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Timothy B. Lee

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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 10:30 AM ET, 04/23/2013

The Circuit: Privacy groups oppose requests to delay kids privacy law

Privacy groups oppose COPPA delay requests: Privacy groups Tuesday asked Federal Trade Commission chairman Edith Ramirez not to delay the implementation of new child privacy data laws under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

The new rules, which tighten online protections for children, are scheduled to go into effect July 1. Application developers recently asked the agency to consider delay enforcement until January 2014 to give app makers time to comply with the stricter rules. The Interactive Advertising Bureau also has asked for a delay.

Nearly 20 privacy and children’s advocacy groups — including the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action and the Electronic Privacy Information Center — said delaying the rules would “be harmful to children, and would undermine the goals of both Congress and the FTC.”

The FTC has solicited three rounds of comment on the proposed changes and gave the industry a six-month window between adopting the rules in December and enforcing them, the groups argued in a letter.

“No one can reasonably claim that the FTC failed to provide adequate notice of the proposed changes,” the groups said in the letter.

Netflix has more subscribers than HBO: In its earning report Monday, Netflix revealed that it now has more paid subscribers than HBO — 29.17 million to the cable channel’s 28.7 million.

The firm also said that it will begin offering a new streaming plan to its consumers that will allow them to stream up to four videos at the same time from the same account. The new plan will cost $11.99 per month.

Online sales tax bill moves to vote: In a 74-20 vote Tuesday, the Senate decided to move ahead with a vote on the Marketplace Fairness Act. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), would grant states the authority to collect sales tax on online purchases.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure itself by the end of the week. The bill has the support of major retailers including Amazon and Walmart. But it has seen opposition from eBay, which has argued the bill doesn’t go far enough to protect small businesses, and from taxpayer advocates who see it as an additional tax burden. Technically, taxpayers are supposed to pay taxes on online purchases on their own, but few do.

Do Not Track hearing: The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Do Not Track proposals at 2 p.m. Wednesday. In a release announcing the hearing, committee chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V) said that he wants to know why the industry has not implemented policies that allow consumers to opt-out of online tracking.

Harvey Anderson of Mozilla, which makes the Firefox browser, will testify as will Digital Advertising Alliance managing director Luigui Mastria, Center for Democracy and Technology privacy director Justin Brookman and George Mason University senior research fellow Adam Thierer.

ITC rules Apple did not infringe: The International Trade Commissions said Monday that Apple has not infringed on Google’s intellectual property regarding touchscreens on its iPhone.

The case, brought by Google’s Motorola Mobility unit, asserted that Apple had infringed on its patent that prevents users from making inputs on a touchscreen when a phone is held to their ears.

The investigation was terminated, the commission said in an official filing, because there was no evidence of a violation because the technology patented was too “obvious.”

By  |  10:30 AM ET, 04/23/2013

 
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