OVERNIGHT TECH: Lawmakers applaud US for standing firm on UN Web treaty

"We must continue to engage with other countries and international stakeholders through the multi-stakeholder process to advance our shared goal of a free and open Internet accessible to all," Waxman said in a statement. 

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GOP Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Robert McDowell warned that the U.S. and other allies should start preparing for the next treaty conference in 2014, which he said could have a serious effect on the Internet. 

"The United States should immediately prepare for an even more treacherous ITU treaty negotiation," McDowell said in a statement. "Those talks could expand the ITU’s reach even further. Accordingly, Internet freedom’s allies everywhere should more than redouble their efforts to erase the damage that was wrought today."

Microsoft warns of regulation if 'Do Not Track' talks fail: Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, warned on Wednesday that Internet companies could be subjected to burdensome regulations next year if voluntary online privacy negotiations fail.

"Looking ahead, I’m hopeful that 2013 will be the year in which a self-regulatory approach to online privacy succeeds. Otherwise, the alternative is a patchwork of regulations imposed by governments around the globe and less protection than consumers deserve and privacy advocates desire," he wrote in a blog post.

The Obama administration has urged industry groups to create a "Do Not Track" button in Web browsers that would allow Internet users to opt out of third-party tracking. But negotiations between advertisers, privacy advocates and other Internet companies over Do Not Track have been at a standstill for months.

Microsoft angered advertisers when it announced earlier this year that it would make its popular Internet Explorer Web browser Do Not Track by default. 

Smith said the company remains "steadfast" in its decision to make Do Not Track the default, but he acknowledged that the feature does not work if advertisers do not honor the request.

"Going forward, Microsoft is committed both to continuing to innovate around privacy and collaborating across the industry to give consumers the choice and control they clearly say they want," he said.

Senate panel approves location privacy bill: The Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of Sen. Al Franken's (D-Minn.) Location Privacy Protection Act on Thursday. 

The bill would require companies to get a customer's consent before collecting or sharing mobile location data. It would also ban mobile applications that secretly monitor the user's location — a feature that Franken said allows for stalking and enables domestic violence.

Ban on loud TV commercials takes effect: Federal regulations limiting the volume of television commercials went into effect on Thursday.

Congress passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act in 2010 to give the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the authority to write and enforce the rules.

The FCC approved the regulations last year and gave the industry one year to comply.

The rules require broadcast, cable and satellite television providers to keep the average volume of commercials at the same level as the programming containing them.

Closing GOP tech gap would cost millions: Republicans need to make a multimillion-dollar investment to close a digital gap with Democrats and President Obama, according to GOP tech experts. 

The party faces a growing urgency to catch up with Democrats; frustrated GOP operatives believe the party is lagging in an area widely agreed to have given Obama the edge in the last two presidential election cycles.


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