Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Dec. 15, 2000, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 84.
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New TLJ Stories
Advisory Panel Reports on Cyber Terrorism. A national domestic terrorism advisory panel released its second annual report on terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and cyber terrorism. The panel's Chairman, Gov. James Gilmore, stated that cyber terrorism "can be a very deliberate attack on the capabilities of the United States to respond to any other type of attack." The panel recommended the creation of an executive branch office, and Congressional committees, with responsibility for combating terrorism.
New Documents
FTC: Complaint against AOL and TW, 12/14 (PDF, FTC).
FTC: Decision and Order re AOL and TW merger, 12/14.
FTC: Analysis of FTC action on AOL TW merger, 12/14 (PDF, FTC).
Tristani: speech re FCC merger reviews, 12/14 (HTML, FCC).
DOJ: Final Carnivore Report, 12/14 (4.5 MB PDF file, DOJ).
Barshefsky: speech re trade agenda, 12/14 (HTML, State).
New and Updated Sections
Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
News Briefs
12/14. The FTC reached an agreement with AOL and Time Warner that will result in the FTC approving the two companies' merger. As part of the deal, AOL and TW agree to many conditions, including that they open their cable system to competing ISPs. The agreement gives the FTC ongoing regulatory authority over the merged company. To put this arrangement into effect the FTC filed an administrative Complaint [PDF] against AOL and Time Warner for violation of §7 of the Clayton Act and §5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. (See, Docket Number C-3938.) The FTC also simultaneously filed an Agreement Containing Consent Orders [PDF] and Decision and Order [PDF]. See, joint statement of AOL and TW and Analysis [PDF] by FTC. The European Commission has approved the merger too. However, AOL and Time Warner still need to win the approval of the FCC, which is conducting its own proceeding.
12/14. FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani gave a speech in Washington DC in which she defended the FCC's recent practice of conducting duplicative antitrust merger review proceedings. "There is clearly an ongoing debate about the Commission's involvement in mergers both at the Commission and on Capitol Hill. But at present, the Commission’s review of mergers is clearly required by law." Tristani added that this review must include "an analysis of the competitive impact of the transaction on the relevant communications market." She also discussed the FCC's new Enforcement Bureau and its Section 271 proceedings.
12/14. The FTC's action on the AOL TW merger prompted much reaction and commentary. The NCTA, which represents cable operators, argued that "no other cable company serves more than a small fraction of the Internet access market. The anti-trust safeguards imposed by the FTC are unique to AOL's substantial Internet position and are not a precedent for broader government regulation." See, NCTA release. In contrast, the OpenNet Coalition, which represents many ISPs, stated that "this can serve as a model for other cable systems across the country". See, OpenNet release. The Association for Competitive Technology released a statement that condemned the deal. "It is unfortunate that the FTC succumbed to the lobbying efforts of  forced accessed advocates" said ACT President Jonathan Zuck. "In the end, forced access amounts to corporate welfare and consumers will be the losers." Meanwhile, the Consumers Union issued a release that praised the "open access" component of the deal, but criticized the FTC for not also ordering the divestment of certain assets.
12/14. The U.S. Justice Dept. released the final report of the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute (IITRI) on the e-mail surveillance system named Carnivore. It contained few changes from the preliminary report. See, DOJ's Final Carnivore Report [caution: 4.5 MB PDF file]. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) criticized the report: "This superficial review doesn't get to the heart of the matter. It does nothing to restore the confidence that Americans should have in the confidentiality of their online transactions. Why should average Internet users have to wonder whether a rogue agent could snoop through their emails and other online transactions?" See, Armey statement.
12/14. Gov. James Gilmore (R-VA), and other members of an anti terrorism panel released their second annual report, which also addresses cyber terrorism, at a press conference in Washington DC. See, TLJ story.
12/14. The USTR announced that it submitted to the WTO a "negotiating plan to remove trade barriers across a broad range of services sectors", including telecommunications. See, USTR release.
12/14. Outgoing USTR Charlene Barshefsky gave a speech in Washington DC to the Democratic Leadership Council on trade policy. She also outlined upcoming trade related items. "Next year, the new Congress will consider at least six major bills: implementation of the U.S.-Vietnam Trade Agreement and a similar agreement with Laos through approval of annual NTR; Free Trade Agreements with Jordan, Singapore and Chile; a renewed and expanded Andean Trade Preferences Act. The new Administration and Congress will also need to decide whether the procedural device of "fast-track" negotiating authority remains necessary. ... China's WTO commitments will come into force, and the task of monitoring and enforcement will begin. ... The Free Trade Agreement with Singapore, which may be expanded in Asia, begins ..." She also reviewed and praised the trade accomplishments of the Clinton administration.
12/12. The FCC denied petitions filed by PanAmSat and GE Americom seeking reconsideration of its Aug. 8, 2000 decision (FCC 00-287) authorizing INTELSAT as a U.S. licensee upon its privatization in 2001. That decision granted INTELSAT full access to the U.S. market providing that it privatizes in a manner consistent with U.S. law. See, FCC release. See also, contact info.
Editor's Note: This column includes all News Briefs added to Tech Law Journal since the last Daily E-Mail Alert. The date indicates when the event occurred, not the date of posting to Tech Law Journal.
Quote of the Day
"It is easy to envision a coordinated attack by terrorists, using a conventional or small-scale chemical device, with cyber attacks against law enforcement communications, emergency medical facilities, and other systems critical to a response."

Cyber terrorism panel annual report, Dec. 15.
12/14. The Federal Election Commission elected Danny McDonald as Chairman and David Mason as Vice Chairman for 2001. These positions rotate annually. See, FEC release. The FEC, which is responsible for enforcing the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), has increasingly been addressing issues that affect the Internet, including determining whether certain Internet activities constitute campaign contributions or expenditures, and applying the FECA to fund raising on the Internet.
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