|2/13. Rep. Asa
Hutchinson (R-AR) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA)
introduced the Privacy
Commission Act [PDF], a bill to create a bipartisan
Privacy Protection Commission. This Commission would be
charged with studying a wide range of privacy issues,
including online collection of information, financial, medical
and employment records, and government records (including the
census, drivers license numbers). "Protecting privacy in
a manner that doesn't stunt the growth of electronic commerce
is our central policy challenge," said Rep. Moran. See, Hutchinson
release and gop.gov
release. Hutchinson and Moran also introduced a similar
bill in the 106th Congress -- HR 4049. The House voted 250 to
146 in favor of that bill on Oct. 2, 2000. See, Roll
Call No. 503. However, since it was considered under a
suspension of the rules, a two thirds majority was required
2/12. Rep. Jim Leach
(R-IA) introduced HR 556,
the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act,
a bill to prevent the use of certain bank instruments for
unlawful Internet gambling. The bill does not illegalize any
form of Internet gambling. Rather, it provides that if a
"bet or wager is unlawful under any applicable Federal or
State law in the State in which the bet or wager is initiated,
received, or otherwise made" then certain federally
regulated financial transactions made not be used to transact
the illegal Internet gambling operation. The bill provides
that "No person engaged in a gambling business may
knowingly accept, in connection with the participation of
another person in unlawful Internet gambling -- (1) credit, or
the proceeds of credit, extended to or on behalf of such other
person (including credit extended through the use of a credit
card); (2) an electronic fund transfer ... (3) any check,
draft, or similar instrument ..." The Congress has yet to
pass an Internet gambling bill. Rep.
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who sponsored bills in the 105th and
106th Congresses, has yet to introduce his own bill in the
current Congress (107th).
2/8. Sen. Chris Dodd
(D-CT) introduced S 290,
the Student Privacy Protection Act, to restrict the
dissemination data collected by public schools to commercial
entities. This bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act of 1965 to provide that "no State
educational agency or local educational agency that receives
funds under this Act may (1) disclose data or information the
agency gathered from a student to a person or entity that
seeks disclosure of the data or information for the purpose of
benefiting the person or entity's commercial interests
..." However, data can be disclosed if parental consent
Commission Act, 2/13 (PDF, Hutchinson).
the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, 2/12
the Student Privacy Protection Act, 2/8 (HTML, LOC).
the IRS re tax exempt entities use of the Internet, 2/13
to the IRS re tax exempt entities use of the Internet, 2/13 (PDF,
in Sisco v. Brush re jurisdiction in trademark and customs
cases, 2/13 (HTML, USCA).
|Quote of the Day
|"Does providing a hyperlink to the website of another
organization that engages in lobbying activity constitute
lobbying by a charitable organization?"
of October 16, 2000.
"... clearly no. ... Unless the origin and destination
site are controlled by the same people, the origin site can
never be certain what content will appear on the destination
site. ... Any other rule would present an insurmountable
barrier to use of links because a charity could never be sure
what content would be posted at the destination site when the
charity wasn't looking."
Independent Sector, comment
submitted to the IRS, Feb. 13.
|IRS & the Internet
|2/13. Feb. 13 was the deadline to submit comments to the IRS
in its proceeding regarding its regulation of Internet
speech. The IRS released a document
in October 2000 stating that it is considering whether to
issue guidance regarding the application of the Internet
Revenue Code to various types of Internet communications by
tax exempt entities. Tax exempt status is critical to the fund
raising efforts of many groups. Tax exempt status means that
donors' contributions are tax deductible; also, many
foundations only donate to tax exempt entities. The Congressional Joint Committee
on Taxation conducted an investigation of the IRS
following news media reports that the IRS engaged in partisan
bias in its the handling of tax-exempt organization matters.
Its March 2000 report
[167 page in PDF] found "no credible evidence of
intervention by Clinton Administration officials".
2/13. The Alliance for Justice,
a Washington DC based interest group, which serves as an
umbrella organization for a wide range of civil rights,
environmental, women's, and other groups, submitted a comment to the
IRS. It argued that "In most cases, communication on the
Net is similar to communication in other media, and the IRS
should simply apply existing principles." It also argued
that "It may be better, in some areas, to wait until the
Internet matures before attempting to promulgate regulations
that new technologies and applications will make
obsolete." The Independent Sector,
a collection of charitable, educational, religious, health,
and social welfare entities, also submitted a comment
[36 pages in PDF].
|IBM & the Nazis
|2/13. IBM responded to the
recently published book and recently filed lawsuit which
accuse it of assisting Nazis in their persecution of Jews. The
UK's Sunday Times published a story
on Feb. 11 about the book. The book is also serialized in the
Sunday Times. IBM said this: "It has been known for
decades that the Nazis used Hollerith equipment and that IBM's
German subsidiary during the 1930s -- Deutsche Hollerith
Maschinen GmbH (Dehomag) -- supplied Hollerith equipment. As
with hundreds of foreign-owned companies that did business in
Germany at that time, Dehomag came under the control of Nazi
authorities prior to and during World War II. ... IBM does not
have much information or records about this period or the
operations of Dehomag. Most documents were destroyed or lost
during the war." See, IBM release.
|2/13. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion
[PDF] in Sisco
v. Brush, a case concerning overlapping areas of
law (trademark and customs) and jurisdiction (U.S.
District Court and Court of International Trade -- CIT). Sisco
and Brush both make strong boxes. Brush registered the mark
"Fire Safe", and recorded it with U.S. Customs
Service. The Customs Service detained strong boxes imported by
Sisco containing the mark "Fire Safe". Sisco filed a
complaint in U.S. District Court (CDCal)
seeking declaratory judgment of non-infringement and
cancellation of Brush's trademark. The Court granted Sisco's
request for a preliminary
injunction regarding the Customs Service detention.
Brush appealed, arguing, among other things, that exclusive
jurisdiction rests with the CIT. The Appeals Court ruled the
District Court has jurisdiction: the District Court has
jurisdiction over a challenge to the seizure of goods, while
the CIT has exclusive jurisdiction over a challenge to the
denial of a protest of exclusion of goods.
2/13. The USPTO
announced that it will co-host a three day conference in
London on the Internet and Intellectual Property Crime.
The event will be hosted by the USPTO,
the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe -- Advisory Group on
the Protection and Implementation of Intellectual Property
Rights for Investment (UN/ECE), and the U.K. Patent Office. See, release.
2/10. The WIPO
issued two releases regarding the Milan Forum on Intellectual
Property and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. See, Feb.
9 release and Feb.
|2/13. The FCC announced
that the Commission meeting on February 22, 2001, will focus
on "a comprehensive review of FCC policies and procedures
by the Commissioners and senior agency officials." All
eight FCC bureau and office chiefs will report on their
internal management procedures and current regulatory issues,
to be followed by questions and dialogue with the
Commissioners. The FCC will not take up any other agenda items
at this meeting. The new FCC Chairman, Michael Powell, stated,
"I think the monthly meeting is a good forum for the
Commission to publicly take stock of how well we are organized
to be as responsive as possible to the issues and needs of the
industries under the purview of the FCC." See, release.
announced that Rick Belluzzo will be its new President
and Chief Operating Officer, and that current COO Bob
Herbold will retire. See, release.
2/13. Marc Osgoode joined the NCTA as
Senior Director for Communications. See, release
|2/14. The Wall Street Journal reports in a Feb. 14 story
that the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division is
investigating Microsoft's alliance with Corel. Quote: "In a
civil subpoena served on Microsoft three weeks ago, the
Justice Department demanded all internal documents on the
software company's $135 million investment in Corel last
|9:30 AM. The Senate Communications Subcommittee will hold a
hearing on ICANN.
The scheduled witnesses include Michael Roberts (ICANN), Karl
Auerbach (ICANN), Michael Froomkin (Univ. of Miami), Roger
Cochetti (VeriSign Network Solutions), Kenneth Hansen (NeuStar),
Brian Cartmell (eNIC). Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
9:30 AM. The Senate
Banking Committee will hold a hearing on export
controls and S
149, the Export Administration Act. The scheduled
witnesses include John Hamre (CSIS)
and Donald Hicks (Hicks
& Assoc.). Location: Room 538, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM. The House
Judiciary Committee will begin mark up of HR
333, the "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer
Protection Act 2001." Room 2141, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM. The House
Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Trade will hold
its organizational meeting for the 107th Congress. Location:
Room 1129, Longworth Building.
10:00 AM. The House Financial
Services Committee will hold its organizational meeting.
Location: Room 2222, Rayburn Building.
12:15 PM. The FCBA's
Cable Committee will host a luncheon, featuring Jonathan
Levy, an FCC economist. The price is $15.00. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Location:
NCTA, 1724 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
1:00 PM. House
Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R-OH)
and all six subcommittee chairs (Baker, King, Bachus, Roukema,
Bereuter, and Kelly) will hold a news conference regarding the
Committee's oversight plan. Location: Room 2222, Rayburn
2:00 - 4:00 PM. The House
Science Committee will hold its organizational meeting for
the 107th Congress. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.
5:00 - 7:00 PM. The Congressional
Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will host a reception
and technology demonstration. The scheduled speakers include FCC Chairman
Michael Powell; Congressional Internet Caucus Co-Chairs Sen.
Conrad Burns (R-MT), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Rep. Rick
Boucher (D-VA), and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA); Jerry Berman,
President of the Internet Education Foundation; and Roger
Cochetti, SVP for Policy for VeriSign/Network Solutions.
Location: Room 902, Hart Building.
|Computers & Crime
|2/13. The FBI's NIPC
issued an assessment
regarding the Anna Kournikova worm. It stated that
"the 'Anna Kournikova' mass-mailing worm/virus is
spreading rapidly throughout the Internet. Although it is
propagating rapidly, it is seen as a low threat due to its
apparently non-destructive payload. Although it does not
infect files on the victim's systems, this mass-mailing worm
can potentially clog email servers because of the volume it
generates." The NIPC issues three levels of warnings:
assessments, advisories and alerts. Assessments are the lowest
2/12. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (1stCir) issued its opinion
v. D'Amario. This is a search and seizure case.
Police obtained a warrant which authorized police to search
D'Amario's home for any "computer, word processor,
printer, typewriter ribbons, computer ribbons, computer discs,
computer software, hard drive computer components or any other
component or part of any instrument or machine capable of
producing a printed document." Police searched a dresser
drawer and found an illegal firearm. D'Amario moved to
suppress evidence of the firearm on the grounds that it was
beyond the scope of the warrant. The District Court denied the
motion. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
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