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Tech Law Journal
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Sept. 15, 2000
8:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 21.

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News Briefs

9/14. The FCC delayed consideration of its Notice of Inquiry regarding open access to broadband cable systems at its Commission meeting on Sept. 14. The five members of the Commission agreed to vote on the matter within two weeks. The pending AOL Time Warner merger was one reason for delay. Commissioner Gloria Tristani requested a delay at the meeting, and released a statement in which she said: "I requested that consideration of the Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on open access be delayed until the FCC completes its review of the Time Warner - AOL merger. With this adjudicatory matter pending involving open access, further analysis is appropriate prior to issuing an NOI. Nonetheless, I think it is high time to proceed with consideration of a national framework on this issue, and I look forward to acting on this expeditiously."
9/14. The FCC also postponed consideration of several matters pertaining to proposed rules to allow telecommunications providers to locate their facilities on rental properties, without the permission of the owners. Telecom companies support the rules that would allow them forced access. Property owners oppose them; they would have a legal claim, with a high probability of success, under the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Loretto case, if the FCC were to attempt to impose forced access to their rooftops and right of ways. The FCC would likely have to rely of the shaky legal arguments, such as that the Heart of Atlanta case is controlling. [WT Docket No. 99-217, CC Docket No. 96-98, and CC Docket No. 88-57.]
9/14. The FCC adopted, but did not release, a "Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling" regarding navigation devices. § 629 of the Communications Act directs the FCC to adopt rules that allow consumers to buy navigation devices, such as cable set-top boxes and remote control units, from sources other than their cable providers. In 1998, the FCC adopted rules. The purpose of this latest notice is to initiate a review of those rules. At issue is whether the copy protection licensing agreement under development by CableLabs, known as the DFAST license, violates the rules. The FCC release also states that "some measure of anti-copying encryption technology located within a host navigation device is consistent" with its rules. NCTA CEO Robert Sachs had this reaction: "Program creators expect their digital content over cable systems to be protected, or they won’t make it available. The FCC’s decision will enable cable operators to require inclusion of copy protection technologies in digital TV sets and set-tops sold at retail." See, NCTA release.
9/14. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution met to mark up HR 5018, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000, and HR 4908, the Notice of Electronic Monitoring Act (NEMA). The subcommittee amended, adopted and reported HR 5018. Specifically, the subcommittee approved an amendment in the nature of a substitute (offered by Rep. Canady), as amended by an amendment (offered by Rep. Barr). The subcommittee did not take up HR 4908, which would require that employers who monitor their employee's e-mail give annual notice of their surveillance activities.
9/14. Susan DeSanti, Director of Policy Planning at the FTC, gave an address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Legal Affairs Counsel on electronic B2B marketplaces and antitrust law enforcement.
9/14. Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX) wrote a letter to the IRS regarding the study [PDF] of the privacy practices of government web sites conducted by the GAO which was released on Sept. 12. He asked the IRS to explain why it failed to comply with two of the four fair information practices set by the FTC, and why the IRS web site places third party cookies on users' computers.
9/14. The Congressional Wireless Caucus held a press conference and technology demonstration on Capitol Hill. Sen. Sam Greenback (R-KS) spoke briefly; he advocated less regulation and more spectrum for wireless services. Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) spoke about the benefits of wireless technology. Dr. Howard Champion advocated the placement of wireless communications devices in all automobiles that would automatically provide accident notification.
9/14. Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) told TLJ that the chances are slim that the House will pass a stand alone bill in few remaining days of the 106th Congress that would require that schools and libraries receiving e-rate subsidies to use porn filtering software. However, he says that he still hopes that the measure will be attached as an amendment to an appropriations bill. Rep. Pickering is the sponsor of HR 4600, the Children's Internet Protection Act.
9/14. SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt named Tracey Aronson to be his new Chief of Staff. She is currently the SEC's Director of the Congressional and Legislative Affairs. She replaces Jennifer Scardino, who will join the London office of Citigroup as Director of Corporate Affairs for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. See, release.
9/14. The SEC filed and settled a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court (WDTX) against, Inc. and its founder, Roger Pringle, for securities fraud and violation of the registration provisions of federal securities laws. Defendants made false statements on 1stBuy's web site and in unsolicited e-mail messages, including that 1stBuy's offering was a "pre-IPO" offering, and that an IPO price range of $12 - $18 had been set. [Case No. A-00-ca-599sf] See, release.
9/14. 9/14. The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) held a summit on options for CALEA, following the August 15 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals striking down the FCC's CALEA order.
9/14. USPTO chief Todd Dickinson announced that he will travel to Thailand to give the keynote address on Sept. 18 at the Conference on Intellectual Property Enforcement in a Knowledge-Based Economy, sponsored by the USPTO and WIPO. His message will be that there is a relationship between effective civil and criminal intellectual property enforcement mechanisms and thriving in the knowledge-based global economy. See, release.
9/14. The House Commerce Committee approved by voice vote an amendment in the nature of a substitute [PDF] to HR 3850, the Independent Telecommunications Consumer Enhancement Act of 2000. The Committee then voted to report the bill, as amended. The bill, as amended, relieves two percent carriers (any ILEC that has less than 2% of the nation's subscriber lines) from certain regulations affecting other ILECs. It states that one of its purposes is to further the deployment of broadband services.
9/14. At its Sept. 13 mark up session, the House Commerce Committee put off until Monday, Sept. 18, its mark up of the reciprocal compensation bill, HR 4445. See also, Sept. 14 statement of Rep. John Dingell (D-MI).
9/14. The House Commerce Committee approved by voice vote an amendment in the nature of a substitute [PDF] to HR 3100, the "Know Your Caller Act." The Committee voted to report the bill, as amended. The bill provides that, "It shall be unlawful for any person with the United States, in making a telephone solicitation to interfere with or circumvent the capability of a caller identification service to access or provide to the recipient of the telephone call involved in the solicitation any information regarding the call that such service is capable of providing."
9/13. The House Ways and Means Committee released its Rept. No. 106-845 [PDF] on H.R. 4986, the FSC Repeal and Extraterritorial Income Exclusion Act of 2000. The bill replaces the foreign sales corporations (FSC) scheme, which the WTO held to be an illegal export subsidy, with an extraterritorial income exclusion scheme.
9/13. The Senate continued its consideration of HR 4444, a bill to provide PNTR status for China.
9/13. Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN) introduced S 3040, a bill to establish the Commission for the Comprehensive Study of Privacy Protection. "The increasing popularity of the Internet and e-mail as a primary means of communicating and disseminating information is one of the major reasons for the rising concerns about personal privacy," said Sen. Thompson.
9/13. Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) introduced S 3042, a bill to protect citizens against becoming victims of Internet fraud, to provide stiff penalties against those who target senior citizens, and to educate senior citizens on how to avoid being victimized by Internet or telemarketing fraud.
Editor's Note: This column includes all News Briefs added to Tech Law Journal since the last Daily E-Mail Alert. The dates indicate when the event occurred, not the date of posting to Tech Law Journal.
New Documents

Rep. Canady: Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to HR 5018, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000, 9/14 (HTML, TLJ).
Rep. Barr: Amendment to the Canady amendment to HR 5018, 9/14 (HTML, TLJ).
Rep. Armey: Letter to the IRS regarding its web site's failure to meet FTC privacy standards, 9/14 (HTML, Armey).
Reps. Tauzin & Cubin: Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to HR 3850, the Independent Telecoms Consumer Enhancement Act of 2000, a bill to provide regulatory relief to small ILECs, 9/14 (PDF, HCC).
Rep. Tauzin: Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to HR 3100, the Know Your Caller Act, 9/14 (PDF, HCC).
Ways & Means: Rept. No. 106-845 on HR 4986, the FSC Repeal and Extraterritorial Income Exclusion Act of 2000, 9/13 (PDF, WMC).
New and Updated Sections

Calendar (updated).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
Quote of the Day

"I will work at MacDonalds before I work on another guidelines ..." Susan DeSanti, Director of Policy Planning at the FTC, denying media reports that the FTC will write antitrust guidelines for electronic B2Bs.

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