By Jennifer Martinez and Brendan Sasso - 12/10/12 11:57 PM EST
House Democrats protest FCC's media ownership plan: Forty-four House Democrats sent a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission not to move ahead with its proposal to relax media ownership rules.
Signers include Rep. John Lewis (Ga.), Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Charles Gonzalez (Texas) and Co-Chairmen of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Keith Ellison (Minn.) and Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.).
The lawmaker said their constituents still "depend heavily on TV and radio broadcasts for their news and information," and that there are already too few diverse voices in local media.
"We are concerned that already low levels of ownership will be diminished even further by the proposed rule changes. Further consolidation would harm the entire media system, but have a disproportionate impact on diverse owners and the communities they serve," the lawmakers wrote.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski circulated a proposal with his fellow commissioners last month that would relax regulations that prohibit a single company from owning a TV broadcast station and a newspaper in the same market. The order would eliminate bans on newspaper-radio and TV-radio cross-ownership.
The lawmakers wrote that "little if anything has changed" since the FCC last proposed similar changes in 2007. The Senate passed a resolution disapproving of those changes, and a court eventually threw them out.
Kerry aide joins Facebook's DC office: Facebook announced on Monday that it hired Jodi Seth, the communications director for Sen. John KerryJohn KerryInterior chief: ‘We will have climate refugees’ "Lebanizing" Syria Why Obama's 'cold peace' with Iran will turn hot MORE (D-Mass.), to lead its communications team in Washington, D.C.
She will replace Andrew Noyes, who will relocate to the social media company's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters after three years in the D.C. office. Noyes, who joined Facebook after covering technology policy for National Journal, said he will work on privacy, legal issues, state and local politics and other issues.
Seth was with Kerry for four years, and also worked for Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) on the House Energy and Commerce Committee for six years.
"Jodi's the complete package — she knows communications strategy, as well as policy, and she has practical Capitol Hill experience that spans both the House and Senate. She has tested management skills and good old fashioned loyalty and common sense," Kerry said in an emailed statement.
"I'd trust her with any job that's important, and in fact that's exactly what I have done these last four eventful years. She'll be deeply missed here, but I know this is just the beginning for her," he added.
FTC warns apps are snooping on kids: Hundreds of cellphone applications aimed at children are collecting and sharing their personal information, often without proper disclosure, according to a report released Monday by the Federal Trade Commission.
The agency said it opened investigations into whether some of the apps had violated the law, but officials declined to provide details about the apps under investigation.
To conduct the study, FTC officials downloaded 400 of the top apps aimed at children in the Apple and Google app stores. They found that only 20 percent disclosed anything about their privacy practices.
Despite this lack of disclosure, nearly 60 percent of the apps transmitted the device's ID to the app developer, advertiser or other third party, the FTC said. The officials found that 14 apps also transmitted the user's geolocation or phone number.
Markey, Barton react to FTC report: Reps. Edward MarkeyEd MarkeyNew House caucus will help keep hackers out of cars Overnight Tech: Email privacy bill gets its day FDA should ban powdered caffeine, Dems say MORE (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), the co-chairman of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, said the FTC's findings show the need for their Do Not Track Kids Act.
"The FTC’s report clearly reveals that more must be done to arm parents with the most effective tools to protect their children when they are online. Children’s personal information should not be secretly siphoned off by mobile apps without parents’ knowledge or permission," they said in a statement.
"When it comes to kids and their use of the Internet in the new mobile environment, it is especially important that the strongest privacy protections are in place so that children do not have personal information collected or disclosed," they said. "We introduced the 'Do Not Track Kids Act' to ensure that children and teens are protected and that sensitive personal information isn’t collected or used without express permission. We look forward to the FTC’s update of COPPA regulations and encourage the Commission to continue its aggressive enforcement of COPPA violations."
FCC creates tech transition task force: The Federal Communications Commission on Monday announced the creation of a task force that will work to encourage the adoption of latest-generation wireline and wireless broadband Internet networks.
The group will review the FCC's policies to ensure that they encourage technological transition, protect consumers, promote competition and ensure network reliability, according to the FCC.
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