The Circuit: Microsoft follows Google with motion to publish data; Aereo sets sights on Chicago; spectrum hearing in the House

June 27, 2013

Microsoft files complaint over FISA: Microsoft has filed a motion with the Federal Intelligence Security Court asking it to allow the firm to publish aggregate information on the number of data requests the company is asked to fulfill on a regular basis. As The Wall Street Journal reported, the filings are dated June 19, but was released publicly on Wednesday.

The move follows a similar action from Google last week that, as The Washington Post reported, challenged standing gag orders preventing it from sharing the information by saying the order interfered with its First Amendment rights.

Aereo sets Chicago launch date: Aereo, the Web television firm that’s trying to make a place for live television on the tablet, announced Thursday that it will be launching its service in Chicago on Sept. 13. The service, which has been challenged in court by traditional broadcasters, is already available in New York City, Boston and Atlanta.

The firm’s service is expected to come to the Washington area “soon.”

Spectrum: The House Energy and Commerce subpanel on technology met Thursday to discuss spectrum policy in a hearing called “Equipping Carriers and Agencies in the Wireless Era.”

In his opening statement, subcommittee chair Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said that he is “convinced we can upgrade federal systems while freeing spectrum, thereby promoting both our nation’s safety and economic well-being.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission Thursday voted to adopt rules to be used in the eventual auction of a block of spectrum known as the H Block.

FTC data protection: The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday that has signed a memorandum with Ireland’s Office of Data Protection Commissioner to “promote increased cooperation and communication” between the two agencies to protect consumer privacy.

“This [memorandum of understanding] with Ireland’s privacy agency is a step forward for the FTC in cross-border privacy enforcement,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a statement. “Working closely with our international partners in this area benefits both consumers and companies.”

PayPal in space: PayPal announced the launch of PayPal Galactic, a service that the company hopes will become the de facto way to pay for things in space.

The firm offered some early details on its plans Thursday, highlighting that there are still several issues to work out, such as how to maintain the stability and security of payments made from space, as well as various regulatory issues that still require evaluation.

But, the company said, now is the time to jump into the market and get ahead of the space tourism curve.

“We want to make sure that PayPal is the preferred way to pay from space and in space,” said David Marcus, PayPal’s president, in a promotional video for the service.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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