Breakfast links: New privacy rules on both sides of the Atlantic?

Apple and Google execs dutifully appeared before Congress to hear questions from Al Franken about cell phone privacy and give vague but encouraging answers. Some might call this a "lively hearing"; others might call it "political theater." Congressional wheels grind slowly, so expect six to eight more scandals before any legislation is actually passed. [BW/ITw]

•Meanwhile, the European Union is set to pass much stronger privacy laws concerning browser cookies. This resulted in an anti-regulatory and anti-EU screed from Wired UK, which might have come across a bit more strongly if it didn't cite "users getting more relevant advertising shown to them" as cookies' #1 benefit to ordinary consumers. [Wired]

•In other European legal news, Google News is still forbidden from linking to Belgian newspapers. [Out-Law]

•Ousted Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci had big, big plans for the company, but now they won't get the benefits of his services, and they'll be sorry, some day. [All Things D]

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