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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Justices signal deep trouble for health care law

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The fate of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul was cast into peril Tuesday as the Supreme Court's conservative justices sharply and repeatedly questioned its core requirement that virtually every American carry insurance. The court will now take up whether any remnant of the historic law can survive if that linchpin fails.

The justices' questions in Tuesday's hearing carried deeply serious implications but were sometimes flavored with fanciful suggestions. If the government can force people to buy health insurance, justices wanted to know, can it require people to by burial insurance? Cellphones? Broccoli?

The law, pushed to passage by Obama and congressional Democrats two years ago, would affect nearly all Americans and extend insurance coverage to 30 million people who now lack it. Republicans are strongly opposed, including the presidential contenders now campaigning for the chance to challenge Obama in November.

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FTC seeks law to shed more light on data brokers

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ The Federal Trade Commission is calling for a new law that would allow people to review the vast amounts of information being collected about them as the Internet, smartphones and other technology make it easier to create digital dossiers of just about anyone's life.

It's an unusually tough proposal from a consumer protection agency that prefers to coax companies into adopting voluntary principles. Part of an online privacy report the FTC released this week, the suggestion comes a month after the Obama administration proposed a "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights" and urged technology companies, consumer groups and others to work together on developing more safeguards.

The FTC's 57-page report also touched on other topics: The agency said Congress needs to impose more limits on so-called "data brokers," who profit from collecting and selling files information that can affect people's ability to get a job or find housing. Data brokers range from publicly traded companies such as Acxiom Corp. to a hodgepodge of small, regional service companies that with just a few employees.

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