|3/15. The Senate passed S
220, the bankruptcy reform bill, by a vote of 85 to
15. The House passed its version of the bill, HR
333, on March 1.
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced HR
1017, the Anti-Spamming Act of 2001, a bill to
criminalize the forging of header information in unsolicited
commercial email (UCE). On Feb. 14, 2001, Rep. Heather Wilson
(R-NM) introduced HR
718, the Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail Act of
2001. HR 718 is a longer and broader bill with wide support
(94 cosponsors). HR 1017 is a narrow bill intended to
supplement HR 718 in one area -- forging of header
information. It would criminalize the sending of a bulk UCE
message "with knowledge that such message falsifies an
Internet domain, header information, date or time stamp,
originating e-mail address, or other identifier". HR 718
already contains similar language. However, HR 1017 would also
criminalize selling or distributing "any computer program
that (i) is designed or produced primarily for the purpose of
concealing the source or routing information ... (ii) has only
limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to
conceal such source or routing information; or (iii) is
marketed by the violator or another person acting in concert
with the violator and with the violator’s knowledge for use
in concealing the source or routing information of such
messages". HR 1017 is cosponsored by Rep.
Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). HR 1017
has been referred to the House Judiciary
Committe, on which Reps. Goodlatte, Boucher, and Smith
|3/15. NCR filed a
complaint in U.S. District Court (DDel) against Palm and Handspring alleging patent
3/15. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Netword
v. Centraal, a patent infringement suit
involving Netword's U.S.
Patent No. 5,764,906 titled "Universal Electronic
Resource Denotation, Request and Delivery System." It
describes and claims a system for locating and retrieving
information on a distributed computer system or network, such
as the Internet, using "aliases" to denote resources
whose retrieval is sought. The Appeals Court affirmed the
District Court's judgment of non-infringement.
3/14. Sony and Connectix resolved all
pending patent infringement actions pertaining to
Connectix Virtual Game Station. Connectix stated that "As
part of the agreement the two companies have resolved all
legal issues pertaining to Connectix Virtual Game Station (CVGS).
For consideration, Sony Computer Entertainment will acquire
from Connectix all assets related to the VGS emulation
technology. Connectix will continue to offer the current
version of both CVGS for Macintosh and Windows until June 30,
2001. Connectix will provide continuing support to existing
users. All further emulation development for the PlayStation
game console will proceed under the auspices of the joint
agreement." See, Connectix
3/15. The USPTO
published its first set of patent applications under the American Inventors Protection Act.
Publication of patent applications is now required for the
vast majority of filings made on or after November 29, 2000.
Previously, patent applications were held in confidence until
a patent was granted. See, release.
3/8. The Secret Service
executed two search and seizure warrants in Queens and
Manhattan, New York, against a music counterfeiting operation.
It seized counterfeit music CDs, as well as equipment
used to produce counterfeit music CDs, including CD-R burners,
computer monitors, computers, thermal imprinters,
paper-cutting machines, laptops computer, industrial color
copiers, and industrial shrink-wrap machines. The Secret
Service was assisted by the RIAA's
New York Anti-Piracy Unit. See, RIAA release.
|More Hill News
|3/14. Sen. Richard
Shelby (R-AL) introduced S 536, a bill to amend the Gramm
Leach Bliley Act to provide for a limitation on sharing of
marketing and behavioral profiling information. The bill was
referred to the Senate Banking Committee.
3/15. The House
Education and Workforce Committee's Subcommittee on 21st
Century Competitiveness held a hearing titled "Improving
Student Achievement Through Technology."
on vulnerability of IRS electronic filing data, 3/15 (PDF,
1017, the Anti- Spamming Act, 3/14 (HTML, TLJ).
1012, the Telework Tax Incentive Act, 3/13 (HTML, LOC).
521, the Telework Tax Incentive Act, 3/13 (HTML, LOC).
in AT&T v. Dallas, 3/15 (HTML, USCA).
in Kiam v. NFL, an antitrust case, 3/15 (HTML, USCA).
on global e-commerce, 3/15 (PDF, PPI).
re Computer III FNPRM, 3/15 (TXT, FedReg).
|3/15. The Senate
Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearings on high
performance computer export controls. The GAO
presented a report titled "Export Controls: Inadequate
Justification for Relaxation of Computer Controls Demonstrates
Need for Comprehensive Study". On January 10, 2001, the
Clinton administration announced a significant relaxation of
export controls on high performance computers (HPCs); it
raised the licensing and notification thresholds from 28,000
to 85,000 MTOPS.
The 1998 National Defense Authorization Act requires the
President to provide a report to Congress justifying export
control modifications on three grounds. The GAO report
concluded that Clinton only justified his decision on one of
the three grounds. The GAO concluded that the Clinton report
addressed the first criterion, worldwide availability of HPCs,
but failed to address the other two criteria, the computer
uses of military significance to which HPCs could be applied
at the new MTOPS thresholds, and the national security impact
of such uses. The GAO report did not reach any conclusion as
to whether 85,000 MTOPS is an appropriate threshold, or even if
MTOPS is an appropriate measure.
Sen. Fred Thompson
(R-TN), Chairman of the Committee, presided at the hearing. He
criticized the Clinton report for not making an adequate
assessment of the national security implications of raising
the MTOPS levels. He stated that "we are still flying
blind." He expressed concern about exporting dual use
HPCs which can be used to simulate nuclear testing by China.
Sen. Bob Bennett
(R-UT), a member of the Committee, offered a defense of
liberalization of export controls on HPCs. He argued that
other countries are involved in HPC computer manufacture, and
that export controls could prevent U.S. manufacturers from
competing effectively. He also pointed out that it would harm
U.S. national security if U.S. industry lost its lead, and the
Defense Department had to purchase HPCs from foreign
3/15. The Senate
Banking Committee postponed its mark up of S
149, The Export Administration Act of 2001.
"Some things are worth the wait and that's how I classify
this bill," said Sen.
Mike Enzi (R-WY), sponsor of the bill. "We are now
working with a new Administration. Based on our discussions,
it is clear the Administration supports the basic principles
of our bill. The White House has just completed a thorough
review of our bill. We have been in contact with the
President's national Security Advisor Condaleezza Rice.
Through her leadership the Administration has suggested a
package of improvements for the bill. We will continue
discussions with the Administration in the coming days. I am
confident we will reach a consensus and receive the full
backing of the President." Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX),
Chairman of the Banking Committee, said "I am confident
that we can in short order reach a consensus and receive the
president's full endorsement ..."
|3/15. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (2ndCir) issued its opinion
Kiam v. NFL, a old antitrust case
involving Victor Kiam's attempts to relocate the New England Patriots
football club. This is not a tech case, but the antitrust
analysis may be of interest to technology lawyers, and
football fans. Kiam, owner of the Patriots, filed a complaint
in 1994 in U.S. District Court (SDNY)
against the NFL, its member clubs,
including Touchdown Jacksonville Ltd (TJL), and Touchdown
Jacksonville Inc. (TJI), alleging violation of § 1 of
the Sherman Act by engaging in monopolistic and conspiratorial
conduct that illegally lowered the value of the Patriots. Kiam
had signed a release, but argued that it was void for economic
duress, and that it was part and parcel of the
antitrust violation. Defendants prevailed in the District
Court. The Appeals Court affirmed, except as to TJL and TJI.
The Appeals Court wrote, "this leaves the NFL dog of this
litigation quite dead but the TJI/TJL tail still
|3/15. The FCC published a
in the Federal Register requesting comments to "update
and refresh the record" on issues raised in its Computer
III Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, originally
issued on January 30, 1998. Comments are due April 16, 2001.
Reply comments are due April 30, 2001. See, Federal Register,
March 15, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 51, at Pages 15064 - 15065.
3/15. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DC Cir) heard oral argument in NextWave Personal
Communications v. FCC, Appeal No. 00-1402.
3/15. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DC Cir) heard oral argument in Global Crossing v.
FCC, Appeal No. 00-1204.
3/15. The House
Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications
and the Internet held a hearing titled Digital Television:
A Private Sector Perspective on the Transition. See,
prepared testimony of witnesses:
Arland (Thomson Multimedia)
Paxson (Paxson Comm.)
Weed (Millenium Digital Media)
Courtney (La. Public B'casting)
Tucker (Fisher Broadcasting)
Willner (Insight Comm.)
Cookson (Warner Bros.)
See also, prepared
statement by Rep.
Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Chairman of the Commerce Committee.
3/15. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (5thCir) issued its opinion
v. City of Dallas, a mooted appeal regarding
the City of Dallas' attempt by ordinance to impose fees and
restrictions on local telephone providers. When CLECs
attempted to enter the local telephone market in Dallas, the
City of Dallas imposed franchise conditions on the CLECs and
increased right-of-way fees on all local telephone providers.
Various challenges to the ordinance were consolidated in one
action, in which the District Court granted preliminary
injunctions to the CLECs, and then granted summary judgments
holding that a CLEC does not "use" a right of way
under § 523 of the Telecom Act of 1996 by leasing the UNEs
of an ILEC,
and is therefore not responsible for municipal fees. SBC appealed. Then, the State
of Texas enacted a statute,
which preempted the Dallas city ordinance. The remaining issue
on appeal was how to deal with the mooted appeal. The Appeals
Court vacated the District Court's judgments and remanded the
case with directions to dismiss.
|IRS Data Vulnerable
|3/15. The GAO published a report [PDF]
titled "Information Security: IRS Electronic Filing
Systems," which found that the IRS's electronic filing
data is vulnerable to hackers. The report stated that
"During last year’s 2000 tax filing season, IRS did not
implement adequate computer controls to ensure the security of
its electronic filing systems and electronically transmitted
taxpayer data." The report elaborated: "We
demonstrated that unauthorized individuals, both internal and
external to IRS, could have gained access to IRS' electronic
filing systems and viewed and modified taxpayer data contained
in those systems during the 2000 tax filing season. We were
able to gain such access because IRS at that time had not (1)
effectively restricted external access to computers supporting
the e-file program, (2) securely configured the operating
systems of its electronic filing systems, (3) implemented
adequate password management and user account practices, (4)
sufficiently restricted access to computer files and
directories containing tax return and other system data, or
(5) used encryption to protect tax return data on e-file
systems. Further, these weaknesses jeopardized the security of
sensitive business, financial, and taxpayer data on other
critical IRS systems that were connected to e-file computers
through its servicewide network."
|3/15. The FBI's NIPC
issued an Assessment
titled "Intrusion Detection Systems Exploit" that
states that "a software package has been identified
which, if used maliciously, may disable a victim’s computer
or network's IDS by flooding it with Internet traffic
emanating from several random Internet Protocol (IP) addresses
simultaneously." The NIPC issues three levels of
warnings: assessments, advisories, and alerts. Assessments are
of the lowest level of severity.
|Deadline to submit comments or papers to the NTIA
and FTC regarding the
benefits and burdens of requiring consumer consent to
receive information electronically. These agencies are
required by the E-SIGN
Act, passed last year, to conduct this study.
Also, a workshop will be held at the FTC on April 3, 2001 from
8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. See, notice
published in the Federal Register.
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM. The Administrative Office of U.S. Courts
will hold a hearing on privacy and security implications of
public access to federal court documents via the Internet.
Location: Judicial Conference Center in the Thurgood Marshall
Federal Judiciary Building, One Columbus Circle NE, Washington
9:30 AM. The Federal
Communications Commission will hold a meeting. Location:
Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington DC.
10:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Federal
Communications Bar Association and the DC Bar Intellectual
Property Law Section will cosponsor a panel discussion titled Permission
for Transmission -- Copyright on the Internet. The
speakers will be Alison Shapiro (Fletcher, Heald &
Hildreth), David Carson (Copyright Office),
Troy Dow (MPAA),
Vincent Garlock (Courts, Internet, and Intellectual Property
Subcommittee), and Bruce Joseph (Wiley,
Rein & Fielding). The price is $20 in advance, or $30
on site. Location: International Trade Center, Ronald Reagan
Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The Federalist Society's Criminal Law
Practice Group will host a luncheon program titled "Law
Enforcement in Cyberspace: Who Has the Upper Hand -- the
Hackers or the Cops?" The speakers will be Bill Jordan (Alston Bird), Orin Kerr (DOJ
Computer Crime Section), Michael O'Neill (George Mason Univ.
School of Law), and Marc Rotenberg (EPIC). RSVP to 202-822-8138.
Location: National Press Club,
529 14th Street, NW, Washington DC.
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