LEADING THE DAY: In an interview with The Washington Post, the European Union’s chief privacy regulator, Viviane Reding, said that self-regulation measures can be “little more than a fig leaf,” and that every citizen has a right to his or her own data.
She said that recent reform proposals in Europe are aimed at decreasing the fragmentation between E.U. privacy laws to unify the rules for the whole continent. She also discussed her views on data protection and security and the differences in law between the U.S. and Europe.
Battle over online piracy:Several lawmakers expressed their support for the House’s controversial Stop Online Piracy Act in a Wednesday hearing, The Washington Post reported. Critics say that the law, aimed at targeting foreign Web sites that illegally reproduce material copyrighted in the U.S., puts too much burden on U.S. Web businesses. Vague language in the bill, they said, would force companies such as Google or Yahoo to shut down the domain names of infringing sites. Internet service provider Verizon also said the bill would force it to stop Web traffic to counterfeiting sites.
Graphic Facebook images: Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), chairman of the House subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade, has directed her staff to meet with Facebook for a briefing on the graphic images that appeared on users’ profiles earlier this week. Bono Mack wants to know what, exactly, caused the attack and whether the intrusion could be used to collect personal information from the site.
Facebook said in a statement Wednesday that it has identified the people who perpetrated the attack and is working with its legal team to determine its next steps.
Facebook tracking: Sen. John “Jay” Rockfeller (D-W.Va.) said in a statement Wednesday that he intends to hold a hearing to discuss report s that Facebook tracks user data even after users have logged off the site. USA Today reported that Facebook has a browser cookie that does not collect personal information but is still active when users are not logged into the site. Facebook has said in the past that this cookie is meant to be used to boost security and improving the usability of “Like” buttons and other plug-ins across the Web.
China and Internet censorship: The Congressional-Executive Commission on China will hear from Chinese students and political dissidents today in a hearing examining the “human toll from online censorship.”
The panel will examine how Chinese censorship affects those who criticize the Chinese government and also how Internet censorship impacts trade between the U.S. and China.
Cyber security bill in the House: House cyber security subpanel chairman Rep. Dan Lungren (R- Calif.) told The Hill that he expects to introduce cyber security legislation in the House regardless of the status of a bill in the Senate. Lungren said that his bill would encourage private sector firms to put stricter protections, but not place too many requirements on sectors that already have high levels of government regulation.
Google Music: Google announced that it is opening its Music service to everyone for free for up to 20,000 songs. In addition, the company is adding a music marketplace through the Android Market, adding a catalog of millions of songs, The Washington Post reported.
The company announced content partners including Universal, EMI and Sony Music. In addition to big labels, Google has also signed on with smaller, independent labels. Warner Music was not listed as a launch partner. The service launches with access to about 13 million tracks, with more to come, Google executive Zahavah Levine said at a news conference.