Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Feb. 2, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 115.
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Congress
2/1. The Senate confirmed John Ashcroft to be Attorney General by a vote of 58 to 42. This completes the confirmation of all of President Bush's cabinet. In addition, Robert Zoellick is soon likely to be easily confirmed as the next USTR.
2/1. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced S 234, a bill to repeal the excise tax on telephone and other communications services. The bill was referred to the Finance Committee, which Sen. Grassley chairs. The bill is named the Help Eliminate the Levy on Locution Act. HELLO?
People
2/1. The NCTA promoted David Pierce (Director of Public Affairs) and Rick Cimerman (Director of State Telecommunications Policy) to the position of Senior Director. See, release.
2/1. Howard Waltzman is set to become the new communications counsel for the House Commerce Committee. Justin Lilley held the position in the 106th Congress; he now works for News Corp.
2/1. Art Brodsky, who was an assistant to Greg Rohde at the NTIA, will join Simon Strategies on Feb. 5.
More News
2/1. The U.S. Attorney's Office (NDCal) and IRS filed a criminal complaint and supporting affidavit [37 pages in PDF] against Shaw Roohparvar and Ron Roohparvar alleging violation 18 U.S.C. 371, to avoid the currency transaction reporting requirements of 31 U.S.C. 5324, and conspiring, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1956(h), to launder proceeds of sales in interstate commerce of stolen computer components. The affidavit states that the defendants purchased stolen computer components made by Cisco and Netro, knowing that they were stolen, sold them across state lines, and then laundered the proceeds. The components were stolen from inside Cisco and Netro facilities by janitors, and from a Cisco parking lot. The investigation was conducted by a task force of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies named the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT). Asst. U.S. Atty. Joseph Sullivan will prosecute the case. See also, USAO release.
2/1. ITD filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DNJ) against Terra Lycos.
New Documents
FTC: letter to CARU re COPPA safe harbor approval, 2/1 (PDF, FTC).
FTC: NPRM and interim rules with request for comment re HSR premerger notifications, 2/1 (TXT, FTC).
ITAA: letter to Congress re online privacy legislation, 1/31 (HTML, TLJ).
USAO: criminal complaint re stolen Cisco computer components, 2/1 (PDF, USAO).
Privacy
2/1. The FTC sent a letter [PDF] to the Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, informing it that its application to serve as a safe harbor program for the purpose of implementing the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule has been approved by the FTC. This is the first Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) safe harbor application to be approved by the FTC. See also, FTC release. Congress passed the COPPA in late 1998 to require that web site operators that collect personally identifiable information from children first obtain parental consent. The FTC still has pending safe harbor applications from ESRB Privacy Online, PrivacyBot.com, and TRUSTe. See also, the FTC's COPPA Safe Harbor web page.
1/31. The Information Technology Association of American (ITAA) sent a letter to members of Congress regarding online privacy legislation. It states that the "ITAA is especially concerned that a number of proposals intended to enhance privacy may inadvertently give consumers fewer choices and, as technology changes, less privacy." The ITAA letter advocates allowing consumers to "make their own privacy choices"; it also praised the Platform for Privacy Preferences protocol (P3P) being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. It also argues for strong preemption language in any Congressional bill: "The interests of the Constitution's Commerce clause are served by having uniform national privacy rules." It also argues that "Damages for privacy violations should not be in excess of actual damages" and that rules should be technologically neutral. See also, ITAA release.
Intellectual Property
2/1. The USPTO extended the time period for submitting comments regarding the standard for declaring a patent interference to February 28. In its original notice in the Federal Register of Dec. 20, 2000, the USPTO requested comments by Jan. 31, 2000. On Feb. 1, 2001, the USPTO published a second notice in the Federal Register extending the deadline to Feb. 28, 2001. See, Federal Register, Feb. 1, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 22, at Page 8571
1/17. A federal grand jury in South Carolina returned an indictment against Mark Dipadova and Theresa Ford for trafficking in luxury goods, such as Rolex and Cartier watches, bearing  counterfeit trademarks, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371, the federal conspiracy statute, and 18 U.S.C. 2320, the trademark infringement statute. The defendants sold the infringing items through a web site located at www.fakegifts.com. In addition, the two defendants were indicted for making false statements to federal agents in connection with the investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001. Asst. U.S. Atty. Dean Eichelberger will prosecute the case. See, DOJ release.
Antitrust
2/1. The amendments to the Hart Scott Rodino Act went into effect. The HSR amendments bill was passed late last year by the Congress, and signed by the President on Dec. 21. It amended the Hart Scott Rodino Act to, among other things, increase the size of transaction threshold to $50 Million.
2/1. The FTC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding amendments to its premerger notification rules that require the parties to certain mergers and acquisitions to file reports with the FTC and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and to wait a specified period of time before consummating such transactions. The proposed rule changes include updating examples in  801.4, 801.14, 801.90 and 802.8; amending   801.15 to reflect the $50 million threshold and give proper reference to other rules sections; modifying  802.2 to remove an exemption for associated agricultural assets; revising  802.6(b) regarding federal regulatory approval; restructuring and revising  802.50 and 802.51 to clarify and refocus exemptions for acquisitions of foreign assets and voting securities; and amending the example to  802.52 to correctly cite restructured  802.50.The FTC seeks comments on these proposed rule changes. Comments must be received on or before March 19, 2001. See also, interim rules with request for comment.
Today
12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's Wireless Committee will host a Luncheon. The title of the program is "Manufacturers and the Search for 3G Spectrum in the US and Abroad". Location: Sidley & Austin, 9th Floor, 1722 Eye Street, NW. See, map to office. The price is $15. RSVP to heidi@fcba.org.
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