile to customize several other sites, including the music service Pandora.

Facebook simplified its privacy controls this week in response to the backlash among users. As part of the changes, it added a tool to make it easier for members to turn off the instant personalization service.

Conyers asked Facebook on Friday to provide details about its sharing of member information with third parties and about its privacy policies. Several privacy watchdog groups, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, have already filed a complaint against Facebook with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has been reviewing the privacy policies of Facebook and other social networks.

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said the company looks forward to meeting with Conyers’ staff to explain its privacy practices and policies.

Conyers stopped short of saying the Judiciary Committee will begin its own investigations into Facebook and Google.

Google recently admitted that it had sucked up fragments of e-mails, Web surfing behavior and other online activities over public Wi-Fi networks in more than 30 countries while it was photographing neighborhoods for its "Street View" mapping feature. The company said it discovered the problem following an inquiry by German regulators.

Conyers is asking Google to retain the data collected by its Street View cars along with related records until any federal and state inquiries are complete. At least two House members, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., have already asked the FTC to look into the matter and are seeking more information from Google about the incident.

Google already has hired a security consulting firm, iSEC partners, to make an encrypted copy of all the U.S. data collected by Street View to ensure the information is preserved, according to records in a federal lawsuit filed against the company in Portland, Ore. The judge overseeing that case has ordered Google to retain the data.

The FTC has yet to say whether it is investigating Google.