The Circuit: CES 2012, FCC profanity, broadband

LEADING THE DAY: The Consumer Electronics Show officially starts Tuesday, but it will kick off this evening in Las Vegas with a keynote speech from Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer. A Microsoft executive has given the speech at the trade show for the past 14 years, but the company recently announced that this would be its last turn at the show.

Although the show garners attention for the gadgets it showcases, it’s also a forum for tech policy discussion. As usual, members of the Federal Communications Commission will speak on a panel (moderated by The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang) about regulatory issues, and Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.) will participate in a congressional panel on tech policy.

FCC decency: The Supreme Court will review an Federal Communications Commission profanity policy Tuesday and decide what should be the FCC’s proper role in regulating profanity and vulgarity on the nation’s airwaves. The cases before the court deal with the FCC’s right to fine the Fox network for one-time utterances of profane words as well as ABC’s case challenging an FCC fine following an episode of “NYPD Blue” that showed an actress’s bare buttocks for seven seconds.

FCC chairman speaks on broadband: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will speak Monday about the ways to meet the country’s demands for high-speed broadband connections and the commission’s “ongoing efforts to advance efficient, fiscally responsible, and modernized programs” to meet those demands. The chairman will speak at Third Way, a moderate policy think tank.

NinjaVideo founder sentenced: Amid growing debate about online piracy, a U.S. District Court judge sentenced Hana Amal Beshara, the 30-year-old founder of the site NinjaVideo.net to 22 months in prison on charges of criminal copyright conspiracy. In a Friday release, the Justice Department said that Beshara must also complete 500 hours of community service and repay over $200,000 that she made from posting pirated videos on the Web site.

Groups launch data tracking site: Nonprofit organizations including Public Knowledge and the Mozilla Foundation launched a Web site Friday that is designed to help mobile consumers be more mindful of the limits on their data plans. The site, called “What’s My Cap” calculates mow many hours of streaming video, music or television users can watch before incurring overage fees or having their data speeds slowed down. With the exception of Sprint Nextel, all major mobile carriers limit data use in some way once customers exceed a monthly limit.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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