AAF Government Report

July 22, 2011

Clark Rector Jr., Executive Vice President – Government Affairs

Dwayne Fitzhugh, Federation Intern

Subcommittee Approves Data Security Bill

On July 20, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade approved H.R. 2577, the Secure and Fortify Electronic Data Act, or SAFE Data Act.

The measure, which passed by voice vote, would set national standards for protecting and responding to computer breaches involving the loss of personal data. The bill would require companies to notify consumers within 48 hours if the stolen data could lead to identity theft, and within 45 days otherwise. It would also create a single national standard so companies would not have to comply with differing, and sometimes conflicting, multiple state standards.

Despite the voice vote, the bill was not universally supported. Democrats complained that the measure would weaken protections and that the definition of personal information should be expanded. Chairwoman Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., said that while the definition should be look at, it should be done in the context of the broader privacy debate ongoing within the committee.

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GAO Chides FCC

The Government Accountability Office recently issued a report citing what it calls Federal Communications Commission shortcomings in enforcing the Children’s Television Act, in particular in regards to cable and satellite providers. 

The CTA limits the amount of advertising during children’s programming.  The FCC does not monitor compliance.  Broadcasters voluntarily self-report violations during license renewal.  Cable and satellite providers are not required to be licensed by the FCC and thus do not self-report.  The Commission has not developed specific standards for core programming or judging program content, due to free speech concerns.

The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood has asked the FCC to cite the Nickelodeon network for the show Zevo-3, claiming it is a program length commercial due to the use of characters developed for a comic distributed with Skechers shoes.  AAF has filed both initial and reply comments with the Commission explaining that they already have a well established policy insuring the separation of commercial and program content, which allows the use of characters in commercial content.  A finding in favor of the CCFC would undermine this policy and create a harmful and dangerous precedent that could threaten the longstanding use of many fictional characters in advertising.

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