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McCain Raises Red Flag on Broadcast Flag

Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) wrote Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell last week to express concerns about the "broadcast flag" proposal expected out of the FCC any time now.

McCain said he was concerned about the impact of the flag -- a technology to protect against unauthorized redistribution of digital-TV broadcasts -- on customary, or "fair use," viewing and recording of broadcast TV.

He also raised the "analog hole" issue, which is the concern that "unprotected analog inputs" on TVs and other devices would render the flag "ineffective."

McCain asked what impact the FCC thought the flag would have on consumers and whether "the anticipated benefit to be derived from such a mandate justifies its potential cost."

Consumer-electronics companies and movie studios have raised similar concerns, but McCain said he was writing on no one's behalf but his own.