|TLJ News from July 21-25, 2011|
Sen. Lieberman Introduces Bill to Require Online GPO Publication of Congressionally Mandated Reports
7/25. Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) introduced S 1411 [LOC | WW], the "Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act", a bill to require that when the Congress requires a federal entity to write a report, the Government Printing Office (GPO) must publish that report online, for free, without registration, in a searchable and copyable format.
It provides that "Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Public Printer shall establish and maintain a website accessible by the public that allows the public to obtain electronic copies of all congressionally mandated reports in one place." The Public Printer is the head of the GPO.
Moreover, "The Public Printer may not charge a fee, require registration, or impose any other limitation" upon public access.
Since reports mandated by the Congress are written by executive departments, independent agencies, and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the bill requires that reports be written "in an open format that is platform independent, machine readable, and available to the public without restrictions (except the redaction of information described under section 5), including restrictions that would impede the re-use of the information in the reports".
This bill was referred to the Senate Rules Committee.
AT&T and T-Mobile USA Submit Analysis to FCC
7/25. AT&T and T-Mobile USA submitted a letter [14 pages in PDF redacted], an Economic Analysis, and an Engineering Analysis to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA.
The letter states that "due to the complementarity of the spectrum and networks of AT&T and T-Mobile USA, as well as the tremendous available synergies, the proposed transaction will relieve significant capacity constraints faced by both companies and lead to improved service quality and expanded output of wireless service, among other public benefits".
The letter states that the "analyses provide further detailed support for and quantification of" the synergies that will result from this transaction.
The letter states that Dennis Carlton "and his colleagues have conducted a quantitative Economic Analysis to estimate the likely impact of the proposed transaction on output and quality-adjusted price", which is based on AT&T's Engineering Analysis, and that they estimate that "In each market, the merger simulations project that industry output will rise and average price adjusted for quality will fall as a result of the transaction".
The letter, most of which is redacted from the public version, also states that "Opponents of the proposed transaction have provided analyses using the Upward Pricing Pressure (``UPP´´) framework. As the Applicants have previously pointed out, a central failing of the UPP framework is that, when applied one price at a time, it does not account for the downward pressure on one merging party's price created by the efficiencies-induced fall in the other merging party’s quality-adjusted price. Nevertheless, the Economic Analysis also presents results using the UPP framework, which does not support the claims of merger opponents that the proposed transaction will increase prices." (Footnote omitted.)
This FCC proceeding is WT Docket No. 11-65.
Derek Turner of the Free Press, which opposes the merger, stated in a release that "After failing to make a credible case in the first go-round, AT&T is desperately trying a do-over."
He argued that "AT&T is asking the FCC for a do-over because its case for the merger was obliterated by the evidence. Free Press and others have demonstrated time and again before the FCC that both of AT&T's central claims -- that the merger will lead to greater rural buildout and improved quality -- are nothing more than a facade. AT&T could accomplish both of these goals without this merger and without killing off a major competitor."
Holder Addresses IP and Organized Crime
7/25. Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech in Washington DC in which he addressed legislative proposals to deal with transnational organized crime, including that involving intellectual property.
First, Holder (at right) said that the "essential legislative updates would improve our ability to break the financial backbone of criminal organizations by extending the reach of anti-money laundering provisions".
Next, he said that "By modernizing current racketeering laws and expanding their reach to cover new forms of crimes, we will enhance our ability to advance cases against transnational organized crime groups that engage in diverse criminal activities".
He elaborated that "because we know that many of these organizations have long been involved in counterfeiting, the White House Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator has developed a series of proposals that seek to address the most egregious intellectual property crimes committed by criminal enterprises -- including illegal activities that threaten our nation's infrastructure, and the health and safety of our fellow citizens."
GAO Reports on US Cyber Warfare Activities
7/25. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [79 pages in PDF] titled "Defense Department Cyber Efforts: DOD Faces Challenges In Its Cyber Activities". It addresses both defending against cyber threats, and offensive use of cyber warfare.
It states that "The U.S. economy and government are the most dependent in the world on the Internet and therefore the most vulnerable to cyber attacks."
The Department of Defense (DOD) "depends on 7 million computer devices, linked on over 10,000 networks with satellite gateways and commercial circuits that are composed of innumerable devices and components. The threat to DOD computer networks is thus substantial, and the potential for sabotage and destruction is present. While criminal organizations are a source of concern, foreign governments have more resources and more worrisome motivations."
The report states that cyber warfare is attractive to adversaries of the U.S. because "it poses a significant threat at a low cost" and "it is difficult to trace the origin of the attack and even more difficult to deter one".
The report states that the "DOD's organization to address cybersecurity threats is decentralized and spread across various offices within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, functional and geographic combatant commands, military services, and military agencies."
Moreover, the "DOD has assigned authorities and responsibilities for implementing cyber operations among combatant commands and military services; however, the supporting relationships necessary to achieve command and control of cyber operations remain unclear."
It finds that the DOD "will have difficulty in achieving command and control of its cyber forces globally and in building unity of effort for carrying out cyber operations."
It also states that the DOD "has identified some cyberspace capability gaps, but it has not completed a comprehensive, department-wide assessment of needed resources, capability gaps, and an implementation plan for addressing any gaps."
Offensive Use of Cyber Warfare by the U.S. The report also addresses U.S. offensive use of cyber warfare.
It states that "Offensive cyber operations are comprised of two functions: information gathering (or computer network exploitation) and computer network attack. Computer network exploitation is the method by which DOD and the intelligence community gather information on adversaries in and through cyberspace. Computer network attack consists of operations through the use of computer networks to disrupt, deny, degrade, or destroy information residing in computers and computer networks or the computers and networks themselves." (Footnote omitted. Parentheses in original.)
It elaborates that "Computer network attack" means "Operations conducted to gain or confirm access to, or both, and gather key information on the target network concerning the capabilities and configuration of targeted networks or systems and to facilitate target acquisition and target analysis in preparation for computer network attack or other offensive missions. These activities facilitate subsequent computer network attack or other offensive missions by identifying a window of opportunity when computer network attack or other offensive missions will be most likely to succeed. The authority to conduct computer network attack operational preparation of the environment is inherent in the authority to conduct computer network attack. This activity does not include the intentional acquisition of communications information for the purpose of foreign intelligence."
It explains that the National Security Agency's (NSA) Office of Information Operations and Information Warfare's "support center provides offensive cyber operations, related military targeting support, and intelligence gain/loss assessments", that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) "Provides offensive cyber operations-related military targeting support, political/military assessment, and battle damage assessment of system functional capabilities", and that the Office of the Director for National Intelligence (ODNI) "Serves as the intelligence community focal point for offensive cyber operations strategic planning, policy coordination, and interagency coordination for implementing National Security Presidential Directive 38".
Former President Bush issued NSPD 38, titled "National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace", in 2004. It is classified, and not available to the public.
The GAO report also states that the U.S. Army's Army Forces Cyberspace Command will "conduct, when directed, offensive operations in cyberspace", as will the U.S. Marine Corps' Marine Forces Cyber.
FCC Media Bureau Suspends Eligible Entity Rule
7/25. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Media Bueau (MB) issued a Public Notice (DA 11-1232) that states that, pursuant to the July 7, 2001, opinion [58 pages in PDF] of the U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir) in Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, the MB "has suspended application of the eligible entity rule provisions and policies in all contexts".
This Public Notice also states that "actions required on remand will be addressed within the Commission’s 2010 Quadrennial Review of the media ownership rules".
The Court of Appeals remanded parts of the FCC's Diversity Order, released in 2008. See, Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Rulemaking [70 pages in PDF].
The Court wrote that "We also remand those provisions of the Diversity Order that rely on the revenue-based ``eligible entity´´ definition, and the FCC's decision to defer consideration of other proposed definitions (such as for a socially and economically disadvantaged business (``SDB´´), so that it may adequately justify or modify its approach to advancing broadcast ownership by minorities and women."
It also wrote that the FCC "appears yet to have gathered the information required to address these challenges, which it needs to do in the course of its review already underway. As ownership diversity is an important aspect of the overall media ownership regulatory framework ... we re-emphasize that the actions required on remand should be completed within the course of the Commission‘s 2010 Quadrennial Review of its media ownership rules."
See, story titled "3rd Circuit Issues Opinion Regarding FCC Regulation of Media Ownership" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,256, July 12, 2011.
House Passes Bill to Extend Term of FBI Director Mueller
7/25. The House passed by voice vote S 1103 [LOC | WW], a bill to extend the term of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller by two years.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the sponsor of the bill, stated in a release, "I thank the House of Representatives, and particularly Chairman Smith and Mr. Conyers, for acting quickly on the bill to allow the term of FBI Director Mueller to be extended for two years. Now that the way is clear for the President to make his nomination, I hope Senate leaders will promptly schedule a confirmation vote on the nomination. The August 2 deadline is fast approaching and we should not delay until the eleventh hour."
The Senate passed this bill on July 21, 2011.
TPI Discloses Speakers for Aspen Forum
7/25. The Technology Policy Institute (TPI) disclosed more speakers for its annual Aspen Forum, to be held on August 21-23, 2011, in Aspen, Colorado.
The speakers will include Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioners Robert McDowell and Mignon Clyburn, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Thomas Rosch.
The speakers will also include Mark Berejka (Department of Commerce), Chris Painter (Department of State), and Kevin Gronberg (House Homeland Security Committee staff), Paul de Sa (FCC), and Daniel Weitzner (EOP's Office of Science and Technology Policy).
The list of speakers also includes several economists, and numerous persons from the public policy, legal or government relations offices of leading information and communications technology companies.
The agenda lists panel discussion titled:
There will also be break out sessions on:
The event will be held at the St. Regis Aspen Resort.
People and Appointments
7/25. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a release that states that it "will accept applications from graduating law students and current judicial clerks for its Fall 2012 Attorney Honors Program" through September 23, 2011.
7/25. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced in a release that it filed a motion for $1.1 Million in attorneys fees with the Supreme Court in Brown v. EMA & ESA, previously known as Schwartzenegger v. EMA. The Supreme Court issued its opinion on June 26, 2011, holding that the First Amendment freedom of speech clause bars states from mandating labels for video games. See, story titled "Supreme Court Holds First Amendment Protects Video Games" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,250, June 28, 2011. Michael Gallagher, head of the ESA, stated that "From the start of this misguided legislation, then-Governor Schwarzenegger and specific California legislators knew that their efforts to censor and restrict expression were, as court after court ruled, unconstitutional and thus a waste of taxpayers’ money, government time, and state resources."
7/25. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) extended the deadline (from August 8 to August 15, 2011) to submit comments regarding the proposed self-regulatory guidelines submitted to the FTC by Aristotle International, Inc. under the safe harbor provision of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. See, original notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 123, Monday, June 27, 2011, at Pages 37290-37291, and notice of extension.
Rep. Wu to Face Ethics Committee Investigation
7/24. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House Democratic Leader, stated in a release that "I call on the Ethics Committee to initiate an investigation into the allegations against Congressman Wu."
Oregonlive.com published a story on July 24, 2011, by Charles Pope, that states that Rep. Wu said that he will not resign, but will not run for re-election. Rep. Wu has not been convicted or charged with any crime. However, Oregonlive.com published another story on July 22 titled "Sources: Young woman accuses Oregon Rep. David Wu of aggressive, unwanted sexual encounter".
Rep. Wu (at right) has been an advocate of internet freedom. Last year, Rep. Wu and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) announced the founding of the House Global Internet Freedom Caucus. See, story titled "Reps. Wu and Smith Found House Global Internet Freedom Caucus" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,065, March 26, 2011.
In the 111th Congress Rep. Wu sponsored HR 4595 [LOC | WW] and HR 4784 [LOC | WW], both titled the "Internet Freedom Act of 2010".
In the current Congress, Rep. Smith introduced HR 1389 [LOC | WW], the "Global Online Freedom Act of 2011", on April 6, 2011. However, Rep. Wu is not a cosponsor.
Rep. David Wu (D-OR) is a member of the House Science Committee (HSC), and a former Chairman of its Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation. He was first elected in 1998 to represent a House district in the Portland, Oregon area.
Sen. Feinstein Introduces Data Breach Notification Act
7/22. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S 1408 [LOC | WW | TLJ], the "Data Breach Notification Act of 2011".
In the 111th Congress, she introduced S 139 [LOC | WW], the "Data Breach Notification Act", on January 6, 2009. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) approved it on November 5, 2009. However, the full Senate did not pass it. The companion bill in the House was HR 6236 [LOC | WW], also titled the "Data Breach Notification Act". Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced that bill on September 28, 2010. It was referred to several committees, none of which took action on it.
Sen. Feinstein (at right) stated in the Senate on July 22 that "This bill would require that consumers be notified when their sensitive personally identifiable information has been exposed in a data breach and also that law enforcement receive notice of major breaches of data security." See, Congressional Record, July 22, 2011, at Pages S4846-7.
Citing recent breaches at Epsilon and Citibank, she said that "It is long past time for Congress to pass a national breach notification standard to ensure that when consumers' information is at risk, they know it and can take the necessary steps to protect themselves."
Sen. Feinstein also addressed preemption. She said that "under the current legal framework, businesses must comply with 46 different State laws to determine what kind of notice is necessary when a breach occurs. As long as it is not watered down, one Federal standard makes much more sense than 46 different State laws."
This bill provides that "Any agency, or business entity engaged in interstate commerce, that uses, accesses, transmits, stores, disposes of or collects sensitive personally identifiable information shall, following the discovery of a security breach of such information notify any resident of the United States whose sensitive personally identifiable information has been, or is reasonably believed to have been, accessed, or acquired."
It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC). Sen. Feinstein is a senior member.
Obama and Independent Regulatory Agencies
7/22. On July 11, 2011, President Obama signed Executive Order No. 13579, titled "Regulation and Independent Regulatory Agencies".
It states that "Within 120 days of the date of this order, each independent regulatory agency should develop and release to the public a plan ... under which the agency will periodically review its existing significant regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed so as to make the agency's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives."
Independent agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), are independent of Presidential control. President Obama can ask for something, but not direct them to do anything.
On July 22, 2011, Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, released a memorandum for the heads of independent regulatory agencies. It states that it provides "guidance" for independent agencies on Executive Order No. 13579.
Sunstein concedes, "nothing said here is meant to be binding".
House Judiciary Committee to Mark Up Data Retention and Bullying Bills
7/22. The House Judiciary Committee (HJC) is scheduled to mark up four bills at its two day meeting set for July 27 and 28, 2011, including data retention and bullying bills. See, HJC notice.
The HJC usually takes up bills on its agenda in the order in which they are listed. The first item on the agenda is HR 1981 LOC | WW], the "Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011", a bill to mandate data retention.
See, stories titled "House Crime Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Data Retention Bill", "Summary of HR 1981, Data Retention Bill", and "Summary of Existing Data Retention Mandates" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,257, July 13, 2011.
The fourth item on the agenda is HR 83 [LOC | WW], the "Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act of 2011".
Rep. Sheila Lee (D-TX) introduced this bill on January 5, 2011. It allows for federal money to be given to state and local governments for "bullying prevention and intervention programs".
It defines bullying as "behavior by juvenile against another juvenile", including, among other things, "Verbal acts, name-calling, and graphic and written statements that may be threatening, harmful, or humiliating and which may include use of cell phones, the Internet, and other forms of electronic communication".
HR 83 would merely provide grant funding. It would not create any new crime of bullying, ban any activities, or impose any direct or secondary liability upon service providers or intermediaries.
People and Appointments
7/22. Kistine Carolan joined the New America Foundation (NAF). She will work on its Open Technology Initiative, which is directed by Sacha Meinrath. See, NAF release.
7/22. A grand jury of the U.S. District Court (CDCal) returned a ten count indictment that charges Renjie Huang and Yong Xu with trafficking in counterfeit devices and using counterfeit access devices in connection with their "role in a retail theft ring that used counterfeit credit cards to buy high-end electronics from Wal-Mart stores throughout the Los Angeles area". The U.S. Attorneys Office for the Central District of California added in its release that the two defendants, who were arrested on July 22, "used counterfeit credits cards produced in China, along with stolen credit card information, to purchase expensive high-end electronics from Wal-Mart stores throughout Southern California. The electronics included iPods, laptop computers, cameras and Nintendo Gameboys". See, 18 U.S.C. S 1029, regarding "Fraud and related activity in connection with access devices".
7/22. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published in its web site a report [35 pages in PDF] prepared by the FCC's Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee (VPAAC) titled "First Report of the Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee on the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010: Closed Captioning of Video Programming Delivered Using Internet Protocol". It is dated July 13, 2011.
7/22. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published in its web site a report [66 pages in PDF] prepared by the FCC's Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC) titled "Report on Emergency Calling for Persons with Disabilities; Survey Review and Analysis 2011". It is dated July 21, 2011.
7/22. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an order [6 pages in PDF] that adopts and ratifies a settlement agreement (which is attached to the order) between the FCC and Spectrum IVDS, LLC, which filed a petition for review of a final order of the FCC (that it had defaulted in making payment to the FCC) with the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir). FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, quoting Shakespeare, wrote that "all is well that ends well". He added that "Today we approve a settlement with Spectrum IVDS that will allow it to keep its license if it pays its remaining balance and can show that it will meet the Commission’s requirements for license renewal." The FCC adopted this order on July 21, 2011, and released it on July 22, 2011. It is FCC 11-115.
House Science Committee Approves Cyber Security Bill
7/21. The House Science Committee (HSC) approved HR 2096 [LOC | WW], the "Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2011". See, HSC release.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) introduced this bill on June 2, 2011. Rep. McCaul issued a release after HSC passage that states that this bill "will help harden federal networks, spur research and development, build our American cyber workforce and enable the government, universities and private sector to collaborate more easily".
This bill includes amendments to Chapter 100 of Title 15 of the U.S. Code, which pertains to "Cyber Security Research and Development".
This bill authorizes appropriations for grants for Fiscal Years 2012, 2013, and 2014, totaling $270 Million, for research regarding computer and network security.
It creates a cyber security scholarship program, and requires a report that assesses the cyber security work force.
It requires the Executive Office of the President's (EOP) Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to "convene a task force to explore mechanisms for carrying out collaborative research and development activities for cybersecurity through a consortium or other appropriate entity with participants from institutions of higher education and industry".
It directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to conduct research regarding identity management, including "interoperability among identity management technologies" and "authentication methods of identity management systems". The NIST has a Computer Security Division (CSD).
This bill also directs the NIST to "conduct a research program to develop a unifying and standardized identity, privilege, and access control management framework for the execution of a wide variety of resource protection policies and that is amenable to implementation within a wide variety of existing and emerging computing environments".
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the companion bill in the Senate, S 1152 [LOC | WW], also titled the "Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2011", on June 7, 2011. It was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee (SCC), which has taken no action on this bill.
USPTO and Jiangsu Province Enter Into IPR MOU
7/21. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced in a release that that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Jiangsu Provincial People's Government in the People's Republic of China (PRC).
This release states that "This MOU marks the first time USPTO has entered into an agreement with a provincial government."
David Kappos (at right), head of the USPTO, stated in this release that "The purpose of this MOU is to establish a general framework for future cooperation", and that "The activities contemplated under the agreement are aimed at improving enforcement and collaboration on intellectual property matters through exchanges of information, capacity building, and other educational activities."
The USPTO did not release the MOU. TLJ requested from the USPTO a copy of the MOU, or in the alternative, a summary. The USPTO refused.
The USPTO's release does not describe its contents. It does not even disclose whether the MOU addresses patents, trademarks, copyrights, or web sites dedicated to infringing activity.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) stated in its 2010 Special 301 Report, released on April 30, 2010, that "Jiangsu province, with its focus on promoting high technology, has demonstrated its recognition of the importance of IPR protection, including through a Suzhou court's criminal sentences in a high-profile software piracy case."
The OUSTR wrote in its 2008 Special 301 Report that "Jiangsu Province is another large-scale manufacturing center in China. Jiangsu has been recognized for innovative and proactive IPR protection and enforcement efforts, including promulgation of local regulations and policies, and engagement with domestic and foreign institutions on IPR training and cooperation. In early 2007, Jiangsu officially entered into a cooperative IPR program with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."
Jiangsu Province is located on the east coast, to the north of Shanghai, and south of Shandong Province. It includes the cities of Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Yangzhou, Changzhou, Zhenjiang, and Nantong.
USPTO Proposes Post Therasense Rules Changes
7/21. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces, describes, recites, and sets the comments deadline for, its proposed rules changes regarding the standard for materiality for the duty to disclose information in patent applications and reexamination proceedings.
The USPTO is proposing these rules changes in reaction to the May 25, 2011, en banc opinion [88 pages in PDF] of the U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) in Therasense v. Becton, Dickinson and Co., a patent case regarding the defense of inequitable conduct.
For more on that opinion, see story titled "Federal Circuit Raises Standards for Prevailing on Defense of Inequitable Conduct" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,253, July 1, 2011.
This notice states that the USPTO "is proposing to revise the materiality standard for the duty to disclose to match the materiality standard, as defined in Therasense, for the inequitable conduct doctrine."
It also states that "The materiality standard set forth in Therasense should reduce the frequency with which applicants and practitioners are being charged with inequitable conduct, consequently reducing the incentive to submit information disclosure statements containing marginally relevant information and enabling applicants to be more forthcoming and helpful to the Office. At the same time, it should also continue to prevent fraud on the Office and other egregious forms of misconduct. Additionally, harmonization of the materiality standards is simpler for the patent system as a whole."
The deadline to submit comments is September 19, 2011. The USPTO will not hold a hearing.
See, Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 140, Thursday, July 21, 2011, at Pages 43631-43634.
Senate Approves Bill to Extend FBI Director Mueller's Term
7/21. The Senate passed S 1103 [LOC | WW], a bill to extend the term of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller by two years. The House has yet to pass this bill. Mueller's ten year term expires in under two weeks.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC), which oversees the FBI, stated that "I am pleased that a bill passed the Senate today that will maintain continuity of leadership at the FBI".
He added that "I hope the House will take up and pass this bill so that it can be signed by the President, and the Senate can confirm Director Mueller's re-nomination, prior to August 3, 2011, when Director Mueller’s current term expires".
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the SJC, stated that "This is an extraordinary step that the Senate has taken. Thirty-five years ago Congress limited the FBI director's term to one, 10-year appointment as an important safeguard against improper political influence and abuses of the past. Director Mueller has proven his ability to run the FBI over the last 10 years and he has given assurances that he will remain available to Congress and our constitutional responsibilities of oversight. I am glad the Senate was able to reach an agreement that provides a one-time, short term extension of the FBI Director’s term in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution. We live in extraordinary times which make this move unfortunate, but necessary."
See, stories titled "Obama Wants to Extend Mueller's Term" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,240, May 13, 2011, "Sen. Leahy Introduces Bill to Extend Mueller's Term" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,246, May 27, 2011, and "Sen. Leahy Urges Senate to Pass Bill to Extend FBI Director Mueller's Term" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,264, July 20, 2011.
Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Droney and Other Judicial Nominees
7/21. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) held an executive business meeting at which it considered numerous judicial nominees. It approved Christopher Droney.
The SJC approved by voice vote the nomination of Christopher Droney to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCir). He has been a Judge of the U.S. District Court (DConn) since 1997. Judge Droney, sitting by designation, joined in the opinion of a three judge panel of the Second Circuit in Arista Records v. Launch Media, holding that a webcasting service is not an interactive service within the meaning of 17 U.S.C. § 114(j)(7). See also, story titled "Obama Nominates Droney for 2nd Circuit" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,233, May 5, 2011.
The SJC yet again held over consideration of the nomination of Steve Six to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (10thCir). His nomination is again on the agenda for the SJC's meeting of July 28. See, notice.
The SJC also approved by voice votes four U.S. District Court nominees: Robert Mariani (USDC/MDPenn), Cathy Bissoon (USDC/WDPenn), Mark Hornak (USDC/WDPenn), and Robert Scola (SDFl).
People and Appointments
7/21. President Obama formally nominated Maureen Ohlhausen (Wilkinson Barker & Knauer) to be a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Roslyn Mazer to be Inspector General (IG) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). See, White House news office release. The President announced his intent to make these nominations on July 19. The Ohlhausen nomination is for a term of seven years beginning September 26, 2011. This is the seat currently held by Commissioner William Kovacic. See, stories titled "Obama Picks Ohlhausen for FTC Commissioner" and "Obama Picks Mazer for DHS Inspector General" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,264, July 20, 2011.
7/21. President Obama announced his intent to nominate Sharon Long to be a member of the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science. See, White House news office release. She is a biology professor at Stanford University.
7/21. David Blass was named Chief Counsel and Associate Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Division of Trading and Markets. See, SEC release.
7/21. The Department of the Treasury's (DOT) Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces, describes, recites, and sets the effective data (September 19, 2011) for, its rules changes regarding what entities constitute money services businesses (MSB). These rules changes address new technologies, including those involving stored value. See, Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 140, Thursday, July 21, 2011, at Pages 43585-43597.
7/21. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael Copps gave a speech in Washington DC to the National Newspapers Association (NNA). It was another lament about the declining quality of news journalism, combined with his calls for more government regulation.
7/21. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)
Media Bureau (MB)
announced, but did not release, three more staff reports regarding ownership
of media. The titles and authors are:
• "Media Ownership Study 1, Local Media Ownership and Media Quality", by Adam Rennhoff and Kenneth Wilbur.
• "Media Ownership Study 4, Local Information Programming and the Structure of Television Markets", by Jack Erb.
• "Media Ownership Study 10, Broadcast Ownership Rules and Innovation", by Andrew Wise.
See, FCC Public Notice (DA 11-1202 in MB Docket No. 09-182).
7/21. The American Association of Publisher (AAP) issued a release on statistical trends in books sales, including e-books. It states that total e-book sales in the first five months of 2011 totaled $389.7 Million, up from $149.8 Million in the first five months of 2010.
7/21. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [80 pages in PDF] titled "Information Sharing Environment: Better Road Map Needed to Guide Implementation and Investments". It pertains to the sharing of terrorism related information by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of State (DOS), Department of Defense (DOD), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
to News from July 16-20, 2011.