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Why Microsoft Wants a Privacy Law Why Microsoft Wants a Privacy Law

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Why Microsoft Wants a Privacy Law

By Laura Ryan (@NJLJRyan), with help from Brendan Sasso (@BrendanSasso) and Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)

TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH: Microsoft wants a strong federal privacy law, but other tech companies are more interested in voluntary commitments. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai came out against his agency's sports blackout rule. Dish Network is throwing its support behind the new "Local Choice" proposal from Sens. Jay Rockefeller and John Thune. And Sprint's new CEO is already eyeing ways to cut costs on his first day on the job—a priority that will likely include some layoffs.



TECH GIANTS WEIGH IN ON PRIVACY BILL: A comprehensive federal privacy law would improve trust in online services and help U.S. companies compete overseas, according to Microsoft. In a comment to the Commerce Department, the company argued that a U.S. privacy law could discourage foreign governments from cracking down with their own laws.

But the Internet Association, which represents Facebook, Google, and others, urged the administration to focus on voluntary privacy commitments. "Preemptive" legislation would hurt economic growth, the group wrote.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also focused on voluntary efforts, while wireless lobbying group CTIA pushed for a data-breach notification law. Privacy groups urged the administration to take "bold action" and to ensure "meaningful enforcement" of privacy rights.


The Obama administration asked for public input to draft online privacy legislation as part of its report on "big data" earlier this year.

SPORTS BLACKOUT RULE HEADING TO LIKELY DEMISE: It looks like the NFL is fighting a losing battle to save the FCC's sports blackout rule. Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai said Tuesday he wants to scrap the rule, which prohibits cable providers from showing games that are blacked out on broadcast stations.

The FCC will likely repeal the rule later this year. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler revealed in a letter to Sen. Richard Blumenthal that he has asked the Media Bureau to finish its review of the issue by early fall.

'LOCAL CHOICE' GETS SOME PRAISE: Dish Network is applaudingthe leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee for proposing "free-market concepts to put an end to harmful broadcast television blackouts." The Parents Television Council, an anti-indecency group, called the draft "wonderful," and said it will hopefully lead to an "a la carte" style system for all cable channels.


The "Local Choice" proposal from Sens. Jay Rockefeller and John Thune would let viewers pick and choose which broadcast TV channels they want to pay for. Broadcasters are against it, while NCTA, the main cable group, has stayed silent.

NEW SPRINT CEO TO CUT COSTS TO 'COMPETE AGGRESSIVELY': Marcelo Claure's first day on the job came with a memo telling employees that "In the short term, our success will come from our focus on becoming extremely cost efficient and competing aggressively in the marketplace." Those cost-cutting measures likely include laying off some of the company's 36,000 employees.

Claure, who is planning a companywide meeting on Thursday, also referenced the failed T-Mobile merger in his memo, noting that "consolidating makes sense in the long term but, for now, we will focus on growing and repositioning Sprint." (Olga Kharif, Bloomberg)

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HOW MANY REAL TWITTER FOLLOWERS DO YOU HAVE? In a new SEC filing, Twitter said that as many as 23 million—or 8.5 percent—of its active user accounts deployed automatic third-party applications. Some observers interpreted that as meaning those users were controlled by bots, but Twitter is rejecting that conclusion. (Zachary Seward, Quartz)

APPLE IS PREPPING 'HEALTHKIT' ROLLOUT: The centralized health-data service, still shrouded in secrecy, is expected to come ready when the iPhone 6 ships in September. (Christina Farr, Reuters)

A VISUALIZATION OF THE NET-NEUTRALITY COMMENTS: A colorful illustration of the trends in the 1.2 million open Internet comments. (Elise Hu, NPR)

RIDE-SHARE WAR BETWEEN UBER AND LYFT RAGES ON: The nasty rivalry includes poaching drivers from each other and competing carpooling services—all in the name of supplanting the traditional taxi industry. (Douglas MacMillan, WSJ)

STARS NOT ALIGNING FOR DISH-T-MO PARTNERSHIP: Dish was looking like a potential suitor for T-Mobile, after it was dumped by Sprint and rejected Illiad. But Dish's numbers suggest a merger with the mobile carrier is not in the cards. (Miriam Gottfried, WSJ)

NRCC LAUNCHES FAKE NEWS SITES: The National Republican Congressional Committee has created about two dozen single-page sites that attack Democrats while masquerading as local news portals. (Shane Goldmacher, NJ)


  • Leaders in federal IT will discuss "enabling change" in government networks and technology at the Federal Forum beginning at 8:15 a.m.
  • NSA Director Michael Rogers will participate in an intelligence discussion and deliver keynote remarks about his agency at a dinner hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance at 8 p.m.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Love it - first thing I read in the morning."

Amy, VP of Communications

I read the Tech Edge every morning."

Ashley, Senior Media Associate

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