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Timothy B. Lee

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Posted at 08:56 AM ET, 10/20/2011

The Circuit: U.S.-China trade, Face recognition, Pepsi’s marketing tactics

LEADING THE DAY: Ron Kirk, the U.S. Trade Representative, is seeking more information from China on its censorship of American commercial Web sites. In a release Wednesday, Kirk said that he is seeking the information under World Trade Organization rules on how Chinese policies impact trade. He said that the censorship has a particularly negative effect on American small businesses.

“While the United States believes that the best Internet policy is to encourage the free flow of information globally,” the release said, “the United States’ WTO request relates specifically to the commercial and trade impact of the Internet disruptions.”

Face recognition: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) wants more scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission over face-recognition technology, asking the agency to provide a report on the subject following a workshop on the subject scheduled for Dec. 8. Some have raised concerns about face recognition technology, saying it could be used to track consumers across the Web, The Washington Post reported.

Face recognition technology is already being integrated into consumer products at Google — the company announced this week that its next operating system will allow users to unlock their phones with a smile.

Consumer groups file PepsiCo complaint: Consumer groups have filed a complaint with the FTC asking the agency to investigate PepsiCo and Frito-Lay’s online marketing campaigns. Four groups — the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Watchdog and the Praxis Project — complained that the company targets teens with “stealth interactive marketing and data collection techniques” such as videogames or concerts.

The groups pointed out that such techniques not only make it difficult for teens to recognize marketing, but also comes at time when there is serious concern about adolescent obesity.

Facebook, Labor Department partnership: Secretary of Labor Hilda R. Solis will hold a press conference with Facebook Vice President of Global Public Policy Marne Levine and the leaders of several employment groups.They will announce a new resource and partnership to help Americans find jobs; the event will be livestreamed through the social network’s Facebook page.

Yahoo: Yahoo isn’t necessarily up for sale, co-founder Jerry Yang told attendees at All Things Digital’s Asia conference. As Bloomberg reported. Yang said that there are “plenty of options” for Yahoo’s board. Reports have been circulating that Jack Ma, the chief executive of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has expressed interest in Yahoo and is waiting for a final okay from the company’s board.

By  |  08:56 AM ET, 10/20/2011

 
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