Google (GOOG) and Facebook are joining forces to oppose a privacy bill in California that would limit online advertising. The measure would prohibit companies from collecting personal data, including names, phone numbers, and Internet browsing history, as well as from selling or sharing consumer data. Those data are the foundation of so-called observed behavior advertising that targets consumers based on their Web usage and location. Limits could trim ad revenue in the state by $579 million in 2014, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis. Although other state and federal lawmakers have proposed do-not-track bills, California's is the most far-reaching.
PBS: Adding Commercial Breaks
PBS is considering adding promotional breaks during programs, a departure from its decades-old practice of airing shows uninterrupted. It will test the new format on one night of programming each week to measure the response. Previously, PBS ran promotions for its corporate and foundation sponsors only at the beginning and end of each program, leaving viewers alone for up to 50 minutes. The new plan, which calls for four breaks per show, will drop ad-free stretches down to 15 minutes.
Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac: No-Bid Contracts from the Treasury
Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC) received more than $400 million in no-bid contracts with the Treasury Dept. to administer and enforce the Obama Administration's signature foreclosure relief program. The Congressional Oversight Panel said the government-run companies have a conflict of interest because they are both policing the program as well as using it to modify loans they own or guarantee. It also said the companies have ongoing business relationships with the mortgage firms they must police under the contracts.
Handset Makers: Warnings on Using Cell Phones
Talking on cell phone handsets may increase risk of brain cancer, according to a survey of existing research commissioned by the World Health Organization. In its first definitive recommendation on the topic, the WHO labeled cell phones as "possibly carcinogenic," a category that includes diesel fuel and chloroform. The wireless industry challenged the findings, saying the survey did not involve new research and relied on potentially flawed data. An estimated 5 billion people use mobile phones worldwide.
Juan Valdez: Colombia Promotes Coffee in China
Colombia's National Coffee Growers Federation is hoping to hook Chinese youth on coffee instead of tea. The Federation has created a new logo that uses the Chinese characters for "aroma" and "savor" alongside the trademark image of coffee farmer Juan Valdez. It is also hosting a coffee tasting for experts from China. Starbucks (SBUX) and Nestlé are planning to expand in China as well. Last year, China, Korea, Japan, and Australia absorbed 17 percent of Colombia's arabica coffee crop.
On the Move
— Renault: Nissan America's chief, Carlos Tavares, named COO.
— Time Warner Cable (TWX): Irene M. Esteves appointed CFO
— Federal Reserve: Research Director David Stockton to retire after 30 years at the Fed