OVERNIGHT TECH: AT&T presses Congress to pass spectrum bill that restricts FCC

In a speech in Las Vegas earlier this month, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski argued the House spectrum bill would tie his agency’s hands and allow the largest carriers to buy up all of the airwaves at auction. AT&T and Verizon are the two largest carriers.

FCC officials say they are not trying to exclude any particular company from bidding for spectrum.

{mosads}“As the Chairman has said, our goal and intention for spectrum auctions is that every carrier — big, medium, or small — that needs additional spectrum should have a meaningful chance to bid for it,” Rick Kaplan, chief of the FCC’s Wireless Bureau, said in response to Stephenson’s comments.

DirecTV, Sunbeam reach agreement to end blackout: DirecTV and Sunbeam Television reached an agreement on Thursday that will restore service for Boston-area customers ahead of the Super Bowl. Three channels owned by Sunbeam (NBC & CW affiliates in Boston and a Fox affiliate in Miami) had been blacked out for DirecTV customers in recent days as the two sides were mired in a retransmission consent dispute. Last week most of the Massachusetts congressional delegation wrote to both firms urging them to reach a compromise so Boston-area viewers wouldn’t miss the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Google privacy changes draw heat on Capitol Hill: Lawmakers demanded details about Google’s revamped privacy
policy and how the firm plans to use consumer
information collected from sites such as YouTube, Google+ and Gmail on Thursday. A bipartisan group of lawmakers who mostly serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to the firm asking what information it collects and how it plans to share that data among its various products. The lawmakers also argue users should be able to opt out of the data collection.

Separately, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said he will call for a Federal Trade Commission probe of whether the changes violate the privacy settlement signed last year by Google and the FTC in the wake of the failed rollout of the Buzz social network. Rep. Masha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) also ripped Google and questioned whether consumers should trust the search giant.

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