FTC’s Wright begins term: Joshua Wright started his term at the Federal Trade Commission Friday, replacing outgoing FTC commissioner J. Thomas Rosch. Wright, formerly a professor of law at George Mason University, has previously served as a visiting scholar in the Federal Trade Commission’s bureau of competition.
Wright has indirectly received funding from Google in the past and has said he will recuse himself from FTC cases involving the tech giant for the next two years.
Google and FTC recently announced a settlement over its business practices in which the company agreed to curb its use of industry-standard patents in intellectual property cases and revamp some of its advertising policies.
Obama signs VPPA: President Obama signed an update to the Video Privacy Protection Act, which will now allow for Facebook users to share what videos they have watched on Netflix and other sites over the social network.
The law had previously forbidden video rental services from publishing their customers’ rental histories. The law is a major win for Netflix, which lobbied heavily to change the bill’s definition of how users could consent to have their information published. The amendments to the VPPA, which passed the House and Senate easily, now allow users to consent to having titles published as part of the service and do not have to approve each, individual video.
Biden to meet with video game association: The Entertainment Software Association, the trade group for video game publishers, is meeting with Vice President Biden Friday to talk about their role in the nation’s gun control debate. While the National Rifle Association has been the most visible — and vocal — trade group in the talks that rose after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., the ESA and Motion Picture Association of America have also been called on to address what many see as glorification of violence in popular media.
Biden will be joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Several major developers and publishers will also attend the discussions, as will media scholars, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board and major game retailer GameStop.
Homeland Security warns about Java: The Department of Homeland Security issued a warning Thursday advising members of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team to diable Java in Web browsers after uncovering a vulnerability that allows attackers to remotely execute code on computer systems.
According to the alert, attackers are already exploiting the vulnerability. It did not elaborate on what kind of code was being executed.
Sen. Rockefeller to retire: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D- W.V.) said Friday that he will not seek reelection after 30 years in the Senate. As chairman of the Senate committe on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Rockefeller has taken up several technology issues during his tenure in the Senate.
Last month, he proposed a bill that would direct the National Academy of the Sciences to investigate if there is a link between violent media and real-life violence. He has also been a vocal critic of “data brokers,” or firms that buy and sell personal data collected online.
In a statement, Rockefeller said he will use the remainder of his term to to focus on online privacy issues and to “secure the future” of the E-Rate program, which promotes connecting more classrooms to the Internet.