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Posted at 8:23 AM ET, 02/23/2011

The Circuit: Huawei wins injunction, Netflix and CBS team up, Google revises SSN policy for kids

By Hayley Tsukayama

LEADING THE DAY: Huawei has won a victory in its legal battle against Motorola as a judge issued a court order that Motorola could not transfer Huawei's business secrets over to competitor Nokia Siemens. Motorola has agreed to sell its network equipment division to Nokia. Huawei spokesman Ross Gan said that the company does not wish to stop the acquisition, only to protect its own intellectual property.

Netflix, CBS team up in two-year deal: Netflix and CBS have signed a two-year, non-exclusive contract that will let Netflix users see more CBS content over the video site's streaming service. The deal gives Netflix an edge over competitors such as Hulu; CBS is the only major network that does not put its content on that Web site. Mashable reported that the new partnership will start in April and will give Netflix users streaming access to shows such as Frasier, Medium and Cheers.

Google stops asking for kids' Social Security numbers: After catching a lot of criticism from parents and privacy watchdogs, Google has decided to change a policy for its children's Doodle-4-Google contest that required the last four digits of the artist's Social Security number. The original contest form asked for the last four digits of a child's Social Security number, his or her city and date of birth, and contact information for the parents. As New York Magazine reported, a person's place and date of birth can be used to derive the first digits of his or her Social Security number. Combined with the voluntarily provided digits, Google theoretically could have constructed contestants' full Social Security numbers. Twenty-six hours after the Federal Trade Commission was made aware of the policy, Google changed its form requesting the information. Google has said it did not store the partial Social Security numbers and will discard them safely.

FTC to look into Apple in-app purchases: On Tuesday, the FTC said it will look into mobile applications that use in-app charges for products and services, such as through Apple's iTunes store. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) brought his concerns to the commission after The Washington Post ran an article about hefty charges children unknowingly racked up while playing games. In a letter, FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz told Markey that the commission will "look closely at the current industry practice with respect to the marketing and delivery of these types of applications."

AMA study shows cellphone use could alter brain activity: The America Medical Association released a study on Tuesday that showed 50 minutes of cellphone use could alter activity in the part of the brain closest to a cellular antenna. The study was led by Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who said it was too early to draw clinical conclusions from the study. The research showed that those exposed to 50 minutes of cellphone radio frequencies saw an increased brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the antenna. The study provides no information on a link between this activity and cancer.

Richard Branson pitching Virgin competitor for Groupon: Billionaire Richard Branson of the Virgin Media Group is reportedly proposing to create a Groupon competitor and is looking for investors in the U.K. and the U.S. As the Financial Times reported Wednesday, a former Virgin executive approached Branson about breaking into the discount coupon market, and has been attempting to secure investors in time for a launch in the U.K. later this year. The service will reportedly be called "Virgin Deals."

U.S. Hispanics trail in Web usage: A report in The Washington Post shows that Hispanics are less connected to the Internet than whites and blacks in the U.S., and report more discomfort with the Web in general. Part of the nation's fastest-growing ethnic population, 57 percent of Hispanics said they don't have enough technological knowledge to be competitive in the workplace. The trends among Hispanics may be generational: 87 percent of those age 18 to 34 are online, compared with 37 percent for those 60 and up. The figures come from a recent in a recent Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation-Harvard University poll, which found that 46 percent of whites and 45 percent of blacks reported feeling insecure about their technological abilities in the workplace.

CEOs launch new nonprofit, ConvergeUS: A bipartisan network of CEOs will launch ConvergeUS, a new nonprofit organization, on Wednesday at an event with guests that include White House senior policy adviser Marta Urguillla and Twitter’s Biz Stone. The nonprofit, led by CEO Rey Ramsey, aims to join the technology, nonprofit, government and academic sectors to “help solve America’s most pressing social challenges.” The group will address issues such as lagging performance in early childhood education, better resources for military families affected by frequent deployments and the dearth of students interested in science and math careers.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | February 23, 2011; 8:23 AM ET
Categories:  Digital Divide, FTC, Kids Online, Online Anthropology, Online Video, Privacy  
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Next: Obama names Facebook, Intel and Comcast execs to new jobs council

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