The Washington Post

The Circuit: SOPA and PIPA, Sprint and LightSquared, Apple’s media event

Online piracy: Online piracy will continue to lead the technology policy agenda in 2012, with more parties chiming in with their opinions on the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act.

The Washington Post’s editorial board expressed its measured support for PIPA while saying criticism of SOPA is “warranted” because it has language that is “dangerously overbroad.” Editorial boards at the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have written strong criticisms of both bills, saying they have gone too far to address the issue of online piracy.

Sprint, LightSquared: Sprint has given LightSquared a 30-day extension to get Federal Communications Commission approval of its network, the company said Sunday. LightSquared previously had until Dec. 31 to get approval for broadband network, which has been under scrutiny because of its interference with the global-positioning satellite network. FCC approval is a condition of a spectrum-sharing arrangement between the two companies to roll out 4G networks.

On Tuesday, LightSquared announced that it has named former SkyTerra executive Marc Montagner as its chief financial officer. Montagner, who oversaw sales and marketing for LightSquared’s predecessor company, SkyTerra, has also worked for Sprint Nextel, Dupont Circle Partners, Morgan Stanley and France Telecom.

Apple media event: Apple is expected to make media and publishing announcements at a January event in New York City, All Things Digital reported Monday. The event, which the report said would be significant but not large-scale, is expected to be hosted by Apple executive Eddy Cue. Cue is in charge of iTunes, the App Store, iBooks, iAds and iCloud.

Verizon drops $2 ‘convenience fee’: Verizon has backed off a plan that would have charged consumers a $2 convenience fee to pay their bill online, The Washington Post reported Friday. Following a wave of backlash from consumers, the nation’s largest wireless carrier said it would not implement the fee.

“At Verizon, we take great care to listen to our customers,” Dan Mead, president and chief executive of Verizon Wireless, said in a statement. “Based on their input, we believe the best path forward is to encourage customers to take advantage of the best and most efficient options, eliminating the need to institute the fee at this time.”

App downloads: App downloads hit record highs over the holiday weekend, the BBC reported, with more than 1.2 billion apps downloaded in the last week of December. According to a report from analytics firm Flurry, U.S. consumers were responsible for nearly half of the downloads. Chinese and British users followed in second and third place.

“Looking forward to 2012, Flurry expects breaking the one billion download barrier per week will become more commonplace,” the research firm said in a post on the company’s blog.

What happens to your data?: In a world as unstable and dynamic as the technology industry, data are often part of the deal when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, The Washington Post reported. In many cases, the rules aren’t clear about what rights consumers have to their own data in the event that a company is bought, closes down or otherwise changes its business model.

In the event of such a change there is “no general legal requirement for companies to get rid of information,” Christopher N. Olsen, the FTC’s assistant director of privacy and identity protection, told The Post. “There have been more and more issues that require our attention,” he said.”

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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