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Timothy B. Lee

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 02:25 PM ET, 09/07/2012

FCC circulates proposal for airwave auctions #thecircuit

FCC considers auctions: The Federal Communications Commission has a proposal to free up spectrum for wireless carriers by asking broadcasters to voluntarily give up airwaves for auction.

In a statement Friday, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said that he would schedule a vote on the proposal for the next commission meeting on Sept. 28.

He said that the commission fully expects “this process to strengthen both our mobile and broadcast industries, creating new opportunities and new benefits. In particular, many broadcasters will have a new and unique financial opportunity as a result of incentive auctions.”

In a statement Friday, the National Association of Broadcasters said that it looks forward to working on the proposal in the future.

“We have no quarrel with television stations choosing to voluntarily participate in the auction process,” said NAB president Dennis Wharton. He added that the group’s “overriding objective” is the “preservation of a vibrant future for free and local TV stations.”

White House drafts cybersecurity standards: The White House has drafted a preliminary executive order on cybersecurity, The Washington Post reported, following a failed attempt to get a comprehensive measure through Congress.

The draft would set voluntary guidelines for companies to follow when protecting against cyberattacks and would establish a council of government agencies to identify threats in critical sectors.

One official, speaking to the Post on the condition of anonymity, said that the administration believes that standards should be mandated, but that voluntary rules are “better than sitting around and waiting for legislation.”

Amazon’s Kindle Fire is just one part of service: When he introduced new versions of Amazon’s Kindle Fire Thursday, chief executive Jeff Bezos made an open admission that making money on the hardware isn’t what Amazon cares about.

“We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices,” Bezos said in a press event.

Analysts say that Amazon is the only company with the content portfolio deep enough to have any chance at taking on Apple in the tablet space.

“Every time Amazon makes an announcement, they make it that much harder for the hardware-only guys to survive,” said Tom Mainelli, an International Data Corp. analyst. “Amazon has basically said, ‘We’ll sell you the device for close to what it costs, but we’ll make money across the long haul.’”

Justice approves e-book settlement: A federal judge Thursday approved a Department of Justice settlement with a group of e-book publishers accused of colluding on e-book prices.

The publishers were named, along with Apple and two other publishing companies, in a Justice suit that accused the companies of trying to raise e-book prices.

In a statement, Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said “The department is pleased the court found the proposed settlement to be in the public interest and that consumers will start to benefit from the restored competition in this important industry.”

House Intelligence to hold hearing on Huawei, ZTE: The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing next Thursday looking for more information on telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE. Senior members of the committee Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) have asked executives of these companies for further details about the possibility that they have ties to the Chinese government, The Hill reported.

Earlier this week, Huawei released a cybersecurity white paper that said the company “does not and would not support, condone or conduct activities” to acquire or transmit sensitive information related to any country, company or individual, the report said.

By  |  02:25 PM ET, 09/07/2012

 
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