|TLJ News from April 6-10, 2006|
Former Bush Administration Official Lauds Virtues of Governments' Censorship of Internet Communications
4/10. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted a program on the just published book titled Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World [Amazon]. The thesis is that national governments can and do effectively control the internet. For example, the internet is becoming bordered by the erection of national firewalls that filter content.
The book argues that those who believe that the internet is a free, open, ungovernable and borderless medium are mistaken. And, former President Clinton was naively confused when he asserted "There's no question China has been trying to crack down on the Internet -- good luck. That's sort of like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall." (See, Who Controls the Internet, at page 90.) See also, Clinton's speech of March 8, 2000, and TLJ story titled "Clinton Says Trade Deal and Internet Will Reform China", March 9, 2000.
The book argues that "the First Amendment does not reflect universal values; to the contrary, no other nation embraces these values" (page 157). Moreover, government censorship has "virtue" because it enables governments to regulate in a manner that "can better reflect differences among people". The book singles out for praise Australia's successful assertion of authority over the content of Dow Jones news published on web servers in the U.S.
It adds that people who advocate democracy online in communist China get "nailed to the wall" (page 91), but that China's internet based repression "does not undermine the case for territorial control of the Internet" (page 153).
Two of the participants in the AEI program were co-authors Jack Goldsmith and Timothy Wu. Goldsmith was, until recently, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, a small, secretive and powerful unit within the Department of Justice (DOJ) previously headed by William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia. Goldsmith is now employed at Harvard Law School, while Wu is employed at Columbia Law School.
The other speakers were Alan Davidson (Google lobbyist), David Gross (Department of State), and Sebastian Mallaby (Washington Post writer).
The book is a quick, easy, one sitting read. The body is 186 pages, but much of this is blank pages, white space, pictures, and simple diagrams. While the authors are law professors, this book is not legalistic. While it deals with new technologies, it is not technical. Many facets of internet technology are described by metaphor, rather than by explanation.
Most of the book is a collection of journalistic descriptions of episodes in the history of the internet, and its regulation, in the last ten years.
There is a chapter on the French government's successful censorship of the content on Yahoo's servers located in the U.S. There is chapter largely devoted to the Australian government's subjugation of Dow Jones and its news services. There is a chapter on the communist Chinese government's construction of the great firewall of China, with help from U.S. companies, and the subordination of U.S. internet companies to the role of enforcers of its censorship laws.
There are also chapters on the role of the U.S. government in combating eBay fraud and peer to peer file sharing networks.
The chapter that offers the most technical, and perhaps the most significant, contribution to the literature on the subject is an explanation of the operation and importance of internet naming and numbering and the internet root. It provides a history of the U.S. government's assertion of authority over the root.
This book knows no morality. There is no right and wrong in the description of recent developments. There are only participants, government laws and regulation, and outcomes.
The book does, however, articulate a notion of virtue -- not of personal virtue, but of virtue of government control and censorship.
The authors assert that "A bordered internet is valuable precisely because it permits people of different value systems to co-exist on the same planet" (page 152). Here, and throughout the book, Goldsmith, who was previously a senior government official, confuses the preferences and values of citizens of a nation with the preferences and values of its government officials.
One of the episodes addressed in detail is the Gutnick case, a defamation case in which an Australian court held that personal jurisdiction exists where the allegedly defamed party is located. The consequence was that an Australian plaintiff was able to extract a huge settlement from Dow Jones, and censor the content of its news stories published in the U.S., on U.S. servers. But more broadly, since any news content published on the web is available anywhere in the world, if not blocked, news publishers are subject to suit and censorship pursuant to the laws and procedures of any nation. This does not trouble Goldsmith and Wu. Rather, they defend and praise this case.
On December 10, 2002, the High Court of Australia issued its opinion in Dow Jones v. Gutnick. This case is Dow Jones & Company, Inc. v. Joseph Gutnick,  HCA 56, an appeal from the Supreme Court of Victoria. See also, story titled "High Court Rules Australia Has Jurisdiction Over Dow Jones Based on Web Publication" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 564, December 10, 2002.
Critics of this case have argued that this approach subjects internet speakers to the lowest common denominator of censorship. Goldsmith and Wu dismiss criticism of the Australia's Gutnick case as a "chorus of sky is falling rhetoric".
David Gross, the senior Department of State official responsible for internet and telecommunications issues, also spoke at this event. He shares Goldsmith's and Wu's regard for freedom of speech, or of the press. He proclaimed that his speech was "off the record".
The AEI hosted this program. The AEI also once hosted a program devoted to exposing and condemning the communist Chinese government's censorship of internet communications, and the role of certain U.S. companies in supporting the Chinese government's efforts. See, stories titled "AEI Panel Advocates "Freeing the Chinese Internet"" and "Technology of Internet Censorship" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 416, April 23, 2002.
FTC Comments on Florida Bill Affecting Internet Wine Sales
4/10. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) submitted a comment [12 pages in PDF] to the Florida State Senator Paula Dockery regarding a bill pending in the Florida Senate (S 282) to bring Florida law into compliance with the Supreme Court's 5-4 opinion [73 pages in PDF] in Granholm v. Heald.
On May 16, 2005, the Court ruled that Michigan's and New York's regulatory schemes that permit in-state wineries directly to ship alcohol to consumers, but restrict the ability of out-of-state wineries to do so, violate the dormant commerce clause. See, story titled "Supreme Court Rules in Internet Wine Sales Case" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,137, May 17, 2005.
The FTC wrote in its Florida comment that permitting internet wine sales benefits consumers. It stated that "Through direct shipping, and particularly through the Internet, consumers can conveniently purchase many wines that are not available in nearby bricks-and-mortar stores. The Internet effectively expands the geographic market by allowing online vendors to compete nationally. Further, an individual online store may feature more products than many bricks-and-mortar retail locations, as bricks-and-mortar retailers may not have the demand or shelf space to justify keeping a large variety of wines in stock. Moreover, smaller wineries may be unable to distribute their wines effectively through the three-tier (i.e., manufacturer/ wholesaler/ retailer) system that is mandated in most states. As the Supreme Court recently noted in its Granholm decision, ``many small wineries do not produce enough wine or have sufficient consumer demand for their wine to make it economical for wholesalers to carry their products. This has led many small wineries to rely on direct shipping to reach new markets.´´" (Parentheses in original. Footnotes omitted.)
The FTC added that even consumers who purchase only at brick and mortar stores benefit from internet wine sales because of the price competition that it creates, and because it facilitates price comparison research by consumers.
The FTC comment concludes that "The Internet lets consumers purchase an unprecedented array of goods and services from the convenience of their homes. Consumers can find thousands of goods, from thousands of suppliers around the country, and have those goods delivered to their doors. State bans on interstate direct shipping represent the single largest regulatory barrier to expanded e-commerce in wine. In states that ban interstate direct shipping, the bans prevent consumers from conveniently and less expensively purchasing wine from suppliers around the country." (Footnote omitted.)
4/10. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) wrote an opinion piece [PDF], published in CableFAXDaily, titled "State of Decency in DC".
USTR Report Identifies Barriers to Telecom Trade
4/7. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released a report [11 pages in PDF] titled "Results of the 2006 Section 1377 Review of Telecommunications Trade Agreements".
This USTR is requires by Section 1337 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 to issue annual reports on the operation and effectiveness of U.S. telecommunications trade agreements. The USTR has a web page with hyperlinks to comments that it received, and to prior annual 1337 reports.
Peoples Republic of China. USTR Rob Portman (at right) stated in a release that "Countries requiring particular attention this year include: China which has yet to address the long-standing problem of excessive capitalization requirements ($240 million) for a license in the basic telecom sector (typically less than $1 million in other markets) despite US engagement with China in the JCCT)". (Parentheses in original.)
The report elaborates that "Although China has begun to discuss making changes to its capitalization requirement for telecommunications operators ($240 million per operator offering inter-regional services), it has taken no concrete steps to address this significant market access barrier." (Parentheses in original.)
It adds that this "raises questions regarding China's compliance with its WTO obligations", and that the "USTR will consider what further actions it may undertake".
The report also identifies China's discriminatory and nontransparent wireless technology standards. It states that "China is now in the process of planning to issue new licenses for third generation wireless services (3G services). China's process suffers from a lack of transparency and raises concerns that China may issue such licenses in a manner that is not in keeping with the licensing and spectrum management commitments it undertook through adoption of the basic telecommunications Reference Paper when it joined the WTO. In addition, press reports indicate that China has taken action to accord broad preferences to the development and testing of TD-SCDMA – a standard developed largely in China."
Universal Service Taxes and Subsidies. The report also identifies the use of universal service tax and subsidy regimes as barriers. Portman stated that "One issue that is particularly troubling to us is the emergence of new regulations around the world that are being billed as universal-service related, that may, in fact, limit competition or create barriers for foreign telecom operators ... USTR will continue to monitor these programs to ensure that they conform, where applicable, to WTO commitments on universal service."
The report states that "such programs do not constitute unreasonable barriers to access and use of networks", and that they should be "administered in a transparent, non-discriminatory, and competitively-neutral manner and not be more burdensome than necessary".
The report cites as examples Jamaica, Japan and India.
It states that Jamaica is subsidizing "its e-Learning Project -- a universal service program for building broadband access for schools and libraries in Jamaica." However, it is "choosing to fund this program predominantly, if not exclusively, through fees imposed on foreign operators." The report also identifies a lack of transparency in the operation of the program.
The report also states that "USTR remains concerned about Japan's universal service program. Under Japan's October 2005 program, designed to address high-cost regions, the only entities that appear eligible for this fund are the regional fixed-line operators NTT East and West. USTR has recommended to Japan that it reform this program to enable a broader range of operators, including mobile carriers, to apply for funding from this program to serve these regions."
The report also mentions "India's access deficit charge (ADC), which cross-subsidizes local service with revenue generated by long distance calls."
This report does not comment on the extent to which U.S. universal service, E-911, CALEA, and other non-economic regulatory regimes create barriers to access or use of networks, or are administered in a transparent, nondiscriminatory, and competitively neutral manner.
Mobile Termination Rates. As with prior USTR reports, this report identifies high mobile termination rates that discriminate against U.S. operators and consumers. It focuses on Germany and Japan.
The report finds that "In almost all markets with a calling party pays structure, where the regulator has investigated potential abuse by a mobile operator with ``bottleneck´´ control over reaching its subscribers, the regulator has concluded that rates the operator charged the interconnecting network have been unreasonably high. Further, in most of these cases, the regulator concluded that it needed to regulate rates. Key exceptions are Japan and Germany, where despite the existence of high rates and the regulators' findings that operators have market power, the regulator has declined to regulate rates." (Footnote omitted.)
The report also identifies Mexico, Peru, and Switzerland for its high mobile termination rates.
Access to Leased Lines and Submarine Cable Capacity. The report identifies "access to and use of leased lines and submarine cable systems" as a problem in some countries that hampers "U.S. operators' ability to enter and compete in several key markets".
The report states that "Commenters continue to argue that VSNL’s persistent refusal to permit interconnection at its cable landing stations, its potentially anti-competitive provisioning practices, and its failure to activate additional capacity on these cables, is resulting in artificial shortages of bandwidth into and out of India and inflating prices, which in turn, prevents U.S. operators from serving their global customers within India."
The report also states that "Onerous conditions for accessing leased lines in Singapore have plagued competitors in that market for the past several years, and when competitors have sought to install their own lines, SingTel – the majority government-owned, dominant carrier – has refused access to ducts it controls, creating further inefficiencies and slowing competitive entry."
CompTel is one of the groups that submitted a comment [23 pages in PDF] to the USTR. After release of the report, CompTel's Jason Oxman stated in a release that "COMPTEL in December of last year strongly urged USTR to vigorously enforce the obligations of our trading partners in an effort to foster true competition in the international communications marketplace. USTR in its annual review highlighted issues and concerns raised by COMPTEL, including fixed-to-mobile termination rates that far exceed cost and are discriminatory in Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Rim; excessive pricing and discriminatory provisioning of local access leased lines; and universal service-related concerns in Jamaica. We are pleased that USTR is working to ensure that U.S. companies have the ability to compete fairly overseas."
More Telecom News
4/7. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces, describes and sets comment deadlines for its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding creation of broadband channels in the 700 MHz public safety band. The FCC adopted this NPRM on March 17, 2006. See, story titled "FCC Adopts NPRM Re Public Safety Communications in the 700 MHz Band" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,332, March 20, 2006. The FCC released the text [30 pages in PDF] of this NPRM on March 21, 2006. This NPRM is FCC 06-34 in WT Docket No. 96-86. Initial comments are due by June 6, 2006. Reply comments are due by July 6, 2006. See, Federal Register, April 7, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 67, at Pages 17786-17790.
4/7. The U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces the the DOJ and FTC will conduct a series of joint hearings in Washington DC in June, July, September, October, November and December regarding how best to identify anticompetitive exclusionary conduct for purposes of antitrust enforcement under section 2 of the Sherman Act. The DOJ and FTC announced on March 30 that they would hold these joint hearings. However, they have yet to announce the dates and specific topics of any of the hearings. See, Federal Register, April 7, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 67, at Pages 17872-17874.
4/7. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the top thirteen U.S. universities in number of patents granted in 2005. See, USPTO release.
|390||Univ. of California|
|90||University of Texas|
|77||Univ. of Wisconsin|
|71||John Hopkins Univ.|
|71||Univ. of Michigan|
|64||University of Florida|
|43||Georgia Inst. of Tech.|
|43||Univ. of Pennsylvania|
4/7. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) and the La Escuela Superior de Economía y Administración de Empresas (ESEADE) cohosted a one day conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, titled "Intellectual Property and Innovation in the Digital World". See, PFF's web page for this event, and presentation [PDF] of the PFF's Tom Lenard titled "Issues in the Economics of Patents".
4/10. Kyle McSlarrow, P/CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), gave a speech in Atlanta, Georgia, in which he discussed pending internet and telecommunications legislation. He said that "We support streamlining the video franchise process and reducing any unnecessary regulation to a minimum with the rules applied to us and our competitors equally. By contrast, the Bell monopolies want a different result. They don't want to play by the rules. They want a different and more advantageous set of rules for them. And rather than debate the merits of the video franchising process, they are putting millions of dollars behind false and negative attacks on the cable industry with the same old tired rhetoric in order to get their way. It is undoubtedly one of the most expensive negative campaigns seen in years in Washington, D.C."
State Department Official Addresses IPR and Trade in Brazil
4/6. Anthony Wayne, the U.S. Department of States' Assistant Secretary for Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, gave a speech in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in which he discussed, among other topics, intellectual property rights (IPR), digital television standards, and Doha trade negotiations.
IPR. Wayne (at right) made the argument, as U.S. government officials frequently do when addressing audiences in countries with weak IPR protection, that IPR protection is in the self interest of that country. For example, he argued that "intellectual property protection regime is one of the key economic indicators investors look to when considering whether to invest in another country".
He praised Brazil for certain recent advances, but added that "IP concerns still remain, however. Despite the important progress made on the copyright front, copyright piracy remains high and more work remains to be done, especially in the area of prosecutions. Likewise, strong patent protection is key to fueling innovation in high-technology development. The U.S. recognizes and appreciates the significant progress Brazil has made in improving IP protection. We applaud these important efforts and look forward to working with your government to facilitate continued improvements."
Doha Round. Wayne stated that "WTO members, including Brazil and the United States, are working hard to achieve a successful Round. However, negotiations have reached a critical juncture, and we need to see significant progress in the next few weeks if we are to conclude an agreement by the end of this year that truly delivers on the goal of opening markets and fostering global economic growth and opportunity."
He continued that "the EU must table a more ambitious proposal in agriculture. At the same time, advanced developing countries, such as Brazil and India, need to agree to reduce tariffs on manufactured goods and increase market access in services."
He also addressed trade in services. He said that "in the area of services, the United States has consistently advocated the biggest possible package of openings -- this includes areas such as financial services, telecommunications, computer related services, and express delivery. Liberalization of the services sector has injected greater competitiveness into developing countries that have opened their services markets. It produces needed improvements in terms of infrastructure, efficiency, and modernizing their economies. So it's not just something that's important to the developed countries. It's also critical to the development objectives of the Round."
He added that "the trade promotion authority that the U.S. Administration needs to implement trade agreements expires next summer and is not likely to be renewed in the near future".
Digital Television. Wayne said that "I understand that President Lula is going to announce the selection of the Brazilian digital TV standard soon. Of the several options on the table, we believe the ATSC standard [Advanced Television Systems Committee (the North American standard for digital TV, including high-definition)] offers the best combination of economic, social, and technical advantages. It has been adopted by the U.S., Canada, Mexico and South Korea. These countries that have adopted the ATSC standards are seeing a rapid increase in the sales of high definition television products. Brazil’s adoption of the ATSC standard will ensure a hemispheric standard, creating a market of 800 million people for DTV products and services." (Parentheses and brackets in original.)
FCC to Meet on April 12
4/6. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an agenda [4 pages in PDF] for its event titled "Open Meeting", scheduled for Wednesday, April 12, 2006. This agenda includes four spectrum related items.
First, the FCC is scheduled to adopt a Ninth Report and Order and Order establishing procedures for the relocation of Broadband Radio Service (BRS) operations in the 2150-2160/62 MHz band, which the FCC previously decided will be relocated to the newly restructured 2495-2690 MHz band, and relocation of Fixed Microwave Service (FWS) operations, including cost sharing obligations, in the 2160-2175 MHz band. This item also addresses a related petition for reconsideration. See, NPRM numbered FCC 05-172 in ET Docket No. 00-258, and WT Docket No. 02-353
Second, the FCC is scheduled to adopt an Order on Reconsideration and Fourth Memorandum Opinion and Order addressing spectrum sharing among incumbent and future services in the 2495-2500 MHz band, and a Third Memorandum Opinion and Order and Second Report and Order regarding changes to the service rules applicable to the BRS and the Educational Broadband Service (EBS).
Third, the FCC is scheduled to adopt a Public Notice addressing filing requirements, minimum opening bids, upfront payments and other procedures for Auction No. 66. This is the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) or Third Generation (3G) auction, scheduled to start on June 29, 2006. This is AU Docket No. 06-30.
Finally, the FCC is scheduled to adopt a Memorandum Opinion and Order addressing a petition filed by the Forest Conservation Council, American Bird Conservancy and Friends of the Earth for National Environmental Policy Act Compliance.
This event is scheduled for 9:30 AM on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 in the FCC's Commission Meeting Room, Room TW-C305, 445 12th Street, SW. The event will be webcast by the FCC. The FCC does not always consider all of the items on its published agenda. The FCC sometimes adds items to the agenda without providing the "one week" notice required 5 U.S.C. § 552b. The FCC does not always start its monthly meetings at the scheduled time. The FCC usually does not release at its meetings copies of the items that its adopts at its meetings.
Adelstein Decries Fake News
4/6. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein gave another speech [PDF] about "fake news". He appeared at a news conference hosted by the Center for Media Democracy (CMD) and Free Press.
He also gave a speech [PDF] on this subject on May 25, 2005. See, story titled "Adelstein Angles for More FCC Regulation of Speech" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,143, May 26, 2005.
On April 6, 2006, Adelstein (at right) stated, "Last May, I called on citizens and public interest advocates to monitor the media, and alert the FCC to undisclosed promotions that may violate our sponsorship identification laws. Today, I am here to receive a very well documented and researched report indicating fake news is alive and well in the American media. It shows that local news is sometimes neither local nor news."
He continued that "The problem with the many video news releases these groups have uncovered is that they lead viewers to believe they are watching a real news report when instead they are getting a subtle dose of corporate propaganda."
The CMD published information about its monitoring of media in its web site.
In addition, the Free Press and CMD wrote a letter [3 pages in PDF] to FCC Commissioners asking them to investigate "the ongoing crisis and scandal in our broadcast news media provoked by the widespread and undisclosed use of ``video news releases´´ (VNRs)."
The letter states that "A list of the worst possible offenders includes stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, News Corp./Fox Television Stations, Clear Channel Communications, Tribune Company and Viacom/CBS Corp."
The letter states that it is a "formal complaint", and it uses the term "violations". While, it does not cite by number any statutes or rules that it alleges have been violated, it does allege that "sponsorship identification rules" have been violated.
The letter is also written in the nature of a petition for rulemaking, although it does not identify itself as such. For example, it states that "Before the Commission reconsiders broadcast ownership rules, it should determine whether station consolidation contributes directly to these types of violations."
The letter also requests that the FCC improve "the effectiveness of the rules" regarding sponsorship disclosure. It requests three things:
"1. All broadcast of provided and/or sponsored video footage be required to carry a
continuous, frame-by-frame visual notification of its source.
2. All broadcast of provided and/or sponsored audio material be required to include a verbal notification at its beginning and/or end, disclosing its source.
3. Broadcasters be required to place in their public file a monthly report on their use of all provided and/or sponsored material."
FCC Amends Junk Fax Rules
4/6. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted on April 5, and released on April 6, an order [50 pages in PDF] titled "Report and Order and Third Order on Reconsideration" that amends the FCC's junk fax rules, as required by the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005. See also, FCC release [PDF].
The order states that the rules changes "(1) codify an established business relationship (EBR) exemption to the prohibition on sending unsolicited facsimile advertisements; (2) provide a definition of an EBR to be used in the context of unsolicited facsimile advertisements; (3) require the sender of a facsimile advertisement to provide specified notice and contact information on the facsimile that allows recipients to “opt-out” of any future facsimile transmissions from the sender; and (4) specify the circumstances under which a request to “opt-out” complies with the Act."
President Bush signed S 714, the "Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005", into law on July 11, 2005. It is now Public Law No. 109-21.
This order is FCC 06-42 in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991" and numbered CG Docket No. 02-278, and its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005" and numbered CG Docket No. 05-338.
People and Appointments
4/6. The Senate confirmed Benjamin Powell to be General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. See, Congressional Record, April 6, 2006, at page S3346.
4/6. The Senate confirmed Gordon England to be Deputy Secretary of Defense. See, Congressional Record, April 6, 2006, at page S3346.
4/6. The Senate confirmed Michael Chagares to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. See, Congressional Record, April 4, 2006, at page S2847.
4/6. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) released a short paper titled "Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation in the Information Technology Industries". The author is the PFF's Jim DeLong. He writes that "many companies are re-conceiving themselves as platform companies, or network companies, with a business plan of providing basic platforms to which others can add innovations." Meanwhile, "Other companies, individuals, and universities are going into the business of producing innovations for the platform companies, knowing that the platform company is better positioned to exploit an innovation -- to develop it, market it, integrate it into an overall system." In addition, the "platform companies sometimes produce innovations that do not fit with the core business or expertise, and which they cannot exploit efficiently. They need to hand off either to other platform companies, which are better able to use a particular innovation, or to innovation companies, which are equipped to take the idea and build on it." DeLong argues that it is the intellectual property rights (IPR) system that enables the innovators and platform companies to deal with each other. Hence, he concludes that "those who regard the destruction of IPR as the key to promoting interoperability and cooperation among firms have the situation exactly backward. To the contrary, the road to effective cooperation and interoperability is through IPR."
4/6. The House Judiciary Committee (HJC) held an oversight hearing on the Department of Justice (DOJ). Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified the "In addition to our ongoing fight against terrorism, the Justice Department continues to focus on five strategic priorities", one of which is "cyber crime". He focused on the DOJ's investigations and prosecutions related to internet distribution of child pornography. See, prepared testimony [PDF].
4/6. The U.S. District Court (NDCal) issued its final judgment and permanent injunction [29 pages in PDF] in FTC v. Optin Global, Inc., holding that the defendants violated the FTC Act, the CAN SPAM Act, and various California state statutes in connection with their sending commercial email messages. See also, FTC release. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the state of California filed their civil complaint [24 pages in PDF] on April 12, 2005. See, story titled "FTC Files CAN SPAM Act Complaint" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,115, April 14, 2005. This case is numbered Civil Action No. C-05-1502 SC.
4/6. President Bush sent a cover letter and proposed FY 2007 Budget amendments [23 pages in PDF] to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. This includes changes in the language for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) budget request. The gross spending authority and offsetting collections remain unchanged. The proposed amendments state that the new language "would make all prior and future regulatory fee collections in excess of specified collections targets unavailable for obligation to correctly reflect existing policy. This balance would remain in the Salaries and Expenses account and an appropriation would be required before such funds become available for obligation. This action will not affect the Federal Communications Commission’s planned expenditures or activities."
Go to News from April 1-5, 2006.