|Privacy: Government Web
|5/30. The GAO
released a report
[PDF] titled "Internet Privacy: Implementation of Federal
Guidance for Agency Use of "Cookies" ". The
report was written at the request of Sen. Fred Thompson
(R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Governmental
Affairs Committee. It reviewed federal agencies'
compliance with the June 2000 Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) guidance that established a presumption that persistent
(as opposed to session) cookies will not be used on federal
Web sites. The report found that "Of the 65 sites we
reviewed, 57 did not use persistent cookies on their Web
sites. However, of the eight sites that were using persistent
cookies, four did not disclose such use in their privacy
policies, as required by OMB. The remaining four sites using
persistent cookies did provide disclosure but did not meet
OMB's other conditions for using cookies. In addition, four
privacy policies on their home pages."
|Public Participation in the
|5/30. The NGO and Academic ICANN Study (NAIS) group released
its interim report on elections and public participation in
summary [HTML] and full
report [540 KB in PDF]. The report states that "the
legitimacy of ICANN's structure and policies have been
questioned by various players in the Internet community. The
central plank of this criticism is that ICANN's organizational
structures and activities do not comply with the ethos of good
and democratic governance." The 107 page report concludes
that "If ICANN is a public entity formulating policy
about the Internet, with broad impact on the public globally,
then the legitimacy of ICANN will depend on public
representation. If ICANN is viewed as a private business
engaged in narrow technical work, the case for public
participation in its decisions or selection of its directors
|Bush Addresses Trade and
|5/29. President Bush gave a speech
in California to the Los
Angeles World Affairs Council in which he addressed trade
and fast track trade negotiating authority. He stated that
"I'm asking the United States Congress to approve U.S.
trade promotion authority this year. And because trade creates
prosperity, and prosperity promotes democracy, I will notify
Congress on June 1st that I intend to extend normal trade
relation status with China for another year."
President Bush also stated that free trade will promote
democracy in the PRC. "Open trade is a force for freedom
in China, a force for stability in Asia, and a force for
prosperity in the United States. And this is not just my
personal view; the institutions and individuals in China who
are the least friendly to freedom are often the least friendly
to trade. The institutions and individuals most sympathetic to
freedom are often the most friendly to trade. They know what I
know: Free trade supports and sustains freedom in all its
forms. Free trade has expanded the portion of China's economy
that is independent of the state. Free trade has swelled the
ranks of independent businessmen. Free trade has introduced
new technologies that offer Chinese people access to
uncensored information and democratic ideas. When we open
trade, we open minds. We trade with China because trade is
good policy for our economy, because trade is good policy for
democracy, and because trade is good policy for our national
Bush also stated that "we will secure our nation's energy
future by generating clean and reliable power on which
high-tech economy depends."
that library policy of unrestricted Internet access creates
sexually hostile work environment, 5/23 (HTML, TLJ).
against the Minneapolis Public Library re Internet access
policy, 5/2/00 (HTML, TLJ).
in M.G. v. Time Warner re invasion of privacy, free speech and
SLAPP suits, 5/30 (PDF, CCA).
re trade and fast track, 5/30 (HTML, State).
re use of persistent cookies by government web sites, 5/30 (PDF,
|Invasion of Privacy v.
Freedom of Speech
|5/30. The California
Court of Appeal (4/2) issued its opinion
[PDF] in M.G.
v. Time Warner, a case involving privacy rights
and the California SLAPP statute. This is a case involving old
media -- magazines and TV -- not Internet technology; however,
the legal issues involved also pertain to Internet media and
Facts. Time Warner
(now AOL Time Warner) published stories in a print publication
(Sports Illustrated) and in a TV program about a child
molester who coached little league baseball. The stories
included a photograph of a team which he had coached. Some of
the children in the picture had been molested by him.
Trial Court Proceeding. The plaintiffs, children and
normal adult coaches who were captured in the picture, filed a
complaint in the Superior
Court of San Bernardino County against Time Warner
alleging invasion of privacy and other claims. Time Warner
filed a motion to strike the complaint, arguing that it
violated CCCP § 425.16, the anti SLAPP statute. SLAPP is the
acronym for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.
The trial court denied the motion, and Time Warner appealled.
SLAPP Statute. See, California Code of Civil Procedure,
425.10 - 425.16. Section 425.16(a) provides that "The
Legislature finds and declares that there has been a
disturbing increase in lawsuits brought primarily to chill the
valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of
speech and petition for the redress of grievances. The
Legislature finds and declares that it is in the public
interest to encourage continued participation in matters of
public significance, and that this participation should not be
chilled through abuse of the judicial process."
Appeals Court Holding. The Appeals Court first noted
that while the statute may have first been conceived to
protect impecunious protesters from wealthy plaintiffs, it has
been applied to protect media defendants. The Court then
followed a two part analysis. It first analyzed whether the
anti SLAPP statute applies in this case. It held that since
Time Warner, in publishing and broadcasting on the serious
topic of child molestation, exercised its right of free speech
concerning an issue of public interest in a public forum, the
anti SLAPP statute applies. The Court next analyzed whether
the plaintiffs presented a prima facie case. It held that they
had presented a prima facie claim that the private fact of
their membership on the molester's team was not newsworthy.
The Court therefore held that, based on the theory of invasion
of privacy for public disclosure of private facts, their cause
of action is sufficient to overcome defendants' SLAPP motion.
Lawyers. The law firm of O'Melveney
and Myers and Harvard Law Professor Laurence
Tribe represented Time Warner.
submitted to the FCC a presentation
outline [PDF] regarding ultrawideband (UWB) transmission
systems, and in particular, their interference with existing
systems. UWB operates across a wide range of spectrum
frequencies at low power levels using very narrow pulses.
Hence, there is the potential for interference. It is a
promising technology that can be used for wireless networks,
remote sensing or tracking, and ground penetrating radars.
|DOC Issues Request for
Quotations for .us Top Level Domain
|5/30. The Department of
Commerce published in its web site a notice
that it intends to issue a written solicitation (Request for
Quotations) on behalf of the NTIA
for services to establish centralized management and
coordination of the registry, registrar, database, and
information services for the .us top level domain (usTLD).
|E-SIGN and SEC Record
|5/30. The SEC published
in the Federal Register a final
rule regarding electronic storage of required records. The
SEC adopted amendments to its rules, which are effective May
30, 2001, that permit registered investment companies and
registered investment advisers to preserve required records
using electronic storage media such as magnetic disks, tape,
and other digital storage media. This rule change is made
pursuant to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National
Commerce Act (E-SIGN). See, Federal Register, May 30, 2001,
Vol. 66, No. 104, at Pages 29224 - 29229.
|SEC Selects New Office
|5/29. The SEC announced
that it selected a new location for its Washington DC
headquarters. The new site will be on the corner of F and 2nd
Streets, NE, adjacent to Union Station and the Thurgood
Marshall Building. The building, named Station Place, is not
yet under construction. It is scheduled for occupancy in
approximately three years. See, SEC release.
|Library Policy of
Unrestricted Internet Access Creates Sexually Hostile Work
|5/23. The Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Minneapolis Area Office,
issued a Determination
that the Minneapolis
Public Library subjected librarians employed by the
library to a "sexually hostile work environment" in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The
librarians filed complaints with the EEOC that stated that the
library's policy of unrestricted Internet access, which
allowed patrons to view and print out any obscene content,
combined with the library's policy that librarians enforce a
30 minute time limit on Internet use, forced librarians to
observe obscene content, subjected librarians to abuse by
patrons accessing obscenity, and exposed librarians to
masturbatory scholars. See, complaint
of one librarian.
The EEOC ruled for the librarians. It wrote: "Based on
the Commission' investigation, the Commission is able to
conclude that the information obtained established violations
of the statutes with regards to the allegations set forth in
the charge, that the Respondent did subject the Charging Party
to sexually hostile work environment. This is in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended."
The EEOC added that "it shall endeavor to eliminate the
alleged unlawful employment practices by informal methods of
conference, conciliation, and persuasion."
Pro filtering groups, including the Family Research Council and the
American Family Association, praised the EEOC's determination.
|The House and Senate are in recess this week for the
Memorial Day District Work Period.
|Friday, June 1
|Recommended deadline for submitting written materials to the
NIST regarding the June
19-21, 2001, meeting of the Computer System Security
and Privacy Advisory Board (CSSPAB). The Advisory Board
was established by the Computer Security Act of 1987 (Public
Law 100-235) to advise the Secretary of Commerce and the
Director of NIST on security and privacy issues pertaining to
federal computer systems. The meeting will be held at the John
Marshall School of Law in Chicago, Illinois. See, notice
in Federal Register, May 11, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 92, at Page
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's Wireless Committee will
host a luncheon.
|Trade Groups Release White
Papers on Antitrust
|5/30. The Association
for Competitive Technology (ACT) and the Computing Technology Industry
Association (CompTIA) released a report
[PDF] which rebutes a report
[PDF] issued by ProComp
on May 15, and an earlier report. ProComp, which is funded by
Microsoft's competitors, alleged that "Microsoft has ... introduced a series
of business initiatives that put Microsoft in a position to
extend its monopoly to the Internet itself." The trade
groups supporting Microsoft responded that this is "yet
another effort by Microsoft rivals to misuse the antitrust
laws to stifle the very competition and innovation these laws
are designed to promote. The actions of Microsoft which were
attacked in the ProComp white papers violate neither the
antitrust laws nor the 1995 consent decree." Boyden
Gray, a partner at the Washington DC law firm of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering,
and a contributor to the ACT CompTIA report, stated in a release
that "Not surprisingly, the beneficiaries of a breakup
would be Microsoft rivals Oracle and Sun, but those who would
be harmed most by a breakup are the ones that antitrust law is
designed to protect -- consumers."
|About Tech Law Journal
|Tech Law Journal is a free access web site
and e-mail alert that provides news, records, and analysis of
legislation, litigation, and regulation affecting the computer
and Internet industry. This e-mail service is offered free of
charge to anyone who requests it. Just provide TLJ an e-mail
Number of subscribers: 1,617.
Contact: 202-364-8882; E-mail.
P.O. Box 15186, Washington DC, 20003.
Copyright 1998 - 2001 David Carney, dba Tech Law Journal. All