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Archive: September 2008

D.C. Lawyer To Be Facebook's General Counsel

Facebook has hired Ted Ullyot, a Washington-based partner for the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, to be its general counsel. He will relocate to the Bay area next month. I managed to have a 10-minute conversation with Ted late this afternoon. He said his objective is to build Facebook's legal...

By Kim Hart | September 29, 2008; 6:52 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Calif. to DOJ: Blocking the Goohoo Deal Could "Stifle" Innovation

Eleven members of the Northern California Congressional delegation have signed a letter warning the U.S. Department of Justice that "growth and innovation could be stifled" if it blocks the proposed cooperative advertising agreement between Yahoo and Google. The deal between Google and Yahoo has been criticized because Google dominates...

By Peter Whoriskey | September 29, 2008; 6:32 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sprint Xohm Plans to Limit Bandwidth for Heavy Internet Usage

In Sprint Nextel's unveiling of its new Xohm WiMax service in Baltimore, it also revealed rules for using its service that one public interest group warns may prevent users from full and unfettered access to the Web. At question is Sprint's Acceptable Use and Network Management Policy for its high-speed...

By Cecilia Kang | September 29, 2008; 5:57 PM ET | Comments (11) | TrackBack (3)

The Download Returns; Google Goes to Washington

Some of you may remember The Download, a column pioneered by my predecessors Shannon Henry and Ellen McCarthy. It covered the Washington technology scene from 1999 to 2006, detailing everything from the quirky start-ups and enthusiastic investors of the dot-com era, to the staples of the local networking circuit and...

By Kim Hart | September 29, 2008; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

"Live or Die" Internet Radio Dispute Goes Before Congress Tonight

Now the fate of pandora.com and other Internet radio stations may lie with Congress. This evening the House is expected to consider a bill to extend the negotiations between Webcasters and the record labels and artists to whom they owe performance royalties. Internet radio outfits, led by the popular pandora.com,...

By Peter Whoriskey | September 26, 2008; 5:38 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Lost in the Fine Print: It Would Take a Week to Read All Your Privacy Policies

It would take the average American about 42 hours -- an entire work week -- to read the online privacy policies for the Web-sites they encounter each year, according to new research being presented this weekend. The finding out of Carnegie Mellon University undermines the arguments of Web companies who...

By Peter Whoriskey | September 26, 2008; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lessig (and others) Asks Candidates to Make Debates More Open

Tonight's debate is officially on -- and a group of academics, Internet pioneers and technology advocates are asking the candidates to "open up" the debates to the public rather than being "controlled by the media." Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales are...

By Kim Hart | September 26, 2008; 11:54 AM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

ISPs Promise: We Won't Track You without Permission

At a hearing today before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee, officials from AT&T and Verizon are expected to pledge that they will not engage in tracking customers' online behavior without their explicit consent. The move comes after a furor over some smaller ISPs using "deep packet inspection" -...

By Peter Whoriskey | September 25, 2008; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Update: Google Guy's Words Get Quick Response

Google co-founder Larry Page turned up on Capitol Hill today to boost the company's "Free the Airwaves" campaign, and he had some strong words for those who oppose their bid to open more of the airwaves for high speed Internet access. Google, Microsoft and others in the tech world...

By Peter Whoriskey | September 24, 2008; 4:03 PM ET | Comments (95) | TrackBack (1)

Lawmakers Caution FCC To Slow Down On Safety Auction Rules

With the Federal Communications Commission poised to vote tomorrow on a new plan to auction off spectrum for public safety first responders, some key lawmakers are urging the agency to slow down. In a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin earlier this week, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John...

By Cecilia Kang | September 24, 2008; 1:34 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Venture Capital Advocates Make Push on Capitol Hill

The National Venture Capital Association wants policymakers to know how important venture capital investors and venture-backed companies are to the economy. Over the next few weeks, the NVCA -- the venture industry's association based in Arlington -- plans to send this video to key members of Congress as the organization...

By Kim Hart | September 24, 2008; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Will Obama or McCain Inherit a DTV Nightmare?

Continuing the countdown to the digital TV transition, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing this afternoon to assess the status of the preparations. Up to this point, most of the consternation on Capital Hill has been about whether consumers will be prepared for the switch. But Sen. Daniel K....

By Kim Hart | September 23, 2008; 4:39 PM ET | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)

Think Tank: GOOHOO Deal May Be A "Black Hole"

A Washington think tank devoted to antitrust issues has issued a 19-page analysis of the Google-Yahoo deal that warns that the transaction has the potential to become "a black hole that swallows up Yahoo." "We believe that the transaction could be blocked on antitrust grounds," according to the report by...

By Peter Whoriskey | September 23, 2008; 2:35 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

'Android' Unveiled

Well, here it is: The first smartphone powered by Google's new, open source technology called Android. This morning, executives from T-Mobile USA, Google and mobile phone maker HTC showed off the upcoming device, called G1, at a press event in New York City. Featuring an iPhone-like touchscreen in addition to...

By Mike Musgrove | September 23, 2008; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (32) | TrackBack (0)

Local Firms Join to Create Online Video Powerhouse

Two local companies joined forces today in an attempt to give online video its fair share of digital advertising revenue. Anystream, based in Dulles, provides video production software and content management tools to format videos for media sites. Its most recent high-profile project was to manage NBC's Olympic video coverage...

By Kim Hart | September 22, 2008; 4:47 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dispatch from the Tech Party Scene in Washington

The idea of bridging the gap between D.C.'s tech crowds has hit quite a nerve. Last night, Twin Tech II was held at Avenue, a nightclub near the Convention Center downtown. It was the second networking event aiming to bring together the more-established government contracting firms and the new generation...

By Kim Hart | September 19, 2008; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

Need a Good Lawyer? Web Site Lets You be the Judge...

There's no shortage of lawyers in this town, but finding a good one can be quite challenging. So, Avvo.com, derived from the Italian word for lawyer--avvocato-- is trying to make the vetting process a bit easier. This morning I sat down with Mark Britton, former general counsel at Expedia.com, who...

By Kim Hart | September 17, 2008; 5:20 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Research: Nearly All Teens Play Video Games

Well, it's official, I guess: Nearly all teens play video games. No, seriously. A recent study, conducted Pew Internet & American Life Project, has found that 99 percent of boys and 94 percent of girls play video games on a regular basis. Half of the 1,102 kids, ages 12 to...

By Mike Musgrove | September 17, 2008; 4:05 PM ET | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Companies Fight For Cell Phone Use on Planes

Passengers on Emirates Air flights between Dubai and London can now call home on their cell phones from thousands of miles up in the air. The European Union has lifted restrictions for airline cell phone use, opening the door for passengers to soon use their Blackberries and other smart phones...

By Cecilia Kang | September 17, 2008; 12:59 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

Web Users Hate Targeted Online Ads, But That's Not Stopping Them

Looks like convenience beats fears of Big Brother. Seven out of 10 Internet users of Web-based applications like Gmail or Photoshop said they would be "very concerned" if the companies that run those technologies analyzed personal data for targeted ads, according to a survey released today by the Pew Internet...

By Cecilia Kang | September 12, 2008; 2:19 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Do Text Messages Cost Too Much?

A key lawmaker and a consumer group are pressuring wireless carriers to explain why prices for text messages have doubled in the last three years as the technology has surged in popularity over the same period. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee, sent a letter earlier this...

By Cecilia Kang | September 11, 2008; 4:28 PM ET | Comments (39) | TrackBack (0)

Will 'White Space' Devices Cause Problems for Cable Watchers?

By now, you're probably well aware of the debate over the use of so-called "white spaces," or the empty TV channels tech companies want to use to provide wireless broadband services. You also probably know all about the broadcasters' point of view. They're worried the white space devices, which are...

By Kim Hart | September 11, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tech Trade Groups to Merge

Two large technology trade associations have announced plans to merge, potentially creating a new tech lobbying powerhouse in Washington. The AeA, formerly known as the American Electronics Association, and the Information Technology Association of America, the ITAA, are planning to merge memberships and programs. The combined group is trying to...

By Kim Hart | September 11, 2008; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wilmington Verdict Is In

At least, the verdict is in from the perspective of the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC released details today about how prepared viewers in Wilmington, N.C., really were for Monday's switch to digital programming. Wilmington was the first market in the country to through the digital transition as a trial...

By Kim Hart | September 10, 2008; 5:25 PM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

You've Got Even More Mail

AOL unveiled the first feature of a new home page today aiming to regain the eyeballs it lost as it has phased out its subscription service. The company plans to revamp its entire site to let consumers customize the portal to fit their own tastes. Starting today, visitors to the...

By Kim Hart | September 10, 2008; 3:53 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Warning, Or Maybe Not

Warning. This is not a warning. In an interview with The Washington Post on Monday, Google senior privacy counsel Jane Horvath was asked about a reported "warning" issued by the German government's Federal Office for Information Security. According to Germany's top privacy official, Peter Schaar, the information security office had...

By Washington Post editors | September 10, 2008; 2:55 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Apple: New Nanos & ITunes On The Way

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage in San Francisco at an event thrown this morning to show off the company's latest hardware and software for music fans. The company has a new line of Nanos on the way, which Jobs touted as the thinnest ever. The new players will...

By Mike Musgrove | September 9, 2008; 1:45 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Is Justice Department Ready to Sue Google?

The news that the Justice Department has hired a well-known antitrust expert to review the proposed Google-Yahoo advertising partnership has set off speculation that the government is girding to take legal action against the tech colossus. But what exactly does the hiring of Sandy Litvack mean? According to sources close...

By Peter Whoriskey | September 9, 2008; 12:35 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

It's Showtime in Wilmington

Wilmington, N.C.-- At high noon today, this town will be the first in the country to permanently switch off decades-old analog TV signals in favor of digital programming. Wilmington is a guinea pig, making the transition to digital TV nearly five months ahead of schedule so the Federal Communications Commission...

By Kim Hart | September 8, 2008; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Can't Live Without Your DVR?

You're apparently not alone. More than 70 percent of digital video recorder (DVR) owners say they cannot live without the devices, according to a survey of 1,000 DVR owners conducted by NDS, a subsidiary of News Corp. The survey found that over 60 percent of DVR owners with a partner...

By Kim Hart | September 8, 2008; 1:00 AM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Advertisers Not Backing Google/Yahoo Deal

Now we know that advertisers, and lots of them, don't like the idea of Google gaining more control over search advertising. Today the Association of National Advertisers, which represents 400 companies and whose board counts executives from some of the biggest, announced that it has written to the Justice Department...

By Peter Whoriskey | September 7, 2008; 7:33 PM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Eyes on Sirius XM's Karmazin Speech Tuesday

After Sirius and XM Radio's hard and long-fought regulatory victory for merger, a whole new fight is underway to follow through on all those promises to Wall Street and Washington policymakers: to find those "synergies" that will help the newly formed company better complete with an onslaught of new technologies....

By Cecilia Kang | September 5, 2008; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Spore: Carnivore Seeks Company

Anybody looking for a gray or green flesh-eating flying bipod to fill out their universe? I've been playing an advance copy of Spore this past week; it's the latest game from the creator of The Sims and hits retail shelves this Sunday. Where The Sims let people control a pretty...

By Mike Musgrove | September 5, 2008; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IPhone: Data Outage Problem?

Update: AT&T just called me back to say this morning's problem has been fixed. It was a "routing issue where traffic was being routed incorrectly," a spokesman said. Any other iPhone owners out there having accessing data from AT&T's wireless network today? Apple's support page is lighting up with complaints...

By Mike Musgrove | September 3, 2008; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

Chrome: Google's New Browser Launches

Google introduced a Web browser today, a piece of software that the company has secretly had in the works for two years. "There have been a lot of advances in the browser space," said Sundar Pichai, Google's vice president of product management in a news conference earlier today as he...

By Mike Musgrove | September 2, 2008; 4:02 PM ET | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

 

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