AAF Government Report

June 25, 2010

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

Conference Committee Rejects Expanded FTC Authority

At approximately 3:40 on the morning of Friday, June 25, the House members of the financial regulatory reform conference committee finally relented to the Senate members and agreed not to include expansion of rulemaking authority for the Federal Trade Commission in the final bill to be sent the the President. This important victory for advertising, business and consumers did not come easy. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif. pushed hard to have the language included in the bill. It was included in many of the House counter-offers during the negotiations. Had the provision passed, the Commission would have had vitually unlimited powers to enact industrywide rules regulating truthful advertising and other legal business activities. Many AAF members contacted their members of Congress on this important issue. Those efforts played a key role in this last minute victory for the advertising industry.
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Intel and FTC

The FTC's antitrust case brought against Intel Corporation regarding its corporate practices could come to a conclusion in the near future. The Commission has proposed guidelines in which Intel can deal with competitors and its clients to help prevent alleged monopolistic practices. In addition, it would force the chip maker to license its technology to such competitors under rules governed by the FTC. Intel maintains its business model is lawful and simply provides discount prices at better rates than its competitors.
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Lobbyists Go to Work on Internet Rules

U.S. Regulators and representatives of firms such as AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Google Inc. and Skype Ltd met recently to discuss the Federal Communications Commission's plans to regulate the Internet. The meeting was intended to find areas of agreement among the parties. Public interest groups are upset that they were not included in the meetings.
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NBC-Comcast Deal

The deadline has passed for interested groups to comment to the FCC regarding the proposed purchase of NBC by Comcast. The FCC has indicated that an approval would come with conditions such as a guarantee that some programming - such as the NFL- will not be moved from NBC to a pay service. Comcast has stated "We've committed since the deal was announced to preserve and strengthen the over-the-air business model in the challenging economic environment facing broadcasters."
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State Attorneys General to Investigate Google

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and as many as 30 other state AG's have announced their intent to investigate Google's inadvertent collection of personal information from unsecured Wi-Fi networks while collecting data for its Google Maps site. Blumenthal has said that Google needs to "provide a complete and comprehensive explanation." Google has acknowledged the error to federal lawmakers and has suspended data collection. U.S. House leaders have asked the FTC to clarify its jurisdiction over the issue.
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