AAF Government Report

May 21, 2010

Clark Rector Jr., Executive Vice President - Government Affairs
Dunn Anderson-Sweet, Federation Intern

Senate Bill Does Not Expand FTC Authority

The U.S. Senate passed financial reform legislation without including the expanded FTC rulemaking authority that was a part of the House version of the bill. The House and Senate must now reconcile the two different versions of the legislation before it can be sent to the President. The AAF has alerted our members urging them to contact members of the House of Representatives and asking them to support dropping the expanded FTC powers from the final measure.
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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Cablevision: "Must Carry" Rule Remains Unchanged

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request by Cablevision, the 5th largest cable provider in the country, to review the "must carry" rule. The rule states that cable providers must carry local commercial and public stations. Unless a transmission is being duplicated, the local channel must be accessible to the public. Many cable providers would like the option of dropping local channels and replacing them with non-local networks that they feel will attract a greater audience. Major cable providers have been in and out of court since the first version of the rule was created in 1972.
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Google Put On Spot for Controversial Data Collection

Congressmen Edward Markey, D-Mass. and Joe Barton R-Texas, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, are asking what the FTC is doing about Google's unsecure Wi-Fi data collection practices. These practices have come into question shortly after the German Government passed a law making it illegal to host an unsecure wireless network.

In efforts to develop their Google Maps site, Google has sent out vehicles around the world to take pictures of "Street Views". Though the amount of information gathered is still unknown, Google acknowledged that it had mistakenly collected private e-mail and internet surfing data from unsecure networks.

Reps Barton and Markey are asking FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz for clarification as to the commission's jurisdiction over the matter.
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Comcast -NBC Merger

The proposed merger of NBC and Comcast continues to attract the attention of members of Congress. Representatives Mike Doyle, D-Pa. and Fred Upton, R-Mich. have asked the Federal Communications Commission to keep to their 180 day timeline for review of the NBC takeover by Comcast. On the other hand, other lawmakers, like Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. are suggesting that more review is necessary and more public hearings need to take place. The FCC has not commented on whether any changes have been made to the timeline but that it is "actively exploring further procedures in our review of the merger, including possible public hearings."
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