The Washington Post

The Circuit: Sprint, C Spire can continue cases; emergency alerts; ‘wardrobe malfunction’ ruling

LEADING THE DAY: U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle ruled Wednesday that Sprint and C Spire (formerly Cellular South) can move forward with their lawsuits opposing the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.

“We are pleased that the Court has given us the chance to continue fighting to preserve competition on behalf of consumers and the wireless industry,” said Sprint vice president for litigation Susan Z. Haller in a statement. C Spire’s vice president for strategic and government relations, Eric Graham, said that the ruling will ensure that all opponents of the merger who worry about its effects on their businesses have “the benefit of a fair hearing.”

Emergency alert testing: The Federal Communications Commission will be conducting a nationwide Emergency Alert System test next Wednesday at approximately 2 p.m. Eastern. The test will be broadcast across all radio and television stations for up to three minutes.

The Washington Post reported that the White House has the authority to activate the nationwide network “in the event of a major emergency including terrorist attacks or earthquakes.” The FCC, Federal Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service are encouraging stations to run announcements about the test in advance of the alert.

The government has been experimenting with more efficient ways to notify people of emergencies — the FCC and FEMA are also testing a system that would send alerts to mobile and smartphone users.

Court rules against FCC in “wardrobe malfunction” case: On Wednesday, a federal appeals court ruled against the Federal Communications Commission for fining CBS for airing singer Janet Jackson’s notorious costume malfunction during a halftime performance for the 2004 Super Bowl, The Washington Post reported.

It was the second time the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of Philadelphia ruled against the FCC, saying the agency “acted arbitrarily” with its $550,000 fine on CBS because it didn’t make clear its intolerance for brief nudity. Jackson’s right breast was exposed for nine-sixteenths of a second, the court noted.

The court reviewed the case again after the Supreme Court in 2009 upheld the FCC’s decision. The agency said Wednesday that it was pleased that the court reaffirmed its ability to police broadcasting for indecency, but that it was disappointed in the decision.

Apple admits to battery issues: Apple said Wednesday that it has found bugs in its latest mobile operating system, iOS 5, that have cause some users to experience diminished battery life. In a statement to All Things Digital, the company said that it will “release a software update to address those [bugs] in a few weeks.”

Users have been complaining about the diminished battery life on Apple’s support forums since the launch of the iPhone 4S on Oct. 14, but the company has remained characteristically silent about the issue until this week.

U.S. Army reaches 1 million fans on Facebook: The Facebook page for the U.S. Army hit 1 million fans Wednesday, prompting congratulatory messages from several members of Congress, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio.). The U.S. Armed Forces have some of the most active communities on the social network; military families often use the network to keep in touch while members are deployed overseas.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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