The Washington Post

The Circuit: SOPA alternative; ICANN hearing; FCC chief of staff resigns

LEADING THE DAY: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is expected to introduce the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) Wednesday. On Tuesday, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) introduced a manager’s amendment on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that addressed some of the concerns critics of the online piracy bill had made, but failed to get the support of many of its detractors.

“The manager’s amendment retains the fundamental flaws of its predecessor by blocking Americans’ ability to access Web sites, imposing costly regulation on Web companies and giving Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice broad new powers to police the Internet,” Issa said in a statement.

ICANN hearing: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) proposal to expand the number of Web suffixes available for registry will be up for debate today in front of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on technology.

Some businesses and advertisers say the policy is harmful to trademark holders who will have to protect against cybersquatting; ICANN has said it has policies in place to prevent that kind of abuse.

FCC chief of staff resigns: Eddie Lazarus, chief of staff of the Federal Communications Commission, on Tuesday announced his resignation, ending a tenure marked by brutal battles over Internet access rules and the reviews of two massive mergers, The Washington Post reported.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has not appointed Lazarus’s successor. Lazarus said he would stay through the end of January and does not have immediate plans after his departure.

NTSB ban on cellphones and driving: The National Transportation and Safety Board recommended Tuesday that all states and the District of Columbia institute a ban on cellphone use behind the wheel, The Washington Post reported. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronics while driving,” said board chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.

Around 88 percent of drivers have acknowledged that cellphone use while driving is hazardous, the report said, but over a third of drivers say they have read or sent a text message while driving in the past month.

Webkinz: A coalition comprising parents, educators and health professionals have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Ganz, which produces the Webkinz line of toys. The group, called the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, claims that Ganz’s ad policies falsely promise that parents can choose to keep their children from seeing third-party advertising, that Ganz misleads parents with a stated policy that information from the site can’t be used to contact kids online and that the company uses Web beacons and cookies to track young children,.

OECD calls for defense of Internet freedom: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development called for its 34 member countries to support Web freedom Tuesday, the New York Times reported. The groups is asking policy makers to keep the Internet open and regulate the flow of information sparingly to protect free speech and human rights.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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