The Washington Post

The Circuit: LightSquared campaign contributions, Kids’ privacy, EU officials meet with advertisers

LEADING THE DAY: The Center for Public Integrity reported that senior White House officials took meetings with LightSquared officials on the same day that company CEO Sanjiv Ahuja gave $30,400 in campaign donations to the Democratic Party, according to e-mails obtained by the organization.

LightSquared’s mobile terrestrial broadband network has come under scrutiny from lawmakers and the GPS industry due to issues of interference, but the FCC has also drawn criticism for approving a conditional waiver for the company to build its network. In response, the FCC has stood by its process, saying that the waiver is provisional and that it will not let the network launch without fixing interference issues.

FCC engineering head Julius Knapp — not FCC chairman Julius Genachowski — will testify at a hearing of the House Armed Services committee today on sustaining GPS for national security. According to FCC spokeswoman Tammy Sun, the chairman was listed on the witness list by accident.

Kids’ privacy: The Federal Trade Commission is expected to propose new rules for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Privacy advocacy groups such as the Center for Digital Democracy have campaigned for the agency to extend the nation’s law concerning kids’ privacy online to address, among other things, collecting data from children under 13 through mobile and online games.

EU privacy hearing: Representatives from the International Trade Association, Consumer Data Industry Association and the Centre for Information Policy Leadership are among those testifying before the House subpanel on manufacturing and trade today to discuss the effect that the European Union’s strict privacy rules have on Americans.

Meanwhile, European data protection officials released a statement Wednesday saying that the online behavioral advertising industry’s self-regulation standards must comply with EU privacy laws, which require Internet users to explicitly consent to having their data collected online to be used in advertising. European officials, who met with ad industry groups to discuss the self-regulation code earlier this month, are expected to produce an opinion on the code by the end of the year.

Facebook changes: Facebook made additional changes to its sharing and privacy settings Wednesday, The Washington Post reported, giving users the option to “subscribe” to updates from people they are not connected with on the social network, similar to the model on Twitter.

The social network has been changing several things about its features — mostly in an attempt to offer users more granular control over privacy — as it prepares to host its semi-annual developers conference next week.

Google buys more IBM patents: Google acquired more than 1,000 more patents from IBM, further bolstering its patent portfolio as it prepares to defend itself in further patent litigation, Bloomberg reported. Several companies that produce Android handsets, such as HTC and Samsung, are currently embroiled in patent litigation with Apple.

The search giant had previously bought around 1,000 patents from IBM in July, and its acquisition of Motorola Mobility is believed to have been motivated by the company’s need for more patents.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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