Carriers agree to ramp up efforts for emergency text messages #thecircuit

December 7, 2012

Carriers to ramp up text-to-911 efforts: The nation’s top four carriers — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile — have agreed to accelerate their efforts to allow their customers to text emergency centers with their information, the Federal Communications Commission announced late Thursday.

According to a statement from the FCC, the carriers are expected to launch major deployments of emergency texting programs in 2013 and would like to reach nationwide availability by May 15, 2014.

The goal is to give over 90 percent of the country’s wireless consumers the ability to text information to 911 call centers.

“Access to 911 must catch up with how consumers communicate in the 21st century – and today, we are one step closer towards that vital goal,” said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement.

California app privacy suit: California attorney general Kamala Harris filed suit against Delta Thursday for alleged privacy violations carried out by the airline’s mobile application.

Harris said that the app had not properly notified users that it was collecting personally identifiable information. Her office sent a letter to Delta asking the company to come in line with the law, but Delta did not respond by posting a conspicuous privacy policy within 30 days of the law.

Delta spokesman Paul Skrbec said in a statement that the company does not comment on pending litigation.

FCC asks FAA to ease in-flight electronic rules: FCC chairman Julius Genachowski sent a letter Thursday to the Federal Aviation Administration asking the agency to consider “greater use” of electronics on airplanes, the Hill reported.

According to the report, Genachowski asked FAA acting administrator Michael Huerta to consider letting passengers use their devices more freely during flights. The FAA launched a study this summer to examine its policies, though it said it would not consider opening voice calls to passengers.

Netflix’s Hastings under SEC scrutiny: Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings disclosed Thursday that a Facebook post discussing metrics from the video-streaming site drew scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a subsequent post and simultaneous 8-K filing with the SEC, Hastings said SEC staff informed him that they are recommending legal action against Netflix because it shared material investor information in a place where it most individual investors would not know to look.

Under SEC rules regarding Web sites, which have also been applied to blogs and social media, companies must release material information in a “recognized channel of distribution.” In other words, companies have to release important information — particularly if it has the potential to move markets — in a place where it has told its investors they can expect that information.

While Hastings said Netflix doesn’t used Facebook or social media to distribute information to investors, he believes the information he shared was not “material.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment on the matter.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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