A little more than a month after the White House framework dropped, the Federal Trade Commission issued its own privacy report, endorsing a similar self-regulatory approach, including the do-not-track mechanism. While both documents expressed the hope that self-regulation can achieve meaningful consumer protections and warned against overly prescriptive regulations that could chill innovation within the fast-moving Internet industry, they also suggested that Congress should develop legislation to codify baseline privacy safeguards.
For the past few years, the wireless industry, led in Washington by the trade group CTIA, has been forcefully pushing for legislative action to make available a greater portion of the wireless airwaves, or spectrum, for mobile broadband networks. Those groups have a sympathetic ear at the Federal Communications Commission, which has been asking Congress for authority to conduct so-called incentive auctions, whereby television broadcasters would be invited to relinquish their spectrum licenses in exchange for a portion of the revenue generated by resale at auction.
Those efforts were met with forceful opposition from the National Association of Broadcasters, which railed against any provision that would force its members into abandoning their licenses if the incentive auctions were not truly voluntary, and raised concerns over the conditions under which stations that remained on the air would be forced to operate.
A bill signed into law in February granted the FCC authority to hold auctions for repurposing spectrum, but those provisions, included in a payroll-tax package, granted broadcasters some of the protections they sought. Many of the remaining details will be left to the FCC to determine, a process that will include the collection and review of comments from interested parties and could take months to play out.
Kenneth Corbin is a Washington, D.C.-based writer who covers government and regulatory issues for CIO.com.
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