Friday, March 1, 2013

Morning Brief: The Sequestration; Groupon CEO runs afoul of shareholders, Google runs afoul of regulators

Monday's Morning Brief began by stating that this week would be a dominated by talk of the "sequestration", those automatic spending cuts that would occur if Congress did not reach a new budget agreement. But the week went on without any progress – and, well, today is now March 1.

But the news, as it turns out, has not been completely dominated by the looming deadline, despite the best efforts of the White House. Yesterday the big story was the canning of Groupon CEO Andrew Mason who left the scene quickly following the release of another dismal earnings report – but not before releasing a memorable farewell email.

With the Tribune Company now putting up for sale its newspaper holdings the talk has turned to who would buy the papers, which including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. There are a lot of candidates but ultimately I think the buyer(s) will come from a source that looks at the papers less as a financial investment than as a political one.

Google is running afoul of European regulators again over the issue of privacy. Thirty data protection officials have sent the U.S. search and advertising giant a message that it wasn't happy with its progress in making changes.

"In October 2012, the Article 29 Working Party highlighted deficiencies in Google's privacy policy and gave some recommendations to Google on how to address these. To date, considering that Google has not taken any precise measures in response to those recommendations, the requirements of Directive 95/46/EC are still not complied with."

"Data Protection Authorities have decided to continue their investigations in close cooperation and to take all necessary actions according to their competences and powers. Significant progress on these actions will be made before summer. A taskforce led by the French DPA (CNIL) will help to coordinate these actions."