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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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Brian Fung

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Andrea Peterson

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.

Post Tech
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Posted at 12:38 PM ET, 03/27/2012

The Circuit: FCC overhaul bills, FTC settles with RockYou, reaction to FTC privacy report

FCC reform bills: The White House came out against the bills currently in the House aimed at overhauling the operations at the Federal Communications Commission.

As the Hill reported, the White House said in a statement that one of the bills, the FCC Process Reform Act, would “in effect, create a separate Administrative Procedure Act (APA) for the FCC,” the White House said in a statement. “For more than 60 years, the APA has provided a uniform framework to guide decisionmaking by all federal administrative agencies.”

In a statement, Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said Monday that a report on the FCC’s workload showed that the agency has over 10,000 items pending consideration and that the bills would reduce that backlog.

Walden, the chairman of the House subcommittee on technology said, “These workload issues highlight the need for good process, and that’s why it’s important we move forward with process reform legislation now, so that the agency locks in the gains it has already made and so that the public will see it continue to improve into the future.”

RockYougame site: The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it had settled charges with the gaming site RockYou, which allegedly allowed hackers to see the personal information of 32 million users. The agency charged that the gaming site had violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA) and collected information from 179,000 children.

The settlement prevents the company from making “future deceptive claims” about its privacy and security, requires the site to create and maintain a data security program and requires it to pay $250,000 to settle the COPPA charges.

FTC report reaction: Lawmakers who have already been vocal advocates of privacy legislation were quick to point out that the FTC report underscores a need for quick action on a baseline privacy bill.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who co-authored Internet privacy legislation with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the report should encourage Congress to act quickly on privacy.

“This report again affirms the value of setting a national standard for the collection, use, and distribution of personal information,” Kerry said in a statement. “This discussion is taking place at home and abroad, and we’d be wise to act now rather than defer decisions until future Congresses.”

Privacy advocates largely applauded the report, though some said they would have liked to see stronger action from the FTC.

In a statement, the Electronic Privacy Information Center said, “[The] framework is not as extensive as the White House Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and depends on industry self-regulation. EPIC previously commented on an earlier draft of the framework, pointing out that the FTC ‘mistakenly endorses self-regulation and ‘notice and choice,’ and fails to explain why it has not used its current Section 5 authority to better safeguard the interests of consumers.’”

Facebook files to drop Ceglia suit: Facebook announced Monday that it has filed to have a lawsuit filed by Paul Ceglia against it dismissed. The social network released information Monday that it alleges proves that Ceglia is lying about striking a deal with Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg early in the network’s development for 50 percent or more of the company.

“Today’s motion proves what Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have emphatically stated all along: this case is a fraud,” said Facebook attorney Orin Snyder. “The motion asks the Court to dismiss this fraudulent lawsuit, and demonstrates that Ceglia has forged documents, destroyed evidence, and abused the judicial system in furtherance of his criminal scheme. Ceglia must be held accountable.”

By  |  12:38 PM ET, 03/27/2012

 
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