The Washington Post

The Circuit: Net neutrality vote, seven charged in huge ad scheme, lessons from EAS test

LEADING THE DAY: The Senate is set to vote Thursday on a resolution to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s rules regarding open Internet. The rules, which were passed by the commission and are set to go into effect Nov . 20 set regulations for Internet access that lawmakers — led by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R- Tex.) — say will burden Internet providers.

The White House said Tuesday that President Obama opposes any sort of push to overturn the rules and will veto the resolution, should it pass.

Seven charged in ad scheme: The Justice Department announced Wednesday that it charged seven men from Eastern Europe for running an enormous ad scheme that affected about 4 million computers in a hundred countries and half a million computers in the United States. Those include computers that belong to U.S. government agencies such as NASA, the New York U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release. By rerouting clicks and swapping out ads, the group infected the computers and generated “$14 million in illegitimate income.”

Six men from Estonia were taken into custody for the scheme on Tuesday. One man, a Russian national, remains at large.

Emergency alert test: A national emergency alert test sounded at 2 p.m. Wednesday for all broadcast television and radio stations across the country but hit a few glitches that prevented everyone from hearing the message. Stressing that it was a test — and only a test — the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the FCC said that the agencies will analyze the data gathered from yesterday’s experiment and continue to work on building a more modern alert system.

Amazon acquires speech-recognition company: A report from the Charlotte-based CLT Blog indicates that Amazon may have acquired a North Carolina-based startup, Yap, which develops voice recognition software. According to records filed with the SEC, the blog reported, the company was acquired by a corporation that shares an address with Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle. Some have taken this as a sign that Amazon might be looking to compete with Apple, which recently baked the Siri voice assistant app into all models of its brand-new iPhone 4S.

The applications of voice-recognition technology have been a hot topic in the tech world, with some speculating that the technology could be used in televisions and other consumer electronics devices. Meanwhile, Amazon has been making a new push in the tablet market with its Kindle Fire, set to launch Nov. 15.

Health information hearing: At a Wednesday hearing of the Senate subcommittee on privacy, senators examined the state of health privacy laws and how the government can better protect this in­cred­ibly sensitive data. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that subcommittee chairman Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said that while electronic health records have incredible benefits, it has “also created very real and very serious privacy challenges.” Leon Rodriguez, director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services, said that the office does not have a timetable for when enforcement rules regarding health privacy would be finalized.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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