Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
April 13, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 165.
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Breaking News
4/13. The Wall Street Journal reports in a story in its interactive edition that the FCC will soon approve new reciprocal compensation rules that will "cut the amount of money phone companies have to pay competitors for completing Internet-bound calls by as much as 67% over three years ..." The FCC will hold a meeting on Thursday, April 19. (The WSJ is a subscription web site.)
4/12. The World Intellectual Propoerty Organization (WIPO) released an interim report [203 pages in PDF] titled "The Recognition of Rights and the Use of Names in the Internet Domain Name System." The report addresses abusive registration of domain names in relation to personal names, trade names, names and acronyms of international intergovernmental organizations, geographical indications (such as for wines), and International Nonproprietary Names for pharmaceutical substances. The WIPO also seeks public comment. The WIPO will also hold a series of public hearings around the world, including one in Washington DC on May 29, 2001. See also, WIPO release.
PRC Trade
4/12. Bush released a statement on relations with the PRC in which he said that "China's decision to prevent the return of our crew for 11 days is inconsistent with the kind of relationship we have both said we wish to have. As we move forward, the United States and China will, no doubt, again face difficult issues and fundamental disagreements. We disagree on important basic issues such as human rights and religious freedom. At times, we have different views about the path to a more stable and secure Asian-Pacific region. We have different values, yet common interests in the world. We agree on the importance of trade and we want to increase prosperity for our citizens." See also, State Dept. release.
4/11. A grand jury of the U.S. District Court (NDCal) returned an indictment [PDF] against Yong Ho Ko (aka James Ko), Yong Uk Ko (aka Paul Ko), and Jungah Choi (aka Joanne Choi) alleging tax fraud and conspiracy in connection with their operation of a circuit board manufacturing business. The indictment alleges that Yong Ho Ko, the sole owner of Twin Technology, a San Jose corporation that assembles printed circuit boards for computer manufacturers, his brother Yong Uk Ko, who is the VP of the company, and Jungah Choi, who is a company sales representative, received money from an electronics scrap material recycling business and failed to report that income on their federal income tax returns. David Callaway is the AUSA who is prosecuting the case. See also, USAO release
New Documents
WIPO: interim report on abusive registration of domain names, 4/12 (PDF, WIPO).
Burghardt: speech re US EU relations, 4/12 (HTML, EU).
GAO: report on Defense Dept. use of information technology, 4/12 (PDF, GAO).
GAO: report on record linkage and privacy, 4/12 (PDF, GAO).
Medical Privacy
4/12. President Bush and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson announced that the medical privacy regulations released in the closing days of the Clinton administration will be implemented. See, Bush statement and Thompson statement. The rules, which were promulgated pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), were opposed by many health care providers, trade groups and Members of Congress. The rules take effect on April 14, but the health care industry has two years to come into compliance. The HHS Dept. released these rules on December 20, 2000. See, HHS summary, and the entire text of the regulations. The regulations were also published in the Federal Register on December 28, 2000. See also, HHS's HIPAA page.
Sec. Thompson said that "we will immediately begin the process of implementing the patient privacy rule." President Bush stated that "Today, I directed Secretary Thompson to allow a federal rule that will protect the privacy of medical information for millions of Americans to become effective. For the first time, patients will have full access to their medical records and more control over how their personal information will be used and disclosed.  The rule also provides a clear avenue of recourse for those Americans whose medical privacy has been compromised." Bush added, "I have asked Secretary Thompson to recommend appropriate modifications to the rule ..."
Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), House Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over this matter, released a statement in which he said that "Given the many legitimate concerns raised at our recent hearing, it's critically important for Secretary Thompson to immediately begin the process of amending and improving the new privacy rules. In addition to being too costly and too complex, the regulations fail to fully protect the privacy of all Americans. In some respects, the new privacy rules could even weaken - not improve - the confidential nature of certain medical records." The Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on March 22.
The Consumers Union released a statement in which it praised Bush's and Thompson's decision. CU's Frank Torres stated that "much of the criticism against these rules is nothing more than scare tactics concocted by businesses that make money from data sharing." 
271 Proceedings
4/12. BellSouth filed an Section 271 application with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) for permission to provide long distance telephone service in North Carolina. If the application is approved, BellSouth will then submit an application for permission from the FCC. See, BellSouth release.
4/12. Verizon filed another regulatory plan with the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy regarding its efforts to obtain permission to provide long distance service in Massachusetts. See, Verizon release.
More News
4/12. The GAO published a report [71 pages in PDF] titled "DOD INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Software and Systems Process Improvement Programs Vary in Use of Best Practices."
4/12. The GAO released a report [172 pages in PDF] titled "Record Linkage and Privacy: Issues in Creating New Federal Research and Statistical Information."
4/11. Guenter Burghardt, head of the European Commission delegation to the US, gave a speech in Chicago, Illinois, titled "Recent Political and Economic Developments in the EU: Implications for the Transatlantic Relationship."
4/12. The NTIA published a notice in the Federal Register of its intent to award a .edu management contract to EDUCAUSE. See, Federal Register, April 12, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 71, at Pages 18913 - 18914. The NTIA also published a copy of this notice in its web site on April 11.
NetZero v. Juno
4/12. The U.S. District Court (CDCal) denied NetZero's motion for a preliminary injunction against Juno. NetZero filed a complaint on December 26, 2000, against Juno alleging patent infringement. NetZero, an ISP and web marketer, asserts that it is the exclusive licensee of U.S. Patent No. 6,157,946, which applies to a process that enables an ISP to display ads or messages through a window that is separate from the browser, and that Juno, a competing ISP, has infringed this patent. The District Court granted NetZero a temporary restraining order on January 5. This latest ruling lifts that TRO. Juno General Counsel Richard Buchband stated that "by denying NetZero's request for a preliminary injunction, the court sends an important signal that it has doubts that the '946' patent will stand up at trial." See, Juno release.
E-SIGN & the FEC
4/12. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) released a draft advisory opinion regarding the use of web sites to authorize payroll deductions for political actions committees. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter submitted a Request for Advisory Opinion [26 pages in PDF] to the FEC on March 6 requesting an opinion that it is permissible, pursuant to the E-SIGN Act, to use electronic signatures to authorize payroll deductions for the MSDW political action committee. MSDW wrote: "Given the near-ubiquitous use of computer and Internet technology in the workplace today, MSDWPAC would like to solicit its restricted class members via the Internet and accept their payroll deduction authorizations in a form other than the traditional, written signature on a hard copy. Specifically, MSDWPAC intends to establish an Internet website which would enable its restricted class members to authorize payroll deductions via electronic signature. To ensure that only restricted class members have access to this website, it will be password protected." The draft opinion states that what MSDW plans to do is permissible. However, the FEC reached this conclusion on the basis of federal election law, without applying or construing the E-SIGN Act, except to say, in a footnote, that "the Commission's approach here is similar to that prescribed in the E-Signatures Act". The FEC will consider this draft advisory opinion at its meeting on Thursday, April 19, 2001. Public comments are due by 12:00 NOON ET, April 18.
9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DC Cir) will hear oral argument in Telecom Resellers v. FCC, Appeal No. 00-1144. Judges Williams, Ginsburg and Rogers will preside.
Deadline to submit requests to appear at public hearing to be held by the USTR on further actions against Ukraine for its denial of adequate protection of intellectual property rights. On March 12, the USTR designated Ukraine as a "Priority Foreign Country" under the "Special 301" program. A public hearing will be held on April 27, 2001. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 6, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 67, at Pages 18346 - 18348. See also, USTR release of March 13.
Starting today the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) will only accept the December 18, 2000, version of Form I-129W, titled "H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption." Prior editions of the form will not be accepted. See, notice in Federal Register, March 30, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 62, at Page 17442.
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