OVERNIGHT TECH: Senate to examine FTC, FCC picks

Last year, Wright, an economist and law professor, wrote a paper cautioning regulators not to crack down on Google.

The point is not that we know that Google’s conduct is pro-competitive, but rather that the very uncertainty surrounding it counsels caution, not aggression," Wright wrote in an article published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

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The paper, titled, "Google and the Limits of Antitrust: The Case Against the Case Against Google," was co-authored with Geoffrey Manne, a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School.

The FTC is investigating whether Google manipulates its search results to ensure that its own services, such as YouTube, Google Maps and Google Shopping, appear above its rivals'.

Schmidt, Cohen to release book in April: Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas, will be releasing their new book The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business on Apr. 23 next year, book publisher Knopf announced on Monday.

“With the spread of connectivity, citizens will have more power than at any other time in history, but this will come with costs, particularly to both privacy and security. The technology we talk about naturally collects and stores much personal information," Schmidt and Cohen said in a statement previewing the book. "The risk that this information is released is increasing, and while the technology to protect it is available, human error, nefarious activity and the passage of time means that it will only become more difficult to keep information private.”

Facebook puts proposed changes up for vote: Facebook users have until Dec. 10 to vote on proposed changes to the social network's governance process and data use policies. The social networking company put forward the proposed changes last month.

Elliot Schrage, vice president of Facebook's public policy and marketing communications, said in a blog post on Monday that the social network "further clarified" its proposals after receiving feedback from regulators, including the Irish Data Protection Commissioner's Office.

"As stated in both policies, if more than 30% of all active registered users vote, the results will be binding. If turnout is less than 30%, the vote will be advisory," Schrage said, adding that Facebook is hiring an independent auditor to review the vote totals.

One of the more controversial changes includes ending Facebook's user-voting system, which drew criticism from privacy watchdog groups. Facebook started letting users weigh in on changes to its governing documents in 2009, but later said the process incentivized a quantity of comments over quality. The Center for Digital Democracy and Electronic Privacy Information Center argued that this proposal to eliminate user-voting "raises questions about [its] willingness to take seriously the participation of Facebook users."

Jeffrey Chester, the president of CDD and known Facebook critic, is still sounding the alarm about the proposed changes.

"Facebook is abandoning having users vote on its privacy policies because they know the day is coming when they will loudly say: 'Enough, already!' " Chester said in an email.

Corker rallies opposition to Internet radio bill: Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is working to drum up opposition in the Senate against a music royalty bill that Internet radio service Pandora hopes will lower the royalty fees it pays to stream songs online.

Corker is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter that says the Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA) introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) would "force American property owners and creators to provide a subsidy to digital radio services, primarily Pandora." The Tennessee Republican argues that Internet radio services need to find a business model that helps them make enough money to survive on their own "rather than expect government to reduce their costs."

Google's Cerf sounds alarm as 'closed-door' UN treaty talks begin: Google's chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf underscored the importance of maintaining an open Internet in a company blog post published hours before countries convened to update a global telecommunications treaty.

Cerf is typically referred to as one of the "founding fathers" of the Internet because he helped design its architecture and key Web protocols. In his latest blog post, Cerf said the openness of the Web has spurred innovation and enabled people to get their voices out — but he warned that some countries' proposals for the treaty conference in Dubai threaten to put those benefits in jeopardy.

FTC brings 100th 'Do Not Call' case: A federal court shut down a robo-calling operation on Monday at the request of the Federal Trade Commission.

The case is the 100th brought by the FTC to enforce its "Do Not Call" rules.

According to the FTC's complaint, the Cuban Exchange Inc. impersonated the FTC and told consumers it could help them get a refund. The FTC said the company claimed it had helped "more than 13,000" people get refunds and even spoofed the FTC’s Consumer Response phone number on people's caller ID devices.

The company directed the consumers to a website that tricked them into disclosing their bank account information and other sensitive financial information, according to the FTC.


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