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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 02:56 PM ET, 03/05/2012

The Circuit: FCC markup, do not track, Schumer calls for FTC investigation of Android/iPhone

FCC markup: The House Energy and Commerce committee will begin markup on three bills Monday, including the two aimed at reforming processes at the Federal Communications Commission.

The bills, which Republicans say will improve transparency and accountability at the FCC, would restrict the kinds of conditions the agency can impose on mergers, would codify the agency’s informal “shot clock” and require the agency to provide cost/benefit analyses of proposed regulations.

Do not track: The Article 29 Working Party, the European committee convened to examine privacy issues, publicly released a letter Monday asking online advertisers in Europe to work with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as the advertising community develops industry standards on best practices for online behavioral advertising.

“The Article 29 Working Party welcomes your willingness to maintain a constructive and substantive dialogue shown in your letter of 17 January 2012 and appreciates your explanations,” working party Chairman Jacob Kohnstamm wrote in the letter, before saying that the industry approach “does not meet the consent and information requirements of the revised ePrivacy Directive.”

In the United States, the Obama administration recently released an online privacy bill of rights that did not include a do-not-track measure but also relies on industry self-regulation, which would be subject to some Federal Trade Commission enforcement.

Schumer calls on FTC to investigate Apple, Google: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called on the FTC to investigate Apple and Google after reports that smartphone and tablet apps could pick up more data from consumer’s phones than they realize.

Late last month, the Path journaling app landed in hot water when it was revealed that the app was picking up the contact information on users’ phones. Other reports have indicated that some apps have access to users’ photos. Reuters reported that Schumer wrote to the agency, saying that Apple and Google should be required to protect users’ private content.

Verizon: In a filing late Friday, Verizon asked the FCC to approve its deal with cable companies that would give the telecommunications giant more spectrum. Verizon and the cable companies — including Comcast and Time Warner — also entered into a cross-licensing agreement to sell each other’s services.

Critics of the deal said that the FCC should consider the cross-marketing and spectrum sale as the same transaction, while Verizon has said the deals, announced in the same release, are separate.

“The argument from Comcast and partners that the FCC should stay out of the joint marketing deals with the country's largest cellular company is, frankly, absurd,” said Public Knowledge’s legal director Harold Feld in a statement.  “The cross-marketing deals are as much a part of this deal as the spectrum — announced together in the same release, offered to other cable companies.” 

Yahoo restructuring?: Yahoo’s new chief executive, Scott Thompson, is reportedly preparing to overhaul the structure at the Internet giant, which could include thousands of layoffs.

That’s the latest report from All Things Digital’s Kara Swisher, who cites “multiple sources both inside and outside” the company.

The layoffs, the report said, will be targeted at Yahoo’s product teams, and the ax may also fall on the company’s public relations and research teams. Sources told Swisher that the effort is being led by Thompson, who was appointed as the company’s CEO in January.

In a statement, Yahoo spokeswoman Dana Lengkeek said, “As we have indicated, our leadership is engaged in a process that will generate significant strategic change at Yahoo, but final decisions have not yet been made at this point.  Beyond that, we will not comment.”

By  |  02:56 PM ET, 03/05/2012

 
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