|TLJ News from July 26-31, 2006|
11th Circuit Rules on Preemption of State Regulation of Wireless Services
7/31. The U.S. Court of Appeals (11thCir) issued its opinion [44 pages in PDF] in NASUCA v. FCC, petitions for review of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) order preempting the states from requiring or prohibiting the use of line items in customer billing for cellular wireless services.
47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(3)(A) provides, in part, that "no State or local government shall have any authority to regulate the entry of or the rates charged by any commercial mobile service or any private mobile service, except that this paragraph shall not prohibit a State from regulating the other terms and conditions of commercial mobile services ..."
The Court of Appeals granted the petition. It held that the FCC exceeded its authority when it preempted the states from requiring or prohibiting the use of line items. It wrote that "The scope of federal authority to regulate ``rates´´ or ``entry´´ does not include the presentation of line items on cellular wireless bills. ... This billing practice is a matter of ``other terms and conditions´´ that Congress intended to be regulable by the states."
Steve Largent, head of the CTIA, stated in a release that "This decision highlights the need for Congress to re-establish a firm and consistent national regulatory framework for wireless service. Creating a mish-mash of inconsistent state-by-state wireless regulations will do nothing to benefit consumers and doesn’t make sense. Quite the contrary, this type of piecemeal regulation will dismantle the national business models that wireless companies have built to deliver consumers highly innovative products and services at lower prices. Forcing wireless providers to establish different business models in different states, whether it’s in all 50 or just a handful, for the sole purpose of complying with disparate regulatory regimes will only increase consumer costs and slow innovation."
This case is National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, et al. v. FCC, et al., App. Ct. Nos. 05-11682 and 05-12601, petitions for review of a final order of the FCC. Judge Pryor wrote the opinion of the Court of Appeals, in which Judges Black and Cox joined.
SEC Sues Operator of Online Tout and Trade Scheme
7/31. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil complaint [PDF] in U.S. District Court (CDCal) against Nicholas A. Czuczko alleging violation of federal securities laws in connection with his trading of stocks that he recommended in his web site titled "Stockster", which is still located at the URL www dot thestockster dot com.
The complaint alleges that "Czuczko netted large profits by buying shares of the stocks prior to his recommendations on the Stockster site and then quickly selling the shares into the rising market that the site created. The Stockster site, which claimed to be the website of an "independent research company," did not disclose that Czuczko intended to sell his shares once the price increased. Furthermore, the site did not inform Internet visitors when Czuczko actually began to sell his shares. From the site's inception in the mid-December 2005, Czuczko made more than $2.7 million by selling the Stockster site's recommended stocks."
The complaint also alleges that he recommended that investors purchase stock in a company in which he held the majority of the stock, and failed to disclose to the SEC his associated sales.
The complaint also alleges that "Czuczko paid for a sustained Internet advertising campaign to promote the Stockster website", including web site ads in Marketwatch.com, The Street.com, and The Wall Street Journal Online, and search query response ads in Google and Yahoo. The complaint states that he spent about $1.15 Million on advertising.
The complaint states that the Stockster web site included a notice that stated that "Officers, directors, and employees of The Stockster or the financial analysts mentioned, and members of their families may hold a position  and may, from time to time, trade in these securities for their own accounts." But, the complaint adds, Czuczko never disclosed his intent to sell.
The SEC's complaint also states that "To avoid public association with the Stockster website, Czuczko registered for the domain name through a service that shielded his name from publicly accessible registration information."
See also, related story in this issue titled "House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Access to Whois Database".
The complaint pleads securities fraud in violation of Section 10b and Rule 10b5, securities fraud in violation of Section 17, and failure to file notices of stock transactions.
See also, SEC release. This case is SEC v. Nicholas Czuczko, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, D.C. No. CV 06-4792 GAF.
GAO Reports on Federal Government Transition to IPv6
7/31. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [30 pages in PDF] titled "Internet Protocol Version 6: Federal Government in Early Stages of Transition and Key Challenges Remain".
Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), which is currently replacing IPv4, provides a vastly increased number of internet addresses. It also provides for more efficient and faster routing, enhanced mobility features, and improved security, for example, through authentication. See also, story titled "House Government Reform Committee Holds Hearing on IPv6" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,168, July 5, 2005.
The GAO's report states that "Federal agencies have taken steps to plan for the transition to IPv6, but several agencies have not completed key activities. For example, as of April 2006, almost all of the 24 major agencies have assigned an official to lead and coordinate the IPv6 transition. However, ten agencies had not developed IPv6-related policies and enforcement mechanisms."
The report also states that "Applications that take advantage of IPv6 features are being planned or implemented both within and outside of the federal government, including applications to support emergency response, enhance warfighting capabilities, and facilitate continuity of operations planning. However, these applications are few, in large part because organizations are still in the early stages of the transition or because they lack incentives to use the new protocol."
The Department of Defense (DOD) is the only federal agency covered by the report that is actually developing IPv6 applications. The report states that the "increased address space of IPv6 will provide DOD with an opportunity to reconstitute its address space architecture to better respond to the future proliferation of numerous unmanned sensors and mobile assets."
The report adds that "Permitting devices to directly communicate on the move is essential because DOD wants to use the enhanced mobility and automatic configuration to rapidly deploy networks across the globe. Further, DOD believes that the return to an end-to-end communications security model will allow it to provide greater information assurance by, among other things, providing for more secure peer-to-peer communications. Finally, DOD is developing applications that take advantage of IPv6’s improved quality of service features to enhance many of its other initiatives, such as voice over IP, which is the transmission of voice data over an IP-based network instead of the traditional transmission over a general purpose circuit-switched network."
See also, story titled "DISA's IPv6 Transition Chief Indicted for P2P Porn on Office Computer" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,333, March 21, 2006.
The report also touches on uses of IPv6 outside of the federal government. For example, it states that "One broadband/cable provider is currently planning to migrate to IPv6 by 2008 to use the increased address space for better management of its cable equipment." The report does not identify which service provider this is.
The report also states vaguely that "The telecommunications industry is working on improving customer services by developing the next generation network. This is a new network model that is based on the extensive use of Internet protocols -- particularly IPv6 -- to accommodate the diversity of applications inherent in emerging broadband technologies."
And, the report states that "The Japanese government reported making progress in implementing several IPv6 applications to improve existing operations. According to the Japanese IPv6 Promotion Council, Japan plans to have almost all of its telecommunications run on IPv6 to support applications that would improve telephone, cable, and facility management (e.g., security and electricity) services. For example, the use of an IPv6 infrastructure for facility management would support applications that minimize energy use in industrial buildings." (Parentheses in original.)
The report also addresses challenges that government agencies face in transitioning for IPv4 to IPv6. The report addresses in some detail the security related issues.
DOJ Closes Investigation of MediaNews' Acquisition of Mercury News and Contra Costa Times
7/31. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division announced in a release that it has closed its investigation into MediaNews Group Inc.'s proposed acquisition of the Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times.
The DOJ stated that "only a relatively small number of readers and advertisers view MediaNews' papers, on the one hand, and the Contra Costa Times and Mercury News, on the other hand, as substitutes. In this respect, competition among these newspapers in the East Bay is unlike that in other markets where the Department has concluded that newspaper mergers would cause significant competitive harm."
It added that "following the acquisition, MediaNews will continue to face competition for the sale of newspapers and newspaper advertising in the East Bay from the San Francisco Chronicle, which is owned by Hearst Corporation (Hearst) and is not involved in the proposed transaction. In addition, the Division concluded that the transaction would enable MediaNews to achieve large cost savings by combining the production and delivery systems of the Contra Costa Times and Mercury News with those used by the papers it already owns in the East Bay. These savings--and the parties' inability to achieve them absent the merger--were documented by detailed analyses provided by the parties. These savings will benefit consumers and allow MediaNews' East Bay papers to compete more effectively against the San Francisco Chronicle for readers and advertisers."
The Contra Costa Times publishes suburban newspapers in Northern California. Its web site offers this summary of its daily and weekly publications: "The Contra Costa Newspapers is comprised of four daily editions: Contra Costa Times, San Ramon Valley Times, West County Times and Valley Times. In addition, the Times produces twelve weekly newspapers that focus on local news: Ledger Dispatch, Brentwood News, Walnut Creek Journal, Concord Transcript, Contra Costa Sun, Pleasant Hill/Martinez Record, West County Weekly and the Hills Newspapers (Montclarion, Piedmonter, Alameda Journal, Berkeley Voice and El Cerrito Journal)." (Parentheses in original.)
See also, Contra Costa Times story titled "Newspaper deal expected to close this week", by George Avalos.
The Mercury News publishes a newspaper in Silicon Valley, California, and a web site. It is currently owned by The McClatchy Company, which owns newspapers around the United States. See also, Mercury News story titled "Justice Department approves sale of Mercury News to MediaNews", by Pete Carey.
MediaNews Group owns 40 newspapers in 9 states, including many in the San Francisco area.
On July 28, 2006, the U.S. District Court (NDCal) denied a motion for a temporary restraining order affecting the two proposed acquisitions. See, McClatchy release.
Federal Circuit Orders Reassignment in Eolas v. Microsoft
7/31. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) its opinion [9 pages in PDF] in Eolas v. Microsoft, reversing the District Court's denial of Microsoft's motion to have the case reassigned to a different judge.
Previously, the Court of Appeals reversed in part a judgment of the U.S. District Court (NDIll) and remanded for further proceedings. Microsoft sought assignment of a new judge, not because of bias or prejudice, but pursuant to the rules of the 7th Circuit and the Northern District of Illinois, which provide for automatic reassignment following certain remands.
The rules of the 7th Circuit provide for automatic reassignment in certain cases remanded from the 7th Circuit. But, since this is a patent case, the Federal Circuit had jurisdiction. Nevertheless, the Federal Circuit concluded in the present opinion that the rules of the 7th Circuit require reassignment, and hence, reversed.
This case is Eolas Technologies, Inc. and Regents of the University of California v. Microsoft Corporation, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, App. Ct. No. 06-1238, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Judge James Zagel presiding. Judge Rader wrote the opinion of the Court of Appeals, in which Judges Plager and Prost joined.
People and Appointments
7/31. President Bush named Kenneth Kiyul Lee to be Associate Counsel to the President. He was previously an attorney at the law firm of Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. Before that, he was Special Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. See, White House release.
7/31. President Bush named Andrea Looney to be Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. She was previously Chief of Staff to Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN). See, White House release.
7/31. President Bush announced his intent to nominate Susan Dudley to be Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). She is currently Director of the Regulatory Studies Program of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. See, White House release.
7/31. President Bush announced his intent to nominate Arthur Reilly to be a Member of the National Science Board (National Science Foundation), for the remainder of a six-year term expiring May 10, 2012. See, White House release.
7/31. President Bush named Bryan Corbett to be Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. He was previously Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Treasury. See, White House release.
7/31. David Unterhalter was appointed to the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) for the remainder of a term that expires on December 11, 2009. He replaces John Lockhart, who died in January. See, WTO release.
7/31. Peter Mandelson, the European Commission for Trade, wrote a piece on the collapse of Doha talks, which is published in his web site, and in Financial Times. He wrote that "Doha is now losing the race against time. It cannot now be concluded by the end of 2006. This means that the fast-track negotiating authority granted to the US president by Congress will probably expire before a final deal can be approved. As things stand, unless George W.Bush persuades Congress to renew his negotiators' mandate, the talks have little prospect of concluding for some years." He continued that "There are reasons -- partly economic and partly political -- why President Bush may choose to put this to Congress. He is a free trader. He believes in expanding trade and opening markets as the best way to generate and distribute wealth in the global economy. He is not ideologically committed to subsidies, nor is his pro-reform agriculture secretary. Politically, Mr Bush will know that the death of the round would be cheered by the wrong people. A failure of Doha would strengthen those who want to turn their backs on globalisation and retreat into protectionism. It would undermine the WTO system, which has brought stability and predictability to the global economy. It would make it much harder to anchor China, India and other growing economies into an open, fair and multilateral trade system."
7/31. The Department of Justice (DOJ)
announced in a
release that the Antitrust Division's Premerger Notification Unit is
returning to the DOJ main building (Robert F. Kennedy Building). Hence,
effective Tuesday, August 1, 2006, all premerger filings should be directed to:
Department of Justice
Office of Operations
Premerger Notification Unit
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
7/31. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a notice in the Federal Register that describes, recites, and sets the effective date (September 1, 2006) for its final rule amending Section 310.8 of its Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) by revising the fees charged to entities for accessing the National Do Not Call Registry. See, Federal Register, July 31, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 146, at Pages 43048-43054.
House Votes for Two Year Extension of the R&D Tax Credit
7/29. The House approved HR 5970, the "Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act of 2006 ", by a vote of 230-180, just before adjourning early on July 29 for its August recess. See, Roll Call No. 425.
This bill is a huge bill that contains numerous tax provisions, including some that are technology related. This bill also includes an increase in the minimum wage, as well as amendments to surface mining law. The Senate has not yet approved this bill.
This bill provides, at Section 204, a two year extension of the research and development tax credit. It also increases the rates of the Alternative Incremental Credit. The R&D tax credit is codified at 26 U.S.C. § 41.
The bill also provides, at Section 216, an extension of, and amendments to, the deduction for contributions of computer technology and equipment for educational purposes. This deduction is codified at 26 U.S.C. § 170(e)(6)(G).
The bill also provides, at Section 223, an extension of the exception to the general rule that tax returns and return information are confidential, where the data is disclosed to the Department of Justice (DOJ) or other federal agency in connection with terrorist threats. This exception is codified at 26 U.S.C. § 6103(i)(3)(c).
Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Cyber Security
7/28. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and International Security held a hearing titled "Cyber Security: Recovery and Reconstitution of Critical Networks".
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [81 pages in PDF] titled "Internet Infrastructure: DHS Faces Challenges in Developing a Joint Public/Private Recovery Plan". See also, GAO written testimony [23 pages in PDF].
It report states that "Several federal laws and regulations provide broad guidance that applies to the Internet, but it is not clear how useful these authorities would be in helping to recover from a major Internet disruption. Specifically, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 provide guidance on protecting our nation's critical infrastructures. However, they do not specifically address roles and responsibilities in the event of an Internet disruption. In addition, the Defense Production Act and the Stafford Act provide authority to federal agencies to plan for and respond to incidents of national significance, such as disasters and terrorist attacks. However, the Defense Production Act has never been used for Internet recovery and the Stafford Act does not authorize the provision of resources to for-profit companies -- such as those that own and operate core Internet components. The Communications Act of 1934 and the National Communications System authorities govern the telecommunications infrastructure and help ensure communications during national emergencies, but they have never been used for Internet recovery. Thus, it is not clear how effective they would be in assisting Internet recovery."
The report adds that the "DHS has begun a variety of initiatives to fulfill its responsibility for developing an integrated public/private plan for Internet recovery, but these efforts are not yet complete or comprehensive."
It also states that "Key challenges to establishing a plan for recovering from an Internet disruption include (1) innate characteristics of the Internet (such as the diffuse control of the many networks that make up the Internet and the private-sector ownership of core components) that make planning for and responding to disruptions difficult, (2) lack of consensus on DHS's role and when the department should get involved in responding to a disruption, (3) legal issues affecting DHS's ability to provide assistance to entities working to restore Internet service, (4) reluctance of many in the private sector to share information on Internet disruptions with DHS, and(5) leadership and organizational uncertainties within DHS. Until these challenges are addressed, DHS will have difficulty achieving results in its role as a focal point for helping to recover the Internet from a major disruption."
See also, prepared testimony [PDF] of George Foresman (Virginia's Under Secretary for Preparedness), prepared testimony [PDF] of Richard Schaeffer (NSA's Director of Information Assurance), prepared testimony [PDF] Karen Evans (OMB), prepared testimony [PDF] of Tom Noonan (ISS), prepared testimony [PDF] of Roberta Bienfait (AT&T), prepared testimony [PDF] of Michael Aisenberg (Verisign), and prepared testimony [PDF] of Karl Brondell (State Farm, for the Business Roundtable).
GAO Reports That DOD's Critical Information Technologies Lists are Outdated
7/28. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [30 pages in PDF] titled "Defense Technologies: DOD's Critical Technologies Lists Rarely Inform Export Control and Other Policy Decisions".
The report states that "Technological advantage is fundamental to U.S. military dominance in 21st-century warfare. Major acquisitions in the Department of Defense's (DOD) ongoing force transformation -- including ... networkcentric communications systems ... rely on maintaining technological superiority. Failure to identify and protect critical technologies makes U.S. military assets vulnerable to cloning, neutralization, or other action that degrades current and anticipated capabilities."
The report elaborates that "To help minimize these risks, DOD’s Militarily Critical Technologies Program developed and periodically updates two lists of technologies -- the Militarily Critical Technologies List (MCTL) and the Developing Science and Technologies List (DSTL) -- each consisting of 20 sections. These lists are primarily intended to inform U.S. export control decisions, but can also help inform counterintelligence activities, research plans, and technology protection programs."
However, the report finds that the "updates of the MCTL and DSTL have generated lists that are of limited value because they are not appropriately validated and are largely out of date."
It adds that "9 of the 20 MCTL sections -- including technologies related to weapons, communications, and biological warfare -- have not been updated for 10 years, although a stated program goal calls for these lists to be completely updated at least every 4 years."
The report also provides the date of the most recent update for each of 20 MCTL sections. The dates for the information technology related fields are as follows:
|Information systems technology||1996|
|Lasers and optics technology||2006|
7th Circuit Upholds Indiana Ban on Certain Charitable Telemarketing
7/28. The U.S. Court of Appeals (7thCir) issued its opinion [32 pages in PDF] in National Coalition of Prayer v. Carter, a First Amendment challenge to a state ban on telemarketing. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's summary judgment for the state of Indiana. Notably, two of the three Judges concluded that the Rowan case, which provides for a mere balancing test when the restraint is based upon a consumer opt in, is applicable, even in the case of non-commercial speech. Other Courts have concluded otherwise.
The Indiana Telephone Privacy Act, which is codified at Indiana Code § 24-4.7, creates a state do not call list, and then prohibits "telephone solicitors" from placing a "telephone sales call" to anyone on the list, including for a "charitable contribution".
However, the Act exempts "telephone call[s] made on behalf of a charitable organization that is exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code, but only if ... [t]he telephone call is made by a volunteer or an employee of the charitable organization[, and] the telephone solicitor who makes the telephone call immediately discloses ... [his or her] true first and last name [and t]he name, address, and telephone number of the charitable organization."
The Act also exempts calls soliciting newspaper sales if made by an employee of or volunteer of the newspaper, certain real estate related calls, and calls soliciting political contributions.
The National Coalition of Prayer, Inc., and the other plaintiffs, are tax exempt entities that use telemarketers to solicit charitable contributions.
The plaintiffs filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (SDInd) against Steve Carter, in his capacity as Attorney General of the state of Indiana, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief that the statute is content based, underbroad, and a prior restraint on speech, under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The District Court granted summary judgment to the state of Indiana. This appeal followed.
The Court of Appeals affirmed.
The plaintiffs argued that the statute imposed a content based regulation that is subject to strict scrutiny analysis. Indiana argued that since the statute only affected calls to those who have opted in, Rowan v. United States Postal Service, 397 U.S. 728 (1970), controls, and the Court must only determine whether the state's interest in maintaining its citizens' privacy outweighs the speakers' rights to communicate their messages to private homes.
The Court of Appeals noted that other courts have held that Rowan is not applicable to do not call lists. However, it concluded that "We find the State’s Rowan analogy persuasive, and choose to adopt it here."
Rowan is a case involving commercial speech which upheld a law that allowed customers of the U.S. Postal Service to prohibit delivery of sales literature for items "which the addressee in his sole discretion believes to be erotically arousing or sexually provocative." The Supreme Court reasoned that since the citizen, not the government, imposed the ban, the First Amendment challenge fails. The Supreme Court wrote that "Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit". It applied a simple balancing test.
Once the Court determined that Rowan is applicable, it had little difficulty in finding the the Indiana statute survives a Rowan balancing test.
The Court of Appeals concluded that "Because the Act sharply curtails telemarketing -- the speech that was most injurious to residential privacy -- while excluding speech that historically enjoys greater First Amendment protection, we are satisfied that the Act is not underbroad. Therefore, applying Rowan, we believe that the state’s interest in protecting residents’ right not to endure unwanted speech in their own homes outweighs any First Amendment interests the Plaintiffs possess."
Judge Williams concurred. He wrote that the Court should not have followed Rowan. He argued that "a regulation affecting charitable speech must be narrowly tailored to advance a substantial governmental interest", and that Village of Schaumburg v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 444 U.S. 620 (1980), is controlling. However, he argued that the Indiana statute survives Schaumburg scrutiny. Hence, he concurred in the result, but not in the reasoning.
This case is National Coalition of Prayer, Inc., et al. v. Steve Carter, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 05-3995, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, D.C. No. IP02-C-0536-B/S, Judge Sarah Barker presiding. Judge Flaum wrote the opinion of the Court of Appeals, in which Judges Evans and Williams joined. Judge Williams also wrote a concurring opinion.
DC Circuit Affirms in Trudeau v. FTC
7/28. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion [PDF] in Trudeau v. FTC, affirming the District Court's dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Previously, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought an enforcement action against Kevin Trudeau in the U.S. District Court (NDCal) alleging false and misleading advertising in violation of the FTC Act. The FTC and Trudeau settled that action. The FTC published a release that describes the action and settlement.
Trudeau then filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (DC) against the FTC alleging that the FTC's release was false and misleading. He argued that the FTC exceeded its statutory authority, and violated his First Amendment rights.
The District Court concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the release was not a final agency action within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act. Hence, it dismissed the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The District Court also concluded that Trudeau failed to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), FRCP.
The Court of Appeals affirmed on the basis that Trudeau failed to state a claim.
This opinion may be significant in two respects. First, it stands as authority for the proposition, which journalists have long understood, that federal agencies may, and sometimes do, issue false and misleading press releases.
Second, this opinion contains a long and detailed discussion of the Administrative Procedure Act and the nature of, and jurisdiction in, judicial review of a final agency action.
This case is Kevin Trudeau v. FTC, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, App. Ct. No. 05-5363, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, D.C. No. 05cv00400. Judge Garland wrote the opinion of the Court of Appeals, in which Judges Henderson and Edwards joined.
7/28. The U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces that its will extend from August 1, 2006, to October 30, 2006, its deadline to release the preliminary results of its reconsideration of the sunset review of its antidumping duty order for large newspaper printing presses and components thereof, whether assembled or unassembled, from Japan. The notice also announces an extension of the release of the final results until March 9, 2007. See, Federal Register, July 28, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 145, at Page 42801.
7/28. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces that it will hold a hearing on its preparation of its annual report to the Congress on China's compliance with the commitments made in connection with its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The notice states that the hearing will be on "Wednesday, September 28". TLJ spoke with a representative of the OUSTR who stated that the notice should have stated "Thursday, September 28". The deadline to submit comments is Monday, September 18, 2006. The notice states that the deadline to submit written requests to testify is "Wednesday, September 14". This should have stated "Thursday, September 14". See, Federal Register, July 28, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 145, at Pages 42886-42887.
7/28. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced in a release [PDF] that "it has received enough H-1B petitions requesting ``foreign workers who have earned a master's degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education´´ to meet the exemption limit of 20,000 established by Congress for fiscal year (FY) 2007. Consequently, USCIS has determined that the ``final receipt date´´ for these exempt H-1B petitions is July 26, 2006." The DHS release adds that "USCIS received enough H-1B petitions to meet the general population H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year 2007 on May 26, 2006."
7/28. The House Rules Committee adopted a closed rule for the consideration of HR 1956, the "Business Activity Tax Simplification Act of 2006" on Monday, July 24, 2006. The House Republican leadership initially scheduled this bill for consideration by the full House on Tuesday, July 25. A staff assistant to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the lead sponsor of the bill, told TLJ that the bill was then pulled from the calendar to allow time to respond to "misinformation" and "last minute scare tactics". The bill has not yet been considered by the full House. See also, story titled "House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on State Business Activity Taxes" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,223, September 28, 2005.
7/28. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division released a draft [11 pages in PDF] of Special Publication 800-96, titled "PIV Card / Reader Interoperability Guidelines". The deadline to submit comments is 5:00 PM on August 11, 2006.
7/28. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [78 pages in PDF] titled "Information Technology: Immigration and Customs Enforcement Is Beginning to Address Infrastructure Modernization Program Weaknesses but Key Improvements Still Needed".
7/28. Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY) and Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) introduced HR 5971, the "HIT for Small Business Health Care Providers Act of 2006". This bill would create a Health Information Technology Loan Program in the Small Business Administration. It was referred to the House Small Business Committee.
House Approves Health Sector IT Bill
4/27. The House approved HR 4157, the "Better Health Information System Act of 2006", by a vote of 270-148. See, Roll Call No. 416.
Republicans voted 214-9 for the bill. Democrats voted 56-138. Many of the Democrats who voted for this bill represent West Coast districts and/or frequently vote for legislation that promotes the development and use of information technologies.
The Democrats who voted for the bill include Ellen Tauscher and Zoe Lofgren from Silicon Valley, Jay Inslee and Adam Smith from the Seattle area, David Wu and Darlene Hooley from Oregon, Jane Harman and Loretta Sanchez from the Los Angeles area, as well as stalwart technophiles Rick Boucher (VA), James Moran (VA), and Bart Gordon (TN).
The Senate has not yet approved this bill. However, on December 18, 2005, it approved a related bill, S 1418, the "Wired for Health Care Quality Act".
HR 4157 was introduced on October 27, 2005, by Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) as the "Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2005".
This bill creates in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) an Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to be headed by a National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
The purpose of this bill, and this new office, is "the development of a nationwide interoperable health information technology infrastructure" and an "internet-based nationwide health information network".
Floor Debate. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) stated in the House that "This legislation should help move our health care system into the modern era and the modern information age."
He said that "Congress and most of the private sector have embraced it", but that "The health care system, for whatever reason, has not done that. For all of its medical genius and astonishing technology in terms of surgery and orthopedics and diagnosis, American health care is still stuck back in the 19th century, with a paper record system that is inefficient, wasteful, error-prone and occasionally dangerous. The legislation before us today should change that."
Rep. Barton elaborated that "The bill before us sets out a framework for endorsing core interoperability guidelines and mandates compliance for a Federal information system within 3 years of endorsement of such guidelines. Of vital importance are provisions contained in the legislation that create safe harbors to the Stark and Anti-kickback laws for the provision of health information technology and services to better coordinate care between hospitals and providers."
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) called the bill "Bad legislation". He explained that "The Democrats sought a substitute to the committee bill under the rules. The Rules Committee, as usual, rejected it. So we are functioning under a gag rule. This alternative was identical to the bill the Senate passed unanimously last November with strong privacy protections, and with bipartisan sponsorship and support. The Senate bill, S. 1418, was jointly introduced after being negotiated between Senators Frist, Clinton, Enzi and Kennedy. But we won't be permitted to vote on it today."
Rep. Dingell (at right) complained that the bill under consideration "makes no progress towards protecting the privacy and security of health information. Expanded use of electronic health care systems clearly has a great potential benefit, but it also poses serious threats to patients' privacy by creating greater amounts of personal information susceptible to thieves, rascals, rogues and unauthorized users."
Amendments. The House approved by voice vote an amendment [PDF] offered by Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) regarding the availability of information and resources for individuals with low literacy.
The House approved an amendment [PDF] offered by Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY) by a vote of 417-1, See, Roll Call No. 414. This amendment provides for a study that provides benchmarks for best practices and cost effectiveness for the use of health information technology in medically underserved areas.
The House approved by voice vote an amendment [PDF] offered by Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-IL) that requires that emergency contact information or next of kin information be included in any process to modernize medical records.
The House approved by voice vote an amendment [PDF] offered by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) regarding the bill's health system grant program and coordination of care for the uninsured, underinsured, and medically underserved residing in geographically isolated areas or underserved urban areas.
The House approved by voice vote an amendment [PDF] offered by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) that requires that the DHHS submit a report to Congress that evaluates the applicability of health care classification methodologies and codes for purposes beyond the coding services for diagnostic documentation or billing purposes, the usefulness, accuracy, and completeness of such methodologies and codes for such purposes, and the capacity of such methodologies and codes to produce erroneous or misleading information.
The House approved by voice vote an amendment [PDF] offered by Rep. Cathy McMorris (R-WA) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) that directs the DHHS to establish a two year project to demonstrate the impact of health information technology on disease management for chronic disease sufferers within the Medicaid population. See also, McMorris release.
John Engler, head of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), stated in a release that "Health IT is a critical step in attaining higher quality health care and lower health costs ... We applaud supporters of this bill who clearly recognized that affordable and quality health care is a win-win for all consumers. The NAM believes that the best solutions in Health IT will be driven by the private sector, and this bill will facilitate those solutions".
FCC Releases Agenda for August 3 Meeting
7/27. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the agenda [PDF] for its event on Thursday, August 3, 2006, titled "Open Meeting". The FCC is likely to rule on the United Power Line Council's (UPLC) request that broadband over power line (BPL) internet access service be classified as an interstate information service. It will also likely rule on various petitions for reconsideration of the FCC's BPL order.
The first item on the FCC's is adoption of a Memorandum Opinion and Order (MOO) concerning the regulatory classification of BPL internet access service.
On December 23, 2005, the United Power Line Council (UPLC) filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling [16 pages in PDF] with the FCC requesting that the FCC "declare that BPL-enabled Internet access service is an interstate information service, consistent with the Cable Modem Declaratory Ruling and the DSL Order."
That is, BPL service providers do not wish to be subject to federal regulation under Title II of the Communications Act, or be subject to state regulation of intrastate telecommunications.
The UPLC wrote that "Both cable modem service and DSL now enjoy regulatory certainty and regulatory parity as a result of each being classified as interstate information services subject to regulation under Title I. However, the Commission's decisions clarifying the regulatory status of cable modem and DSL-enabled Internet access were limited to those respective technologies. The Commission's provision of the requested declaratory ruling would help provide the same level of regulatory clarity to the nascent BPL industry as well, thereby assuring regulatory neutrality among the competing technologies." (Footnote omitted.)
This proceeding is WC Docket No. 06-10.
Second, the FCC is scheduled to adopt a MOO in response to petitions for reconsideration of the rules applicable to BPL systems.
The FCC promulgated these rules in its Report and Order [86 pages in PDF] adopted on October 14, 2004, and released on October 28, 2004. This R&O is FCC 04-245 in ET Docket No. 04-37 and ET Docket No. 03-104. See also, story titled "FCC Adopts BPL Report and Order" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 997, October 15, 2004, and story titled "FCC Adopts Broadband Over Powerline NPRM" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 836, February 13, 2004. The FCC released the text [38 pages in PDF] of the NPRM on February 23, 2004.
Third, the FCC is scheduled to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding possible changes to its rules governing wireless licenses in the 698-746, 747-762, and 777-792 MHz Bands.
This event is scheduled for 9:30 AM on Thursday, August 3, 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 it adopts at its meetings.
Kazaa Settles With Music Companies
7/27. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced in a release that "The major record companies have reached a global out-of-court settlement of international litigation against the operators of the Kazaa peer-to-peer network."
Sharman Networks owns Kazaa. See, Sharman release.
The RIAA stated that this settlement "concludes the ongoing legal proceedings brought by the record companies against the service's operators in Australia and the United States. Under the terms of the settlement, Kazaa has agreed to pay a substantial sum in compensation to the record companies that took the legal action to stop copyright infringement on the Kazaa network. Kazaa will also introduce filtering technologies ensuring that its users can no longer distribute copyright-infringing files."
On June 27, 2005, the Supreme Court issued its unanimous opinion [55 pages in PDF] in MGM v. Grokster, reversing the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) regarding vicarious copyright infringement by the distributors of peer to peer (P2P) systems. The Supreme Court held that "one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties." See, story titled "Supreme Court Rules in MGM v. Grokster" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,163, June 28, 2005.
The Federal Court of Australia similarly found Kazaa to be in violation of its copyright law.
Mitch Bainwol, head of the RIAA, stated that "A little more than a year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck a wise balance between protecting innovation and the rights of creators ... This meaningful decision has helped bring legal and moral clarity to the marketplace. Services based on theft are going legit or going under, and a legal marketplace is showing real promise. That's encouraging news for the industry's ability to invest in new music."
Nikki Hemming, CEO of Sharman Networks, stated that "This settlement marks the dawn of a new age of cooperation between P2P technology and content industries which will promise an exciting future for online distribution in general and Kazaa users in particular".
Backgound on Litigation. The U.S. case is Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Studios, et al. v. Grokster, Ltd., et al., U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, D.C. Nos. CV 01-08541-SVW (PJWx) and CV 01-09923-SVW (PJWx).
Metro Goldwyn Meyer (MGM), and other movie companies, and various record companies, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (CDCal) against Grokster, Streamcast and Kazaa alleging copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501. They alleged contributory and vicarious infringement. In addition, professional songwriters and music publishers filed a class action complaint against the same defendants alleging contributory and vicarious infringement. The two actions were consolidated.
The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment in the District Court regarding software provided by Grokster and Streamcast. On April 25, 2003, the District Court issued its opinion holding that Grokster's and Streamcast's P2P networks do not contributorily or vacariously infringe the copyrights of the holders of music and movie copyrights. See also, story titled "District Court Holds No Contributory or Vicarious Infringement by Grokster or Streamcast P2P Networks" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 650, April 28, 2003
On August 19, 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion [26 pages in PDF], affirming the District Court, and holding that Grokster's and Streamcast's P2P networks do not contributorily or vicariously infringe the copyrights of the holders of music and movie copyrights. See, story titled "9th Circuit Holds No Vicarious Infringement in Grokster Case" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 963, August 20, 2004.
The Australia case is Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd & Ors v. Sharman License Holdings Ltd & Ors.
Negotiators Trade Accusations About Collapse of Doha Talks
7/27. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) continues to state that it will pursue Doha trade talks, following the World Trade Organization's (WTO) suspension of talks on July 24, 2006.
The Office of the USTR announced in a release on July 26 that USTR Susan Schwab will travel to Brazil on July 27 through 29. Schwab stated in this release that "The spirit of Doha lives even if a formal agreement eludes us at this time."
A successful conclusion of Doha talks has the potential to benefit technology and communications in many ways. However, the recent failed negotiations, and recriminations, have focused on agriculture. The flurry of speeches, statements, and accusations that has followed the collapse of negotiations is largely devoid of discussion of the tech related lost opportunities.
Schwab (at left) stated in a speech on July 24 the the U.S. "remains determined to work with other Members to see the completion of an ambitious Doha agreement -- one that opens markets for agricultural and manufactured goods, as well as services. One that effectively disciplines trade distorting subsidies. And one that reflects many of the other interests associated with the single undertaking. Others may sound willing to walk away."
"The United States remains committed to the promise of the Doha Round and to the World Trade Organization and the multilateral system." She added, quoting President Bush, that "the United States is ready to eliminate all tariffs, subsidies and other barriers to free flow of goods and services as other nations do the same."
Trade negotiators and other government officials have traded accusations of blame.
For example, Peter Mandelson, the European Commissioner for Trade, gave a speech on July 25 in which stated that suspension of the Doha talks "is deeply regrettable, disappointing and it could have been avoided. This is not just another missed deadline. It is a major missed opportunity, with serious systemic implications for multilateral trade."
Mandelson (at right) criticized the U.S. role. He said that "the United States, I regret to say, showed no flexibility at all in the end on the issue of domestic subsidies in agriculture. I regret this, although I do understand the domestic political considerations which influenced the United States’ negotiating position. As a result, the United States have been asking too much from others in exchange for doing too little themselves. This is not my definition of leadership. And now, the United States seems to be saying to the rest of the world: ``we are right, you are isolated´´."
He added that "The costs of this breakdown are high -- and will be even higher if it becomes permanent. As Pascal Lamy said yesterday, we are all losers. Let me remind you exactly what risks being lost: real cuts in tariffs in industry and agriculture in all developed and most large developing countries and thus a major boost to world trade; Duty Free Quota Free access to rich countries’ markets for the poorest. Greater investment, and choice in the provision of services, which are the backbone of modern economies; an ambitious agreement on trade facilitation, to reduce what is today a high tax on world trade flows. And, more importantly than any of the above, consolidation of a programme of fundamental reforms of farm subsidies in the rich world - something that ultimately only the WTO can deliver."
He concluded that "Doha will remain a central priority of European trade policy. We will work to bring it back to life and to success."
See also, EU release, which states that "it is clear that the principal reason for this failure lies at the door of the United States, whose lack of flexibility over reducing farm subsidies proved a deal-breaker."
The Office of the USTR issued a statement on July 25 that stated that "yesterday's statement by the European Union alleging that the United States failed to show flexibility in the Doha agriculture negotiations and attempting to divert blame for the stalemate is false and misleading. It cannot stand uncorrected."
The U.S. statement continues that "Ten months ago, the United States put forward the most bold agriculture proposal advanced to date to cut both tariffs and trade-distorting domestic supports. The proposal would have required substantial reform of the agricultural sectors in the U.S. and the EU -- which has average agricultural tariffs twice those in the US and domestic supports three times greater than the U.S. -- as well as greater opening of the fast-growing advanced developing economies."
Schwab also rebutted EU accusations. She said in a July 24 news conference that "the finger-pointing can’t hide the fact that their average agriculture tariffs are twice as high as ours and that their farm subsidies are more than three times what ours are. So they have not been a profile on political courage here." See, transcript.
She elaborated. "I’ll just give you one quick example. Around the world many countries raise beef, therefore selling beef into a marketplace is very important. The current tariff for high quality beef in the European Union is 80 percent. With the tariff proposal out there, their new tariff would be 61 percent, so still a very very high tariff. They also indicated that they would likely designate this product as a sensitive product which means that they would put in place a TRQ. So we got to probing about how much beef was that? How much beef would the world be able to sell into the European Union? The answer to that was 160,000 metric tons. That’s about two percent of their marketplace. That is virtually no market access. ... So it truly is a situation where we haven’t been granted market access."
Schwab also criticized developing countries, including China, Brazil and Korea. She said that their proposal "basically says that they would have the right to protect 95 to 98 percent of their ag marketplace. Ninety-five to 98 percent in the growing economies of the world, they would have the ability under their proposal to say when they would deal with us, how they would deal with us, what products they would deal with us on. It just is a devastating proposal in terms of market access. It basically gives the developing countries a pass on market access."
See also USTR release and release [PDF] of July 24.
Pascal Lamy (at right), Director General of the WTO, gave a speech on July 24, 2006. He said that "From the discussions over this weekend, it is clear that the main blockage is on the Agriculture legs of the triangle of issues the G6 has been trying to address. Despite some improvement on numbers which were informally floated and in particular on market access for developed countries, the gap in level of ambition between market access and domestic support remained too wide to bridge. This blockage was such that the discussion did not even move on to the third leg of the triangle -- market access in NAMA." NAMA is non-agriculture market access.
He added that "The situation is now very serious. Without the modalities in Agriculture and NAMA, it is now clear that it will not be possible to finish the Round by the end of 2006."
Schwab also stated at her news conference of July 24 that "And only by completing the Doha Round negotiations by the end of 2006 would the agreement be ready in time for us to use Trade Promotion Authority before it expires on July 1, 2007. At this stage of the game we do not expect to be able to use the current TPA authority to enact a Doha Round agreement if and when one comes together."
Schwab was praised by U.S. legislators, particularly those with agricultural constituencies.
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee (SFC), stated in a release on July 24 that ""It is unfortunate that negotiators were unable to bridge differences in the Doha talks. These negotiations had great potential to open new markets for Montana's and America's farmers and ranchers, as well as for our exporters of industrial goods and services."
But, he added, "no Doha deal is better than a bad Doha deal. It has become increasingly apparent that our trading partners -- especially the European Union and certain advanced developing countries -- are unwilling to offer meaningful access to their markets, especially for U.S. agricultural exports. Instead, these countries appear to believe that negotiations are one-way, expecting the United States to unilaterally disarm even as they seek to shelter their own markets from serious trade commitments. That is unacceptable."
Sen. Baucus (at right) said that "Ambassador Schwab was right to hold firm and accept nothing less than real concessions. I commend her for her resolve."
He concluded that "Now that the clock has run out on Doha, it is time for the United States to turn its attention to trading partners and trade agreements from which we can derive results. Between now and the expiration of Trade Promotion Authority next year, we should focus on deliverables we can achieve -- like granting Vietnam Permanent Normal Trade Relations status, completing free trade agreement negotiations with Korea and Malaysia, and deepening our trade links with willing partners in East and Southeast Asia."
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Chairman of the SFC, stated in a release [PDF] that "I’m very disappointed. And I wonder whether our trading partners truly appreciate how much we stand to lose if this round fails. The poorest developing countries have the most to gain from a successful round. And success rests on creating real market access opportunities. Unfortunately, too many of our trading partners have just been unwilling to allow enough market access. I’ve always said that no deal is better than a bad deal, and a ‘Doha lite’ deal would be a bad deal. I’m glad our trade negotiators held their ground. They appreciate that lesser ambition doesn’t serve our interests, and it’s not in the best interest of the global trading community. I’m also frustrated that two of our more vocal critics, the EU and India, are also two of the biggest advocates of maintaining protectionist policies in the WTO negotiations. As long as they wear their blinders, we’ll never see eye-to-eye on a good trade deal, and poorer countries will pay the highest price."
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the House Majority Whip, stated in a release that Schwab told him "that she would not come home with a bad deal and, as big a disappointment as this was, I know she fulfilled that promise."
He added that "What is clear from the temporary collapse of these trade talks is that America's trading partners are just not willing to make the concessions and difficult decisions that are required to reduce global trade barriers. It is a shame, because those difficult decisions are exactly what are required to produce the kind of global economic growth that will help lift people around the world out of poverty."
He concluded that "Today's news is a major setback for the Doha agenda, but it is not the end of the road. I urge the administration to continue its efforts, as I know it will, to engage closely with our trading partners to produce the right deal for American farmers and our economy as a whole."
People and Appointments
7/27. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported favorably the nomination of Kimberly Moore to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir). See also, story titled "Bush Nominates Kimberly Moore for Federal Circuit" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,374, May 19, 2006.
7/27. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported favorably the nomination of Steven Bradbury to be Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel.
7/27. The Senate Judiciary Committee held an executive business meeting. It again did not take up S 2453, the "National Security Surveillance Act of 2006", S 2455, the "Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006", S 2468, a bill to provide standing for civil actions for declaratory and injunctive relief to persons who refrain from electronic communications through fear of being subject to warrantless electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes, S 3001, the "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006", S 2831, the "Free Flow of Information Act of 2006", and S 1845, the "Circuit Court of Appeals Restructuring and Modernization Act of 2005".
House Approves DOPA
7/26. The House approved HR 5319, the "Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006", a bill to require schools and libraries receiving e-rate subsidies to block access to social networking web sites and chat rooms.
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced this bill on May 9, 2006. The House Commerce Committee (HCC) held a hearing on this bill on July 11. However, there was no subcommittee or full committee mark up of the bill. The full House approved it on July 26, 2006, under suspension of the rules, by a vote of 410-15. See, Roll Call No. 405.
The Senate has yet to take any action on this bill.
See, full story.
7th Circuit Rules in Antitrust and Patent Case
7/26. The U.S. Court of Appeals (7thCir) issued its opinion [12 pages in PDF] in Schor v. Abbott Laboratories, an antitrust case involving a drug patent in which the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the District Court, dismissing the complaint for failure to state a claim.
The Court of Appeals rejected a "monopoly leveraging" claim where the defendant held a patent monopoly on a drug. However, in reaching this conclusion, the Court of Appeals provided not only economic analysis and judicial precedent, but also an analogy to the computer and software industries.
See, full story.
People and Appointments
7/26. The Senate confirmed Frederic Mishkin to be a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for the unexpired portion of a fourteen year term that began on February 1, 2000. See, Congressional Record, July 26, 2006, at Page S8328.
7/26. The House Commerce Committee (HCC) amended and approved HR 1078, the "Social Security Number Protection Act of 2005" by voice votes. The HCC approved an amendment [3 pages in PDF] offered by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the sponsor of the bill.
7/26. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it will host a four day partially closed conference on November 6-9, 2006, titled "Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade". The topics to be addressed include "The Changing Nature of Consumer Products, Mobile Devices and Marketing, Data Security and Privacy, Convergence, The Evolving Internet, Payment Systems and Trends, Advertising and Marketing Trends, and Demographic Shifts". The November 9 session is closed to the public. See, notice and conference web site. It will be held at George Washington University, Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street, NW.
7/26. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced in a release that beginning on August 1, 2006, hearings conducted by the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) will be open to the public.
7/26. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division released a draft [159 pages in PDF] of Special Publication 800-53, Revision 1 (Second Public Draft), titled "Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information Systems". The deadline to submit comments is August 25, 2006.
Go to News from July 21-25, 2006.