Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
March 22, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 149.
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Bush Picks Muris
3/21. President Bush will nominate Timothy Muris to be Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. Timothy Muris is currently a professor at George Mason University School of Law. He held several top positions at the FTC during the Reagan administration, including Director of the Bureau of Competition, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, and Assistant to the Director of the Office of Policy, Planning & Evaluation. He was also Deputy Counsel to President Reagan’s Task Force on Regulatory Relief and Executive Associate Director of the Office of Management & Budget. He has written widely about antitrust, consumer protection, franchising, and budget law and policy. The term of the current Chairman, Robert Pitofsky, ends in September, but he may step down earlier. The FTC is one of three federal agencies exercising antitrust merger review authority over transactions involving technology companies. The FTC has also been increasingly active on online privacy issues.
Summary of HR 718
HR 718, as amended on March 21, would:
 • criminalize the sending of any unsolicited commercial e-mail with knowledge that any domain name, header information, or data or time stamp is false or inaccurate.
 • prohibit sending commercial e-mail without a valid e-mail address to which the recipient may send an opt out reply.
 • prohibit continuing to send commercial e-mail after a recipient has opted out of receiving further e-mail from that sender.
 • prohibit sending unsolicited commercial e-mail without identifying it as such, providing notice of opt out opportunity, and providing a physical address.
 • prohibit sending unsolicited commercial e-mail in violation of an ISP's policy, if such policy is clear and posted.
 • create immunity from state and federal civil and criminal liability for ISPs that block e-mail.
 • create civil remedies for ISPs, the FTC, e-mail recipients, and states.
PennPUC to Vote on Verizon Plan
3/22. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PPUC) is scheduled to vote on a plan to break Verizon into a wholesale and a retail unit. On Sept. 30, 1999, the PPUC issued an Opinion and Order directing Verizon to submit a plan to create a separate affiliate to supply retail telecommunications services. It stated that this would "jump-start competition in the local telecommunications markets. It will increase the number of local telephone companies consumers can choose from and boost investment in high-tech data and voice networks." On April 27, 2000, the PPUC issued an Order instituting the current Structural Separation proceeding. On January 26, 2001, the Recommended Decision of Administrative Law Judge Weismandel was issued. See, agenda.
3/21. AT&T filed a petition with the Florida Public Service Commission seeking structural separation of BellSouth into separate retail and wholesale operations. See, AT&T release.
3/20. Ronald Dick was appointed to be Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI's National Infrastructure and Computer Intrusion Program and Director of the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center. See, release.
3/20. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) named Richard Smith to be its UK Chairperson for 2001. He is director of PR and corporate communications for Symantec. He replaces Anne Smith of Adobe. See, release.
New Documents
Richardson: speech re FSC, 3/20 (HTML, EU).
Bush: speech to CIA, 3/21 (HTML, WH).
Anti Spam Bill
3/21. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecom & the Internet approved a revised version of HR 718, the Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail Act of 2001. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), and has almost 100 cosponsors. The House passed Rep. Wilson's anti-spam bill in the 106th Congress (HR 3113) on July 18, 2000, by a vote of 427 to 1, but it was not acted upon by the Senate. She reintroduced the same bill on Feb. 14. She offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute at the Wednesday morning markup. The amendment, and the bill as amended, both were adopted by unanimous voice votes. However, the bill is still a work in progress, and is likely to be amended further by the full Commerce Committee, by the Judiciary Committee, which also has jurisdiction, and then by the Senate.  See also, statement of Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and statement of ranking Democrat John Dingell (D-MI).
Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) stated at the markup that he opposes the language in the bill which creates a state parens patriae cause of action. He also praised the bill generally, and its rejection of a class action remedy specifically. He argued that a state parens patriae cause of action may create an end run around the ban on class actions. He and Rep. Wilson agreed to work on further language before the full committee markup.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who is on the Judiciary Committee, wants to strengthen the bill's ban on forging header information in UCE. He has introduced HR 1017, which would also criminalize the selling or distributing of "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". 
More News
3/20. Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) introduced HR 1137, a bill to make permanent the research and development tax credit.
3/21. The House passed by voice vote HR 496, the Independent Telecommunications Consumer Enhancement Act of 2001, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY). This bill provides regulatory relief to small (less than 2% of subscriber lines) telephone companies. The House Commerce Committee approved this bill on February 28 by unanimous voice vote.
3/21. FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith spoke at the Cato Institute about his book, Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform. However, he did not address any issues pertaining to FEC regulation of political activity on the Internet.
3/21. The U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir) issued its opinion in In ReCendant, a case regarding attorneys fees awards in securities class action suits.
3/19. The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in Contemporary Media v. FCC, No. 00-972, a broadcast radio license revocation case. See, March 19 Order List. See also, opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) of June 16, 2000.
Computer Crime
3/20. Peter Morch plead guilty in U.S. District Court (NDCal) to one count of exceeding authorized access to a protected computer and obtaining information valued at more than $5,000, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(2)(C) & 1030(c)(2)(B)(iii). Morch, a former employee of Cisco, exceeded his authorized access to the computer systems of Cisco by logging into the computer system from a workstation belonging to another Cisco software engineer and copying proprietary information that he knew he was not authorized to have. Just prior to leaving Cisco to work for a competitor, he copied Cisco project ideas, general descriptions, requirements, specifications, limitations of design, and procedures to overcome the design difficulties for a voice-over and optical networking software product. The sentencing is scheduled for June 27, 2001. See, release, March 21 plea agreement [PDF], and March 13 Information [PDF].
Trade News
3/21. President Bush announced his intent to nominate Peter Allgeier to be a Deputy USTR. He is currently the Senior Director for International Economic Affairs at the National Economic Council; prior to that, he worked at the USTR. President Bush also announced his intent to nominate Linnet Deily to be a Deputy USTR. She presently works for the Charles Schwab Corporation. See, release.
3/21. John Richardson, deputy head of the EC delegation to the U.S., gave a speech in Brussels titled "Two Issues Determining the Future of Transatlantic Relations," in which he addressed the U.S. replacement legislation for the Foreign Sales Corporation tax regime, passed at the end of the last Congress. The WTO ruled that the previous FSC regime constituted an illegal export subsidy. Richardson stated that "the Congress has changed the law, but in a way which leaves the relative advantage of exports intact, and we have brought another panel against the US. We will win this one too, and Congress will not be pleased."
Information Warfare
3/19. President Bush gave at speech at the CIA in which he stated that "Today, that single threat has been replaced by new and different threats, sometimes hard to define and defend against; threats such as terrorism, information warfare, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them."
9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DC Cir) will hear oral argument in Coalition for Noncommercial Media v. FCC, Appeal No. 00-1253. Judges Edwards, Williams and Henderson will preside. This is a petition for review of an FCC order approving a license transfer associated with the sale of WNEQ-TV by the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association to LIN Television Corp.
10:00 AM. The Senate Banking Committee will meet to mark up S 149, the Export Administration Act of 2001. The mark-up was originally scheduled for March 15. Location: Room 538, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Internet, and Intellectual Property will hold an oversight hearing titled ICANN, NEW gTLDS, and the Protection of Intellectual Property. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing titled "Assessing HIPAA: How Federal Medical Record Privacy Regulations Can Be Improved." Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building. The witnesses will be John Melski (Marshfield Clinic), John Clough (Cleveland Clinic Foundation), Bob Heird (Anthem BlueCross BlueShield), Carlos Ortiz (CVS Pharmacy), Janlori Goldman (Georgetown University), Paul Appelbaum (Univ. Mass. Med. School), and Mary Foley (American Nurses Assoc.)
2:00 PM. The House Government Reform Committee's Technology and Procurement Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled "Toward a Telework Friendly Government Workplace: Successes and Impediments in Managing Federal Telework Policies." Room 2154, Rayburn Building.
Deadline to file applications with the NTIA for Technology Opportunity Program (TOP) grants. The NTIA will award $42.5 Million in grants in FY 2001, up from $12 Million in FY 2000. These grants go to state, local, and tribal governments, colleges and universities, and non-profit entities to extend advanced telecommunications technologies to inaccessible, rural and underserved urban communities. See, NTIA release and notice in Federal Register.
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