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Cecilia Kang
The Washington Post|washingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON — As phone companies retool their businesses for the Internet, they are calling on Washington, D.C., to liberate them from their longtime overseer, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Led by high-profile former regulators and lawmakers, telecom giants including Verizon, AT&T and Comcast have launched multiple efforts to shift regulation of their broadband businesses to other agencies that don’t have nearly as much power as the FCC.

Jon Leibowitz, the former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), will lobby House Republican and Democratic staff on behalf of those firms, urging lawmakers to take away some privacy powers from the FCC. read more »

 

Apple will appear before a federal court this week in a stubborn quest to defend its name and beat down charges that it led a conspiracy to inflate e-book prices.

And as Apple fiercely protects its own image, the company will work to sully the reputation of its rival Amazon.com.

The Justice Department filed suit against Apple and five book publishers in April 2012, accusing them of price fixing in an effort to outflank Amazon in the market for e-books. All five publishers have settled with the government, but Apple has forged on to trial.

Amazon is not implicated in the Justice Department’s suit, but it will be dragged into what is expected to be a prolonged and nasty court battle, analysts say. read more »

 
Technology
If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and many rural areas.

WASHINGTON — The federal government wants to create super Wi-Fi networks across the nation that are so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month.

The proposal from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rattled the $178 billion wireless industry, which has launched a fierce lobbying effort to persuade policymakers to reconsider the idea, analysts say. That has been countered by an equally intense campaign from Google, Microsoft and other tech giants who say a free-for-all Wi-Fi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor.

The airwaves that FCC officials want to hand over to the public would be much more powerful than existing Wi-Fi networks that have become common in households. read more »

 

Last Friday night, employees at the Advisory Board consulting firm had an unusual task: stay off email.

Stash those smartphones and laptops, the Washington, D.C., firm’s executives instructed. For those who just can’t stay away, read but don’t reply. Ignore your inbox over the weekend, the firm added.

The firm’s push for no after-hours email is part of a growing effort by some employers to rebuild the boundaries between work and home that have crumbled amid the do-more-with-less ethos of the economic downturn. read more »

 
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