TLJ News from January 26-31, 2012

Representatives Write FTC Regarding Facial Recognition Technologies

1/31. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), and five other Representatives sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding facial recognition technologies. However, they did not urge the FTC either to take action against any person or entity, or to write any new rules.

The FTC held a workshop titled "Face Facts: A Forum on Facial Recognition Technology" on December 8, 2011. See, the FTC's web page for this event.

The Representatives wrote that "We are deeply concerned about how the use of these technologies impact the level of protection for consumer's personal information."

They stated that "As companies continue to develop and deploy these new technologies, clear policies guiding the implementation, operation, and maintenance of thee technologies are essential. Companies must also be transparent about the usage of consumer's personal information. Finally, consumers should have the choice to affirmatively opt-in to being subject to facial recognition or detection."

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. Blake Farenhold (R-TX), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) also signed this letter.

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1/31. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division (CSD) released its draft SP 800-61 Rev. 2 [63 pages in PDF], titled "Computer Security Incident Handling Guide". The deadline to submit comments is March 16, 2012.

People and Appointments

1/27. Aneesh Chopra left employment at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). His titles were "Assistant to the President" and "Chief Technology Officer". See, White House news office release. He is scheduled to speak at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington DC on February 8, 2012, at 9:00 AM. See, CAP notice.

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1/27. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces its annual adjustments to the Hart Scott Rodino Act thresholds, The effective date is February 27, 2012. See, Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 18, Friday, January 27, 2012, at Pages 4323-4324. The FTC also published another notice in the Federal Register that announces revised thresholds for interlocking directorates required by the 1990 amendment of Section 8 of the Clayton Act. The effective date is January 27, 2012. See, Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 18, Friday, January 27, 2012, at Page 4324.

Google Submits Privacy Compliance Report to FTC

1/26. Google submitted a report [14 pages in PDF] to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as required by the Decision and Order [7 pages in PDF] dated October 13, 2011, in which it addresses, among other things, its new privacy policy scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2012.

On March 30, 2011, the FTC issued an administrative complaint [8 pages in PDF] against Google alleging that it violated FTC Act, and the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework, in connection with the initial launch of its Buzz social networking service. The FTC and Google simultaneously entered into an Agreement Containing Consent Order [9 pages in PDF] which mandated a comprehensive privacy program for Google, and required a compliance report by Google, among other things. See, story titled "FTC Issues and Settles Complaint Against Google" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,213, March 31, 2011.

The FTC requested and received public comments. The FTC issued its final Decision and Order [7 pages in PDF] on October 13, 2011.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a complaint with the FTC on February 6, 2011, regarding Google's newly launched of Buzz service. That complaint may have been a causal factor in the FTC's decision to act against Google.

The EPIC wrote in its web site that Google's January 26 compliance report "raises new questions about the company's failure to comply with" the FTC's order.

The EPIC wrote that "The Order required Google to answer detailed questions about how it protects the personal information of Google users. But Google chose not to answer many of the questions. Most significantly, the company did not explain to the Commission the impact on user privacy of the proposed changes that will take place on March 1."

See also, related story in this issue titled "EPIC Sues FTC to Compel Enforcement of Google Privacy Order".

Go to News from January 21-25, 2012.