From: Network World
By Layer 8
The Federal Trade Commission has set the lineup for its workshop next month that will examine the privacy and security impact of facial recognition technology.
From the FTC: “Facial recognition technology has been adopted in a variety of new contexts, ranging from online social networks to digital signs and mobile apps. Its increased use has raised a variety of privacy concerns. The FTC workshop will gather consumer protection organizations, academics, business and industry representatives, privacy professionals, and others to examine the use of facial recognition technology and related privacy and security concerns.”
Editor’s Note: Prior to responding to a request for the investigation described below, the FTC should first respond to the petition filed by the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness requesting that the FTC define unfair practices for web based firms and allow the public to offer comments on the said definitions, see http://www.thecre.com/ftcwatch/?p=117
Editor’s Note: Our Readers are encouraged to post their comments in the space provided below or in Public Discussion Forum to the right of this page. CRE will review the comments and submit a report to the FTC and publish on this website.
Calls for enforcement actions are premature until which time regulatory agencies specify the norms to be used in judging unfair practices for web based firms, see the CRE petition to the same.
Attached below is a white paper the Media Institute provided to the Federal Trade Commission, “Google and the Media: How Google is Leveraging Its Position in Search to Dominate the Media Economy.”
The Media Institute describes itself as a “a nonprofit research foundation specializing in communications policy issues.” It’s Board of Trustees includes senior representatives of communications companies such as News Corporation, Time Warner and AT&T Services.
Media Institute White Paper
By Margaret Rock
A new petition is calling for the Federal Trade Commission to clearly define its investigation practices, which may lead to better protection for companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google.
The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness, or CRE, an industry watchdog, says the FTC, which has the authority to ban practices that cause “substantial injury to consumers,” needs to develop new rules to assess whether companies are using unfair tactics.
The agency claims newer technologies, like social media, are subjected to older rules, putting the FTC in danger of not taking “sound intellectual and legal framework for its work.” The CRE, citing calls by three senior White House officials for better regulation of Internet-based companies, warns FTC investigations may be premature and deliver uneven rulings.
Currently, Twitter and Google are in the midst of an FTC investigation. The agency is also reviewing a petition to examine Facebook.
While not facing an official investigation yet, Facebook has drawn FTC attention and warnings concerning its privacy settings.
By The Associated Press
Some of Google’s interactions with U.S. regulators:
— December 2007 — The Federal Trade Commission approves Google’s $3.2 billion purchase of Internet ad company DoubleClick, concluding after a nearly yearlong review that it won’t significantly reduce competition in online advertising. The FTC did not impose conditions. Google closed the deal three months later after getting EU regulatory approval.
— November 2008 — Google abandons a proposed Internet advertising partnership with Yahoo after the Justice Department said it would sue to block it to preserve competition in Internet advertising. Attorneys general from 15 states and Canada’s antitrust regulators had also loomed as potential adversaries.
Editor’s Note: The following report provides an overveiw from a legal perspective on the various types of information collections persons may receive from the FTC. The article is presented for informational purposes only and does not indicate any recommendations or advice from CRE/FTC Watch.org.
Joseph I. Rosenbaum and Rachel A. Rubin
Reed Smith LLP
On June 24, 2011, Google confirmed that the Federal Trade Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation against it. While the scope of the investigation has yet to be announced publicly, the FTC is likely investigating to determine whether Google has used its dominance in Internet search and advertising to stifle competition, and whether Google’s actions cause harm to consumers.
The attached report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) discusses the development of “internet imtermediaries” including search engines, portals, and the broad range of participative networked platforms such as social networking sites and wikis. The report concludes that:
Intermediaries create significant market efficiencies by bringing suppliers and demanders closer together, thus decreasing transaction costs such as the cost of searching for a buyer or a seller. They ensure that markets work better and create more competition as well as allow for a greater internationalisation of markets. Indeed, Internet intermediaries facilitated trade by allowing the expansion, aggregation and globalisation of markets as well as the customisation of goods and services. [Emphasis added.]
The attached study from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Development Centre discusses the growing role of internet services in promoting social cohesion around thee globe in ways ranging from citizen participation in government to empowering women.
The report concludes that “policies should support innovation in the field to foster social cohesion.”
OECD-Web-Enabled Social Cohesion
An NGO best known for filing lawsuits has filed a complaint with the FTC against Facebook claiming that “Facebook is engaging in anticompetitive and unfair business practices in the market for virtual goods purchased in social games through its Facebook Credits terms with game developers.”
The watchdog organization’s blog post about the complaint includes such colorful statements as claiming that Facebook may be “on the road to dominance of all online commercial transactions” and “imagine Mark Zuckerberg’s face replacing George Washington’s on the dollar bill. Or rubbing out all the dead presidents on every bit of American currency.”