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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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Daily E-Mail Alert
TLJ had technical problems with its mail server on Thursday and Friday Oct. 5-6, and was unable to send this e-mail alert on schedule. TLJ apologizes for the delay.
Oct. 6, 2000
8:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 36.

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News Briefs

10/5. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved an amendment in the nature of a substitute to S 2448 [PDF], the Internet Integrity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2000. The original bill would have amended current law regarding sending transmissions intending to cause damage, and intentionally accessing computer and recklessly causing damage, to eliminate the jurisdictional triggers and to criminalize as misdemeanors all such offenses, whether or not they cause $5,000 loss or other specified injury. The amendment adopted by the Committee retains the $5,000 threshhold. See also, Sen Patrick Leahy's (D-VT) statement summarizing the changes made in the amendment.
10/5. The House Commerce Committee approved HR 3011, the Truth in Telephone Billing Act of 1999. The Committee Print [PDF], was adopted by a voice vote, after an Amendment [PDF] offered by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) was adopted by a voice vote. The bill would require phone companies that are required to assess charges to support the FCC's e-rate program to explain these charges on customers' monthly bills. The bill is supported by the ILECs, and opposed by the FCC. Specifically, it provides that "A telecommunications carrier that is required to contribute to, or that is otherwise assessed for, any support mechanism under section 254, or any other governmental mechanism, fund, tax, or program, shall identify on each subscriber’s bill, in simple, plain language ... the identity of the governmental ... program to which the contribution or assessment is made, and the identity of the governmental authority whose rules require or authorize the contribution or assessment ..."
10/5. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, and the Communications Workers of America announced their opposition to legislation proposed by Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) that would restrict foreign government ownership of U.S. telecom companies. See, Chamber release and CWA release. Sen. Hollings' bill, S 2793, would provide that no FCC license can be held by a company that is more than 25% controlled by a foreign government -- such as Deutsche Telekom.
10/5. The House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Technology held a hearing titled "Rural Access To Technology: Connecting The Last American Frontier."
10/5. The COPA Commission held the second of two days public meetings regarding the writing of its report to Congress. The COPA Commission is a congressionally appointed panel mandated by the Child Online Protection Act to write a report that identifies "technological or other methods that will help reduce access by minors to material that is harmful to minors on the Internet."
10/5. Microsoft filed its Reply In Support Of Its Motion For An Order Governing Further Proceedings with the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) in the antitrust case. Microsoft seeks a slow briefing schedule, and long briefs. The government seeks a faster briefing schedule and shorter briefs. Microsoft accused the government of seeking "to short-circuit the appellate process by curtailing both the scope of Microsoft’s submissions and the time allowed for their preparation."
10/5. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) heard oral argument in Eldred v. Reno, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Copyright Term Extension Act. The three judge panel is comprised of Judges Ginsburg, Sentelle and Henderson.
10/5. The USITC voted to institute an investigation of certain WAP compatible wireless communication devices and components, including Internet access capable cell phones and pagers. Geoworks filed a complaint on Sept. 8 alleging that the importation into the U.S. of WAP devices and components infringes its U.S. patent in violation of § 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. The respondents are, Sanyo, and Sanyo's U.S. subsidiary. See, ITC release. WAP is an open, global specification which gives mobile users with wireless devices the opportunity to access and interact with information and services. The protocol is developed by WAP Forum.
10/5. The USITC issued a Notice of Investigation that a complaint was filed with the ITC on Sept. 11, and supplemented on Sept. 26, under § 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, on behalf of Rambus, which alleges violations of § 337 in the importation into the U.S. of certain synchronous dynamic random access memory devices and modules and products containing the same by reason of infringement of Rambus patents.
10/5. The EPIC published in its web site JPEG copies of documents which it obtained from the FBI about its Carnivore e-mail surveillance system, as a result of its FOIA request and lawsuit.
10/5. FCC Chairman Wm. Kennard gave a speech to the Telecommunication Industry Association in Washington DC. "We are in danger of suffering a “spectrum drought” in our country. And from my vantage point, everybody seems to have a different solution to this problem," said Kennard. "The band manager auction is an important start. But much more must be done. As the Internet migrates from the personal computer into web-enabled wireless devices, spectrum scarcity has emerged as a major “gating factor” in the New Economy. Some estimate that we will need as much as 300 MHz of additional spectrum to meet the bandwidth demands of the wireless web." He offered several suggestions, including "secondary markets for underused spectrum". He also state that "software defined radios can be used to manage spectrum more efficiently. They allow users to operate over wide areas of spectrum in efficient ways. Let us harness software defined radio technology to head off a spectrum drought." See also, FCC release.
10/5. EMI and Time Warner informed the European Commission that they have decided to terminate their merger agreement. See, EU release and Time Warner release.
10/4. The House Judiciary Committee released its report on HR 5018, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000. See, Rept. 106-932. See also, TLJ Summary of HR 5018.
10/3. The FTC extended the time for filing comments on information privacy rules for financial institutions under Section 501(b) of the Graham Leach Bliley bill until October 24. See, Federal Register Notice [PDF]. Under § 501 the FTC and other federal agencies are required to establish appropriate safeguards standards for financial institutions to protect certain customer nonpublic records and information. For background, see original March 1, 2000 Federal Register Notice [PDF] requesting public comment.
10/2. The FTC filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (SDNY) against Verity International alleging unfair or deceptive trade practices in violation of §5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Defendants operate a porn web site that fraudulently billed users for telephone calls to Madagascar that did not take place. The FTC obtained a temporary restraining order. See, release.
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

HCC: HR 3011, the Truth in Billing Act, re identifying e-rate charges on phone bills, and the Dingell Amendment, both adopted by the HCC on 10/5 (PDF, HCC).
Hatch: S 2448, the Internet Integrity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2000, as amended by the Sen. Jud. Comm. on 10/5 (PDF, CDT).
MSFT: Reply In Support Of Its Motion For An Order Governing Further Proceedings, 10/5 (HTML, MSFT).
Kennard: Speech re spectrum for web enabled wireless devices, 10/5 (HTML, FCC).
HJC: House Rept. 106-932 re HR 5018, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000, 10/4 (HTML, LOC).
FTC: Complaint re web based phone billing scam, 10/2 (HTML, FTC).
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Calendar (updated daily).
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Quote of the Day

"... last night, under the cloak of darkness, without notice, without the opportunity to participate, by voice vote on an unwritten suspension calendar, after we had been told there would be no further votes for the day, at a time when most Members had left the Chamber for evening activities, the House passed S. 2045, legislation related to the increase of H-1B visas."

Rep. Eva Clayton (D-NC)

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