Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Feb. 1, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 114.
TLJ Home Page | News from the Web | Calendar | Search | Back Issues
1/31. Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) introduced HR 347, the Consumer Online Privacy and Disclosure Act, a bill to require the FTC to write online privacy regulations. Rep. Green stated that "My legislation would prohibit Internet Service Providers (ISP) and Web site operators from allowing third parties to attach these persistent cookies to a consumer's computer without his or her knowledge and consent. ... The bill also requires a Web site or online service to provide consumers with an option to prevent the use of their personal information for any activity other than the particular transaction. And finally, the privacy policy must clearly state how any information, collected information will be shared or transferred to an external company or third party." The bill was referred to the House Commerce Committee.
1/30. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) introduced HR 260, Wireless Privacy Protection Act of 2001, a bill to require customer consent to the provision of wireless call location information. The bill has been referred to the House Commerce Committee.
1/30. Rep. Phil English (R-PA) introduced HR 267, the Broadband Internet Access Act. The bill is intended to encourage the deployment of high speed Internet access facilities in rural and underserved areas through tax credits. This bill would offer a 10% tax credit per year for five years to companies that deploy "current generation broadband" telecom technologies to both residents and businesses in rural or underserved urban areas, and offer a 20% tax credit per year for five years to companies that invest in "next generation broadband" services to all residential customers. See, Rep. English's summary. The lead cosponsor is Rep. Robert Matsui (D-CA). There are 48 original cosponsors. The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
1/30. Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) spoke in the House about his proposal to create a federal privacy commission. He stated that "the protection of the individual privacy remains one of the most important issues that we could address. Several bills have been introduced. They should be considered. I encourage Congress to take up privacy legislation, but I believe it should be done in a responsible manner that allows for the appropriate flow of information without compromising the privacy of individuals. I believe a privacy commission is the right way to address this very important subject."
House Commerce Committee
 1/31. The House Commerce Committee postponed indefinitely its organizational meeting for the 107th Congress. It had been scheduled for Jan. 31. However, Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) did release a list of Republican subcommittee assignments. The Telecom Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over many high tech issues, will include the following: Fred Upton (R-MI) (Chairman), Cliff Stearns (R-FL) (Vice Chairman), Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Joe Barton (R-TX), Paul Gillmor (R-OH), Chris Cox (R-CA), Nathan Deal (R-GA), Steve Largent (R-OK), Barbara Cubin (R-WY), John Shimkus (R-IL), Heather Wilson (R-NM), John Shadegg (R-AZ), Chip Pickering (R-MS), Vito Fossella (R-NY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Thomas Davis (R-VA), Robert Ehrlich (R-MD), and Billy Tauzin (R-LA) (Ex Officio). Rep. Davis, who represents a northern Virginia district, is active on computer and Internet related legislation. He is new to the full committee and this subcommittee. Chairman Tauzin also announced that Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC) will be Vice Chairman of the full committee.
Exit Furchtgott-Roth
1/31. FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth will soon leave the FCC. He announced that "I have decided not to seek reappointment. Nonetheless, in order to facilitate a smooth transition, I will continue to serve until a mutually agreeable departure date is worked out with the Administration." He did not announce what he would do next, except that it would be in the private sector. See, statement. Furchtgott-Roth has been a Commissioner for three years. Prior to that he was chief economist for the House Commerce Committee, then chaired by former Rep. Tom Bliley (R-VA). On many issues he has been the FCC's most passionate (and sometimes only) advocate of free markets, deregulation, regulatory rollback, and FCC non-regulation of Internet activities. He has also advocated that FCC adherence to the statutes that it enforces. He has also been the FCC's sole opponent of the exercise of antitrust merger review authority. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), the new Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, stated that "Harold Furchgott-Roth is going to be greatly missed at the FCC." See also, NAB reaction.
1/31. The FCC postponed, yet again, the auction of licenses in the 747-762 and 777-792 MHz band. The auction had been set for March 6, 2001. This postponement is until September 12, 2001. See, FCC notice. This auction, which is required by statute to be conducted by Sept. 30, 2000, would make available more spectrum for use for broadband Internet access services. FCC Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth wrote in a dissent that "With each succeeding delay the credibility of our spectrum and auction management policies becomes more suspect."
1/31. The NTIA hosted a public meeting to discuss the results of tests conducted by the NTIA's ITS to develop methods for characterizing ultrawideband (UWB) systems and to assess the compatibility between UWB devices and selected federal radio communications or sensing systems. UWB is a developing technology that may be used for wireless networks, remote sensing or tracking, and ground penetrating radars. UWB systems make use of narrow pulses and time-domain signal processing. These systems, which have very wide emission bandwidths, might affect the efficient use of the radio spectrum or cause interference. Current regulations would have to be amended to permit the use of unlicensed UWB devices. Both federal agency and private sector spectrum is affected; hence, both the NTIA and FCC are studying the issue. The meeting was attended by about 65 representatives of the NTIA, FCC, and other federal agencies, communications companies, law firms, consulting firms, and tech publications. See also, NTIA Special Publication 01-43 [1.9 MB PDF file], titled "Assessment of Compatibility Between Ultrawideband Devices and Selected Federal Systems," and NTIA Report 01-383, titled "The Temporal and Spectral Characteristics of Ultrawideband Signals."
Quote of the Day
"... the privacy of Americans is under attack. With the explosion of the Internet, changes in financial and medical laws and an increasingly intrusive Federal Government, people's personal information seems to be collected, sold, and transferred without adequate protections."

Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), statement in House of Representatives, Jan. 30.
Internet Filtering
1/31. The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding implementation of the Children's Internet Protection Act [PDF]. This statute provides that in order to be eligible to receive FCC e-rate subsidies, schools and libraries that have computers with Internet access must have in place certain Internet safety policies, such as the use porn filtering software. Comments are due on or before February 15, 2001. Reply comments are due on or before February 22. 2001. See, Federal Register, Jan. 31, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 21, at Pages 8374 - 8377.
The Revolving Door
1/31. Bertelsmann AG hired Joel Klein to be its chief U.S. liaison officer. Klein is the former Asst. Atty. Gen. for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Dept. of Justice who was the architect of the antitrust suit against Microsoft which is now on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Bertelsmann is a German music and publishing company. The proposed merger of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) and EMI still needs to win approval from antitrust regulatory agencies. Bertelsmann has also recently acquired an interest in Napster. David Boies, the attorney hired by Klein to be trial counsel in the Microsoft case, is now an attorney for Napster in a copyright infringement case brought by music companies.
12:30 PM. Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, will deliver the luncheon address at the Emerging Law of Cyberbanking and Electronic Commerce Conference. Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW, Washington DC.
New Documents
FCC: NPRM re Children's Internet Protection Act, 1/31 (HTML, TLJ).
FCC: notice of postponement of auction, 1/31 (HTML, FCC).
English: summary of Broadband Internet Access Act, 1/30 (HTML, TLJ).
About Tech Law Journal
Tech Law Journal is a free access web site and e-mail alert that provides news, records, and analysis of legislation, litigation, and regulation affecting the computer and Internet industry.

This e-mail service is offered free of charge to anyone who requests it. Just provide TLJ an e-mail address.

Number of subscribers (as of Jan. 31): 711.

Contact TLJ:
P.O. Box 15186, Washington DC, 20003.

Privacy Policy

Notices & Disclaimers

Copyright 1998 - 2001 David Carney, dba Tech Law Journal. All rights reserved.