Midweek Policy Highlights

This week in Washington: the FTC goes deeper on privacy, Facebook amends its SEC filing to account for potential regulatory review, and immigration and spectrum remain hot topics.


Facebook amended its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of its initial public offering May 15. The filing extended the expected closure date of the $1 billion Instragram purchase from the second quarter of 2012 to 2012 generally. The move could signal deeper scrutiny by regulators on the competitive impact of the deal. Currently, the transaction is in a procedural 30-day review under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act premerger notification program. Engine will continue to monitor the review and its potential impact on future startup acquisitions.


Associate director of the Federal Trade Commission’s division of privacy and identity protection Maneesha Mithal spoke at a Congressional Internet Caucus event on Monday about the agency’s recent report on privacy. She highlighted recent settlements with social networks including MySpace that involved companies’ adherence to their privacy policies.

Edward Felton, the agency’s chief technologist on leave from Princeton University’s Center for Information and Technology Policy, also blogged this week on the technical details of recent moves by the government to address privacy on social media platforms.


Engine blogged earlier this week on moves by the Department of Homeland Security and Congress that may help startups gain access to more highly-skilled immigrant workers. Senator John Cornyn is said to be introducing a bill that would boost the number of visas available to immigrants with graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.


Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski is slated to give a speech May 17 at 10:30 EST on spectrum reallocated to support “medical body area networks” (MBAN). GE Healthcare and Philips Healthcare are scheduled to demo MBAN devices. Repurposing spectrum for new technologies is a major priority to open innovation across industries and MBAN is a major development in the healthcare field. A live stream can be viewed here.