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News, records, and analysis of legislation, litigation, and regulation affecting the computer, internet, communications and information technology sectors

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Tech Law Journal
Daily E-Mail Alert
Sept. 28, 2000
9:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 30.

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News Briefs

9/27. The House passed HR 3100, the Know Your Caller Act, on a roll call vote of 420 to 13. The bill would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit telemarketers from interfering with the caller identification service of any person to whom a telephone solicitation is made.
9/27. The House passed HR 2346 by voice vote. The bill would authorize the enforcement by State and local governments of certain FCC regulations regarding use of citizens band radio equipment.
9/27. The House Commerce Committee's Telecom Subcommittee held a hearing titled "The Future of the Interactive Television Services Marketplace: What Should Consumers Expect?" See, prepared statements of Rep. Tom Bliley (R-VA), Steve Case (AOL), and Gerald Levin (Time Warner).
9/27. The House Science Committee held a hearing to investigate continued computer security lapses at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). GAO witness Joel Willemssen provided a report which concluded that the "FAA's agencywide computer security program has serious and pervasive problems." Committee Chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) criticized the FAA for its problems, and for not taking seriously repeated reports of its computer security problems. FAA Administrator Jane Garvey defended the FAA's record on computer security. Committee Democrats downplayed accusations of FAA computer weaknesses.
9/27. Verizon filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals (4th Cir.) in the Henrico County cable access case in which it argued that broadband Internet access provided over cable facilities is a telecommunications service within the meaning of Communications Act. It further argued that such cable operators must provide "open access" to their cable facilities to competing ISPs. In Dec. 1999, the Henrico County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance approving the transfer of MediaOne's cable license to AT&T, conditioned upon allowing open access. AT&T filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (EDVa). In May 2000, the Court held that the County's franchising authority was preempted by federal law. Henrico County and Verizon appealed. See, Verizon release. On June 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Cir.) issued its opinion in a similar case, AT&T v. Portland, holding that broadband Internet access over cable is a telecommunications service.
9/27. Macromedia filed counterclaims in the U.S. District Court (DDel) against Adobe alleging patent infringement. It alleges infringement of three patents: U.S. Patent No. 5,467,443, which relates to changing blended elements and automatic re-blending of elements, and which is alleged to be infringed by Adobe Illustrator; and U.S. Patents Nos. 5,151,998 and 5,204,969, which relate to visually displaying and editing sound waveforms, and which are alleged to be infringed by Adobe Premiere. See, Macromedia release. On Aug. 10, Adobe filed suit against Macromedia alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 5,546,528, which covers Adobe's tabbed palette, a method of displaying and working with multiple sets of information in the same area of the computer screen. See, Adobe release of Aug. 10.
9/27. The FTC and European Commission approved Boeing's acquisition of Hughes Space and Communications, Electron Dynamics and Spectrolab from Hughes Electronics Corporation. The new entity will be operated as a wholly owned subsidiary called Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS). Under agreements with the FTC and the EC, Boeing will establish firewalls to ensure both the confidentiality of launch vehicle information that is provided to BSS by various launch service providers and satellite information provided by various manufacturers to Boeing's Expendable Launch Systems unit. See, Boeing release. To impose these restrictions upon Boeing, the FTC filed and settled an administrative Complaint. See, Consent Order and Decision and Order. See also, FCC release and EC release.
9/27. California Gov. Gray Davis signed several bills pertaining to technology related crimes:
AB 1862, sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch), which requires the Calif. Dept. of Justice to establish and maintain a database of identity theft victims to assist them in clearing their names.
AB 2232, sponsored by Assemblyman Rico Oller (R-San Andreas), which increases the criminal penalties for unlawfully accessing a computer, introducing a computer virus, and knowingly using another’s domain name, and which expands the definition of injury within the scope of computer crimes by including denial of access to legitimate users of a computer system, network, or program.
AB 2727, sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Wesson (D-Los Angeles), which provides a civil cause of action to the owner or lessee of a computer, system, network, program, or data who is harmed via the Internet by someone who maliciously causes a denial of service.
SB 1357, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Johnston (D-Stockton), which requires the appointment of a designee of the Dept. of Information and Technology or the Science and Technology Agency to the High Technology Crime Advisory Committee.
9/27. Microsoft published an essay regarding online privacy in its web site.
9/25. The Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas filed a complaint and joint settlement agreement with bankrupt Internet retailer in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Austin, TX. On Aug. 31 filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. The company's privacy policy states that " does not sell, trade or rent your personal information to others without your consent. We may choose to do so in the future with trustworthy third parties, but you can tell us not to by sending a blank email to" The proposed settlement agreement provides that a court appointed bankruptcy trustee will oversee the destruction of customers' credit card, bank account and social security numbers. However, the trustee may sell or transfer the customer list, after giving notice to all of's customers and giving them an opportunity to opt-out of the proposed sale. See, release. The bankruptcy court may reject the settlement agreement. A bankruptcy court recently rejected a similar settlement agreement between the FTC and Toysmart.
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

Calif: Assembly Bill 1862, re establishing a database of identity theft victims to assist them in clearing their names, signed 9/27 (HTML, Calif.).
Calif: AB 2232, re increasing criminal penalties for computer crimes, signed 9/27 (HTML, Calif.).
Calif: AB 2727, re creating a  civil cause of action to victims of malicious denial of service attacks, signed 9/27 (HTML, Calif.).
Calif: Senate Bill 1357, re the High Tech Crime Advisory Comm., signed 9/27 (HTML, Calif.).
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Quote of the Day

"FAA has allowed unknown and unchecked contractor personnel, including foreign nationals from countries that harbor ill will to our own, access some of FAA's most sensitive computer systems and and software. This egregious oversight, which violates FAA's own security policies - not to mention every tenant of good computer security practice - has increased the risk of intrusion and attack to our Nation's aviation control system. This is inexcusable." Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI).

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