House, Senate on collision course over children’s privacy

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Below: The FTC sues Meta over a VR acquisition, and Hulu revises its political advertising rules. First:

House, Senate on collision course over children’s privacy

The Senate on Wednesday took its first step toward better protecting children and teens online by pushing forward two major bipartisan bills, as I reported.

But the push will meet hurdles in the House, where lawmakers are working on broader privacy legislation that may be difficult to reconcile with the Senate’s narrower bills.

Together, the Senate measures would give parents more control over their children’s online activities, prohibit companies from collecting data from users aged 13 to 16 without their consent and require companies to identify the risks their products may pose to children. and limit.

The Senate Trade Committee approved both the Kids Online Safety Act and the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act, a major milestone for child safety advocates.

However, the approach stands in stark contrast to that of House lawmakers, who earlier this month made a sweeping proposal to create the country’s first comprehensive data privacy standards for all consumers — not just children and teens.

That bill, the US Data Privacy and Protection Act, includes increased protections for younger users, including a ban on targeted advertising to minors. But the legislation passed in the Senate has a wider range of safeguards for younger users, including a “clear button” that allows children to delete their data from digital platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.

The deadlock threatens to derail what has otherwise been the most progress U.S. lawmakers have ever made in drafting federal privacy and security standards for the Internet.

While there is general agreement on the need for both protections for all consumers and expanded safety barriers for children and teens online, several senators said Congress should prioritize expanding protections for children.

sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who leads online safety law S. 3663, said Wednesday that there are “many other complications” to working out a broader privacy framework and that “the focus should be on children.”

“I want comprehensive privacy legislation, but by the end of this year we should have at least protection for the children in our country,” Sen said. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who for decades pushed for improving child safety and introduced the Children’s Privacy Act, S.1628.

sen. Mississippi’s Roger Wicker, the panel’s top Republican, took the opposite view.

“The need for a national law that provides data protection for all must be the priority of this committee,” said Wicker, who introduced a counterpart to the House privacy law.

sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said the decision on how to proceed will ultimately depend on Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee.

Cantwell indicated on Wednesday that she has no intention of including the broader privacy law, deal another blow to the negotiations. And she suggested that the House leadership might be reluctant to move it as well.

When asked if she plans to raise the House bill, Cantwell said, “No. I don’t even think Nancy Pelosic has plans to bring it up, so we’re pretty sure we won’t bring it up.”

As house speaker, Pelosi ultimately determines whether a measure receives a basic vote. But as a California Democrat, there are questions about whether she will push for concerns from state officials that the bill would overturn their own privacy law.

Pelosi spokesmen did not return a request for comment on the comments.

President Biden called on Congress to expand children’s privacy protections during his State of the Union address, a prime-time approval that proponents said they hoped they would shake up the discussions.

But it remains to be seen whether House lawmakers will be satisfied with passing a law that only improves child protection, or whether the Senate will pass a broader bill. Until they resolve those differences, consumers will be left with neither.

FTC Sues To Block Meta’s Acquisition Of VR Gaming Company

The Federal Trade Commission states that Facebook mother Meta’s acquisition of virtual reality game maker Within is illegal and should be blocked in US court, Kat Zakrzewski and Naomi Nix report. It’s the first new lawsuit the FTC has filed against a tech giant since Lina Khan became chairman of the committee last year.

“That reduction in competition could lead to reduced innovation, quality and choice, less pressure to compete for the most talented app developers, and potentially higher prices for VR fitness apps,” the FTC argued in a legal complaint. “And Meta would be one step closer to his ultimate goal of owning the entire ‘Metaverse’. ”

Meta spokesperson Stephen Peters said the lawsuit sends a “horrifying message” to innovators, arguing the deal is “good for people, developers and the VR space.”

“The FTC’s case is based on ideology and speculation, not evidence,” he said. “The idea that this acquisition would lead to anticompetitive results in a dynamic space with as much access and growth as online and connected fitness is simply not credible.”

Senate approves chips legislation

The final version of the “Chips and Science Act” includes $52 billion for microchip manufacturers. The Senate passed it on Wednesday in a two-part, 64-33 vote, Amy B Wang and Mike De Bonis report. It now goes to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosic (D-Calif.) has said it has enough support to pass and it could be voted on as early as Thursday.

“President Biden has said legislation is one of the top priorities on his agenda and called on Congress to get the bill on his desk as soon as possible,” my colleagues write. On Wednesday, he praised the bill as a response to Americans’ concerns about the state of the economy and the cost of living.

Hulu Says It Will Use Cable Standards For Political Ads

Disney-backed streaming service Hulu says it will roll back its advertising policy and start accepting political ads with the same standards as Disney’s cable channels. Michael Scherer and John Wagner report. The move comes amid an outcry from Democratic groups protesting the rejection of ads about abortion and guns.

“Hulu now accepts candidates and publishes ads that cover a broad spectrum of policy positions, but reserves the right to request edits or other changes, “in accordance with industry standards,” the company said in a statement. It said Disney made the change “after a thorough review” in recent months.

The Post previously reported that Hulu has a policy against displaying content deemed controversial. Hulu and other digital providers are not bound by the Communications Act of 1934, which requires broadcast television networks to give politicians equal access to the airwaves.

The FTC’s lawsuit to block Meta’s acquisition of Within raised questions about competition in the virtual reality space and jokes. Sacha Haworthwho leads the Tech Oversight Project:

Google Postpones Cookie Deletion Until 2024 (CNBC)

Microsoft asks Google and Oracle to shrink Amazon’s cloud leadership in the US (Wall Street Journal)

Cook County, Illinois, officials say ICE uses data brokers to buy protected information (StateScoop)

Bipartisan US lawmakers urge Facebook and Twitter to better fight Russian disinformation (Reuters)

Facing their first recession, Twitch streamers are tightening their belts (Nathan Grayson)

  • Apple and Amazon are holding profit calls today at 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM
  • A subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing on spectrum at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday
  • Senate Judiciary Committee panel to hold antitrust hearing at 3 p.m. Tuesday

ThatIt’s all for today – thank you so much for joining us! Tell others to subscribe to The Technology 202 here. Get in touch with tips, feedback or greetings at Twitter or e-mail.

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