FCC releases report on 911 communications #thecircuit

FCC releases report on derecho, 911: Federal Communications Commission commissioner Julius Genachowski announced he will propose new rules to strengthen the resiliency of 911 services during disasters. The plans follow a report released by the FCC on Thursday investigating the effects that the summer’s derecho storm had on emergency 911 communications across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.

The report places blame for the communications breakdowns that occurred in the D.C. metro area and elsewhere on wire-line providers, saying they did not comply with their own emergency procedures.

In a statement, Genachowski said, “We can’t prevent disasters from happening, but we can work relentlessly to make sure Americans can connect with emergency responders when they need to most.”

California AG releases privacy report: On Thursday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris released a report suggesting several privacy policy recommendations for app developers. These include suggestions about how best to design apps, collect data and store data in ways that focus on user privacy.

Online trade association NetChoice applauded the report, but made it clear that they believe the guidelines best serve app developers by remaining suggestions.

“Legislators should not transform today’s helpful recommendations into tomorrow’s harmful laws,” said the group’s executive director, Steve DelBianco.

In a blog post, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation analyst Daniel Castro generally commended the report but outlined several points he feels are worth deeper exploration, including the report’s assertion that advertising is not a part of an app’s “basic functionality.”

Amazon offers free MP3s for purchased CDs: Amazon announced Thursday that it will give free digital versions of CD tracks to those who’ve purchased physical discs from the online retailer.

Called “AutoRip,” the service automatically adds MP3 versions of songs onto the company’s Cloud Player. According to a release from Amazon, the service will work not only with new CD purchases but any CD purchase made on Amazon since 1998. The feature doesn’t apply to every album, only those designated as “AutoRip” tracks. Amazon is rolling out an initial batch of 50,000 albums from several major record labels that will work with AutoRip, but it’s not a comprehensive feature.

Google’s Schmidt returns from North Korea: Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt called for North Korea to end a ban on Internet access in the country to open it to the rest of the world.

As Bloomberg reported, Schmidt said that North Korea must start opening up the Internet “or they will remain behind.” On his trip, Schmidt saw some of the country’s select Internet users — students using the Internet at Kim Il Sung University.

As the Associated Press noted, the trip could be seen running at odds with U.S. foreign policy efforts, particularly as the North Korean government may be able to use footage of Schmidt and other delegation members’ visit in propaganda footage.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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