Facebook settles FTC investigation before IPO

From: Vator News

Zuckerberg addresses the public over company’s renewed devotion to ensuring privacy

Just as the Facebook IPO speculation was saturating the technology mainstays, Mark Zuckerberg posted a rare message to announce the settlement reached between the social media giant and the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC finalized an agreement with Facebook about its privacy standards and practices on Tuesday to assure that the sharing epicenter receives consumers’ approval before it changes the way it shares their data and will have to undergo periodic audits of their privacy practices for the next 20 years.


Yahoo! Fate Tied to Google, Facebook and Antitrust

From: The Street

Antoine Gara

10/25/11 – 03:24 PM EDT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) Yahoo!’s chances of a successful and profitable sale for its weary shareholders rests on Google , Uncle Sam and Facebook.

Yahoo!’s future depends on how much regulators want Google’s overall online ad dominance to be challenged and whether as a result of Facebook’s emergence, they’re willing to say online search and display ad businesses aren’t distinct competitive markets. If they are treated as independent markets by authorities, the only Yahoo merger rumor that increases competitiveness against Google is an AOL purchase — a plan managements rumored to be considering as a growth strategy, but that might take the wind out of a takeover fueled stock surge since August.


CRE petitions Federal Trade Commission to regulate Facebook, Twitter and Google


by Warwick Ashford

A regulatory watchdog is petitioning the US Federal Trade Commission to establish a trade regulation framework for online companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google.

The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness said such a framework will protect US-based online companies by defining acceptable and unacceptable acts or practices.

A sound and legal framework will avoid web companies and services inadvertently harming, not enhancing their businesses, said the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE).


Internet advertisers begin offering new do not track icon

Editor’s Note:  The story below states that the Center for Digital Democracy, an NGO, has filed a complaint this week with the FTC regarding the do-not-track mechanism discussed in the article.

From: USAToday

Privacy and consumer advocates are lambasting the online advertising industry’s version of a do-not-track mechanism, slated to take worldwide effect today.

Today is the deadline for members of the Interactive Advertising Bureau to embrace use of a turquoise triangle with a lowercase letter “i” at its center, referred to as the Advertising Option Icon.


Trade Commission Challenges a Hospital Merger

From: NYT


WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials have been roaming the country, talking up their vision of a future in which doctors and hospitals team up to provide better care at lower cost. But a starkly different picture is unfolding this summer in a courtroom here, where lawyers from the Federal Trade Commission have been challenging a hospital merger in Toledo, Ohio.

The lawyers have put the transaction under a virtual microscope, taking hundreds of hours of testimony intended to show that the merger would stifle competition and drive up health care costs. In the process, they are scrutinizing details of the Toledo health care market that might seem more appropriate for investigation by state legislators or county commissioners.


Google must be wary of widening antitrust scrutiny

From: Financial Times
By Richard Waters in San Francisco and David Gelles in New York
Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility is likely to face protracted regulatory scrutiny that could delay completion until next year and force Google to agree to conditions about how it runs the handset business, according to antitrust experts.

Lawyers largely dismissed the risk that regulators would try to block the search company’s first foray into hardware. However, the acquisition touches on a number of issues already under review in wider investigations of Google in Washington and Brussels, and could present a way for regulators to extract concessions from the company in return for clearing the deal, they added.


State defends security system against GAO

From: Federal Computer Week

By William Jackson

The State Department says its continuous monitoring and risk assessment program for its global unclassified network has reduced security risks to Windows-based hosts and clients by 89 percent over a recent 12-month period. But the Government Accountability Office has issued a critical report, acknowledging that State has been “at the forefront” of continuous monitoring, but the system is neither inclusive nor reliable enough to ensure security in a network that supports 260 embassies and hundreds of other offices around the world.

Department officials acknowledge that the system is imperfect, but said GAO is overreaching in some of its recommendations for improvement.


FTC Mulls New Online Ad Regulations, So Why Is Tech Industry Uninterested?

From: BNet

By Erik Sherman

High tech companies are worried about the Federal Trade Commission’s interest in potentially regulating online marketing, and for good reason. After more than a decade of the online industry promising self-regulation, the FTC essentially said late last year that self regulation wasn’t enough. No wonder Google (GOOG) alone dropped more than $2 million last quarteron lobbying the feds on privacy and online advertising regulation.


Federal Trade Commission is asking questions about Twitter

From: Washington Post

By Jia Lynn Yang

The Federal Trade Commission is taking a closer look at Twitter, sending a query recently to another tech firm that has sparred with the social-networking site.

UberMedia, which makes products allowing users to access Twitter from mobile phones, confirmed Thursday that it was contacted by the FTC about Twitter. The company declined to give specifics about the inquiry, but UberMedia has fought with Twitter in recent months about whether it can continue offering Twitter-related apps.


Consumer Watchdog Claims Facebook Changed Policy After FTC Complaint

From: National Journal

By Juliana Gruenwald and Josh Smith

Consumer Watchdog is claiming victory, at least to some extent, in its push to have the Federal Trade Commission investigate Facebook’s virtual money programs.

According to Consumer Watchdog, Facebook changed its terms for game developers to use its virtual money after the advocacy group asked the FTC on June 28 to look into the policies.

But Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said the policy update was “long planned” for July 1.

Consumer Watchdog argued that the social network’s policy controlled the game prices on other websites, a claim that Facebook disputes.

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