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Timothy B. Lee

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Posted at 02:40 PM ET, 04/16/2012

The Circuit: FCC fines Google, Google’s Brin worries about ‘open Web’, CISPA

FCC fines Google: Though the Federal Communications Commission has cleared Google of charges that it it illegally collected WiFi data using its Street View cars, the search engine giant must pay a $25,000 fine for obstructing the FCC’s investigation.

Google has said in the past that the data collection was accidental and has been fined or censured for the practice in Canada, France and the Netherlands.

According to the FCC filing, the company has not been helping U.S. regulators look into the matter. “For many months, Google deliberately impeded and delayed the Bureau’s investigation by failing to respond to requests for material information and to provide certifications and verifications of its responses,” the filing said.

The agency subpoenaed a Google engineer, identified only as Engineer Doe, who then invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in the proceeding.

Sergey Brin ‘worried’ about open Web:Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in an interview Sunday that he’s worried that governments and Internet companies will erode open and universal access to the Web, calling them “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world.”

“It’s scary,” Brin said during during his interview with The Guardian on the future of the Web.

Brin expressed concern about governments’ capabilities to block Internet sites and about the rise of proprietary platforms among companies such as Facebook and Apple. Information in those closed systems, he noted, cannot be searched.

“There’s a lot to be lost,” he told the newspaper. “For example, all the information in apps — that data is not crawlable by Web crawlers. You can’t search it.”

Brin said he was troubled by censorship of the Web in countries around the world, such as China and Saudi Arabia, where governments can seemingly turn off the Internet in their countries for long stretches of time.

Facebook CISPA: Facebook has added its voice to the debate over the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), saying it supports aspects of the legislation, but wants to work with lawmakers to address privacy concerns about the bill.

In a company blog post, Facebook’s vice president of public policy, Joel Kaplan, first outlined what Facebook supports about the bill.

“A number of bills being considered by Congress, including the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (HR 3523), would make it easier for Facebook and other companies to receive critical threat data from the U.S. government,” Kaplan wrote. “Importantly, HR 3523 would impose no new obligations on us to share data with anyone — and ensures that if we do share data about specific cyber threats, we are able to continue to safeguard our users’ private information, just as we do today.”

Google, Oracle suit: Google and Oracle faced off in court Monday after failing to reach a settlement over the assertion that Google’s Android uses illegal copies of Oracle’s Java software tools.

As the San Jose Mercury News reported, the case examines the legal question over whether copyright law can be applied to programming interfaces, or APIs.

Bloomberg reported that Google rejected a 2006 offer from Sun Microsystems to pay $100 million in royalties to develop Android. Oracle acquired Sun in 2010. Last year, Google won a ruling that through out a $6.1 billion damage estimate from Oracle; a judge said that damage estimates should start at $100 million.

By  |  02:40 PM ET, 04/16/2012

 
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