Level 3 settles rural calling investigation: Level 3 Communications said Tuesday that it has agreed to pay $975,000 to the U.S. Treasury as part of a consent decree to resolve a probe by the Federal Communications Commission. According to the investigation, the company was not reliably connecting long-distance calls from rural parts of the United States, a practice the FCC said is caused when long-distance carriers and intermediate providers use third-party routers to complete the calls at a low cost.
The company said it will also pay an additional $1 million if it fails to meet benchmarks to improve connection rates by 5 percent every quarter.
FTC to update guidance for online ads: The Federal Trade Commission will update its guidelines for online advertisers Tuesday afternoon to take the rise of social media platforms and marketing on mobile devices into account.
Guidance was first issued in 2000, before social networking and smartphones, in particular, were in mainstream use. On Tuesday, Charles Harwood — the agency’s acting director for the bureau of consumer protection — and commission Maureen K. Ohlhausen were both set to speak at the Direct Marketing Association’s conference in D.C.
FCC oversight hearing: The Senate commerce committee will hold a hearing on oversight of the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday.
All FCC commissioners are expected to attend; the hearing will be streamed from the commerce committee’s Web site starting at 2:45 p.m.
Issues that may come up for discussion include the agency’s programs on broadband and Internet access as well as its plans for a first-responder network.
House to examine medical app regulation: House lawmakers said Tuesday that they will conduct a three-day series of hearings next week to look at how the Food and Drug Administration should regulate medical applications on smartphones and tablets — specifically at how regulation affects patients, physicians and developers looking to capitalize on the growing field of mobile health and medical apps.
The hearings follow a letter the committee sent to the FDA this month in which lawmakers questioned whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could allow the FDA to define smartphones and tablets with health-related apps as “medical devices” — and levy new taxes on developers and smartphone makers under the health-care law.
U.S. asks China to stop corporate cyberattacks: The United States has publicly asked China to stop targeting corporations with cyber attacks aimed at obtaining trade secrets, The Washington Post reported.
It’s the first time the U.S. has publicly tried to hold China accountable for what officials say has been a long campaign of cyber espionage, the report said.
President Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, said in a speech to the Asia Society in New York that “increasingly, U.S. businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber-intrusions on an unprecedented scale.” He added that Beijing must “take serious steps to investigate” allegations of these attacks.