The Circuit: Piracy battle goes to CES, Wikipedia may join SOPA protest, Google social search faces privacy concerns

LEADING THE DAY: A contentious battle over Internet anti-piracy legislation shifted from Washington to the Consumer Electronics Show, The Washington Post reported. The Consumer Electronics Association, which is behind the show, has been a vocal opponent of the two bills circulating in Congress that would help Hollywood titans, record labels and pharmaceutical firms enforce copyright infringement laws online.

The proposals — the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act — have drawn the ire of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names, who worry that the bills give law enforcement too much power to shut down their sites. The Senate version of the bill is expected to head to the floor for a vote later this month.

Wikipedia may join Reddit’s protest: In protest of SOPA, the social Web news site Reddit has said it will blackout its services for 12 hours on Jan. 18, when the House Oversight committee will the discuss the effects of domain name service and search engine blocking. In comments on his personal page Wednesday, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said that he supports Reddit’s efforts and renewed talk about a similar effort at Wikipedia.

“I’m all in favor of it,” he wrote on his personal talk page on the site. “[And] I think it would be great if we could act quickly to coordinate with Reddit.”

EPIC may file with FTC over Google’s social search: The Electronic Privacy Information Center is likely to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over Google’s new efforts in social search, the Los Angeles Times reported. EPIC director Marc Rotenberg told the newspaper that EPIC “believes this is something that the FTC needs to look at,” and expressed concern that the search engine’s decision to include information from its Google+ social network makes personal information more accessible.

Rotenberg also said that Google appears to be using its “market dominance in a separate sector” to bolster its social network.

ICANN taking applications: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is now taking applications for new top-level domains. ICANN has been mulling the expansion for six years. A bipartisan group of lawmakers and the Federal Trade Commission have joined the Association of National Advertisers in raising concerns about the program and its effect on copyright holders and had asked ICANN to slow-down its implementation. ICANN says that the expansion will help brands by making Web addresses more specific, but some businesses have worried that adding more Web suffixes will require more defensive registrations to fight scammers.

Google renews China push: Google is renewing its efforts in China after pulling its search engine out of the country two years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company is hiring in China, the report said, and is trying to introduce the Android Market onto its mobile devices in China and convince Chinese users to try the Google services that “don’t require official censorship.”

Daniel Alegre, Google’s top executive in Asia, told the Journal that the renewed investment in China is a “pragmatic” decision.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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