The Week in Tech Policy – Aug. 6th Edition

This edition of The Week in Tech Policy has stories on higher education, online privacy guidelines for children, wireless spectrum and more.

Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s assess higher education’s financial health. Two major credit agencies have reached the conclusion that the high education industry’s financial risks have intensified since the start of 2012. Why? According to the University of Washington’s Office of Planning & Budgeting Blog, “both agencies noted that…state budget appropriations continue to fall, operating expenses are outpacing tuition revenue growth, and diminishing family net worth could affect enrollment as a growing number of colleges become unaffordable.”

Federal Trade Commission: stricter privacy guidelines needed for kids. The FTC recommended stricter online privacy guidelines “aimed at making mobile devices safer for children to use and at barring third-party advertising networks and websites from collecting information on children without their parents’ consent,” USA Today reported on Aug. 1. “The proposal is the latest update to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, which details the measures that websites must take to protect those under age 13.”

Wireless sector worried about spectrum sharing. The explosion of wireless devices over the past several years has put tremendous pressure on the nation’s supply of wireless spectrum, putting an important sector of the U.S. economy at risk. In mid-July, the Obama Administration released a report focused on freeing up government-held wireless spectrum in an effort to continue to foster both innovation and growth in the American wireless industry. The report also advocates for companies to share spectrum. That aspect of the report has some in the wireless industry worried. “They argue it might shift the federal government’s focus away from finding new chunks of spectrum that can be cleared for exclusive use by commercial wireless providers,” Tech Daily Dose reported on July 31.

High Profile Patent Case Kicks Off. The Wall Street Journal was among those covering the start of a trial over patent disputes between Apple and Samsung, with an Apple designer taking the stand and describing some of the company’s process for designing products as reported in this July 31 Wall Street Journal blog post.

New IT trade barriers outlined in report. A new report from the Business Software Alliance released on Aug. 1 “says that foreign governments are developing a variety of ways–from requirements that data must be stored locally to rules instituting their own technology standards–to try to keep U.S. and other foreign tech firms from doing business in their countries,” according to The National Journal. Microsoft Senior Director of Global Trade Policy and Strategy Dorothy Dwoskin participated in a Business Software Alliance panel that accompanied the release of the report on Wednesday. The BSA event was keynoted by House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady and held at the Library of Congress.

Cybersecurity bill fails in the U.S. Senate. Following up on last week’s coverage of the Cybersecurity Act, Hillicon Valley, among others, reported on Aug. 2 that the bill, sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) died in the Senate. Hillicon Valley speculated that the “bill’s collapse likely kills any legislative action on cybersecurity this year, punting efforts to 2013.”

Thank you for reading this edition of The Week in Tech Policy.

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