|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
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?
|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
will join Simon Strategies
on Feb. 5.
|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
filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DNJ)
against Terra Lycos.
|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
|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
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
|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.
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