|Sept. 15, 2000
8:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 21.
News from the Web
On the Hill
Tech Law Journal is a free access online publication that
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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
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
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'
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 1stBuy.com, 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]
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
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
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
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
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
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.