In December of 2013, the National Telecommunications Information Administration announced an ambitious plan to convene privacy advocates and industry representatives in order to forge a consensus on privacy standards for facial recognition technology. That effort suffered a big blow today, when a coalition of privacy groups walked out of the talks. "At a base minimum, people should be able to walk down a public street without fear that companies they've never heard of are tracking their every movement -- and identifying them by name -- using facial recognition technology," the privacy groups stated today.
The advocacy group Consumer Watchdog wants the Federal Communications Commission to regulate how Facebook, Google and other Web companies protect consumers' privacy. "Do Not Track requests -- if required to be honored -- give consumers increased control over their data and would build trust in the Internet and spur broadband use," Consumer Watchdog says in a petition filed today with the FCC.
In the latest development of the ongoing battle between Google and the EU, regulators are now pressing the company to broaden the so-called "right to be forgotten" by censoring search results worldwide. This week France's data protection unit, CNIL, added that Google must remove links to information that embarrasses people from all of its results pages -- including Google.com in the U.S. The French authorities gave Google 15 days to comply or face the possibility of a fine.
News broadcasters aren't the only ones targeting television monitoring service TVEyes. Satellite provider DirecTV also is going after the company. In a lawsuit filed this week, DirecTV alleges that TVEyes violates a federal law by transmitting clips from news programs without the satellite provider's authorization.
Seems like some lawmakers really don't care for the new net neutrality rules. Today, in what advocacy group Free Press calls a "sneak attack" on the regulations, the House Appropriations Committee released a funding bill that would prohibit the agency from enforcing the rules until a court has ruled on their validity. The measure also would slice the FCC's budget by $25 million.
Staff at the Federal Communications Commission reportedly are poised to recommend that the agency approve AT&T's $49 billion purchase of DirecTV. But some key conditions remain up in the air, including whether AT&T will be able to use its broadband network to promote its own video offerings.
Television monitoring company TVEyes could face the same fate as the doomed Aereo, if the broadcast news networks get their way. TVEyes digitizes news programs and enables subscribers to its $500 a month service to search for television programs by keywords, view snippets and download and share clips.
Internet service providers spent most of last year publicly contending that new regulations would discourage cable companies and telecoms from investing in their broadband networks. But now that Charter wants to merge with Time Warner and Bright House, the company's CEO says the decision to reclassify broadband as a utility hasn't affected Charter's plan to invest "significantly" in its network.
Americans might use loyalty cards for discounts, or surf the Web through a store's free WiFi, but that doesn't mean that they want information about themselves compiled for marketing purposes. At least, that's the implication of a new study by Joe Turow, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication.
The nonprofit advocacy organization Sikhs for Justice sued Facebook this week for allegedly blocking access to the group's page in India. The organization speculates in court papers that its page was blocked in early May at "the behest, urging or request of the Indian authorities."