|9th Circuit Rules in
Electronic Surveillance Case
|6/15. The U.S. Court
of Appeals (9thCir) issued an en banc opinion
[PDF] in Cramer
v. Consolidated Freightways, a case regarding
surreptitious electronic surveillance of employees and the right
to privacy. The Appeals Court rejected an argument that
the LMRA preempted this state law privacy action.
Facts and Trial Court Proceedings. Consolidated Freightways (CF),
a trucking company, installed hidden cameras and microphones
in employee bathrooms. This violates the California criminal
code. Employees and others filed two separate complaints in
California Superior Court alleging violation of privacy based
upon state law. CF removed both cases to the U.S. District
where they were consolidated. CF argued that § 301 of the
Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) preempted the state law
action because the plaintiffs were subject to a collective
bargaining agreement (CBA). The trial court dismissed as to
all plaintiffs, except those who were not employees of CF.
Holding. The Appeals Court was unimpressed with the
preemption argument. It held that since the CBA did not cover
privacy claims, there could be no preemption. However, the
Court continued that " when an employer's surreptitious
surveillance constitutes a per se violation of established
state privacy laws, the employees affected thereby may bring
an action for invasion of privacy regardless of the terms of
the collective bargaining agreement governing their
employment." The parties to a CBA cannot bargain to do
that which is illegal. Judge Raymond Fisher wrote the opinion
of the en
banc panel. Judge Tallman wrote a concurring
opinion. Judge O'Scannlain dissented. Reversed and remanded.
|DC Circuit Affirms FCC in
Qwest v. FCC
|6/15. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion
v. FCC, a petition for review of an FCC order.
The Appeals Court denied the petition of Qwest and others to the FCC's order
granting complaints by paging carriers that local exchange
carriers (LECs) improperly imposed charges for facilities used
to deliver LEC originated traffic and for Direct Inward
Dialing numbers in violation of §§ 201(b) and 251(b)(5) of
the Communications Act and regulations thereunder.
|DC Circuit Affirms FCC in
NECA v. FCC
|6/15. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion
v. FCC, a petition for review of an FCC order
adopting a formula for distributing money from the Universal
Service Fund (USF) to subsidize high cost telephone service
providers and thereby promote telephone subscribership. The
Appeals Court denied the petition.
|Judge Dismisses All Claims
in DC Tower Case
|6/15. The U.S.
District Court (DDC) issued its opinion [PDF]
in American Towers
v. District of Columbia. The District of
Columbia (DC) issued a permit to American Towers (AT) to build
a 756 foot communications tower in Northwest DC. AT started
construction. DC then revoked the permit. AT filed a complaint
for declaratory and injunctive relief that would allow it to
proceed with construction, asserting violations of several
sections of the Communications Act, and the equal protection
and due process clauses of the Constitution. The Court ruled
for DC on all claims, and dismissed with prejudice.
in Cramer v. Consolidated Freightways, re LMRA preemption of
privacy actions, 6/15 (PDF, USCA).
in NECA v. FCC re Universal Service Fund, 6/15 (TXT, USCA).
in Qwest v. FCC, 6/15 (TXT, USCA).
2120, the Broadband Antitrust Restoration and Reform Act,
6/12 (HTML, LibCong).
2148, a bill to re-establish the Office of Technology
Assessment, 6/13 (HTML, LibCong).
1056, a bill to provide grants for community
communications planning, 6/14 (HTML, LibCong).
1055, a comprehensive privacy bill, 6/14 (HTML, LibCong).
|Sen. Feinstein Introduces
|6/14. Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S
1055, a bill titled the Privacy Act of 2001. This is a
long and comprehensive bill dealing with many privacy related
topics. It would restrict the dissemination of personally
identifiable information, limit the use of social security
numbers, amend the Gramm Leach Bliley bill, regulate the use
of medical information privacy, and extend drivers license
privacy. The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary
Committee. See, Feinstein
Personally Identifiable Information. Title I of the
bill provides that "It is unlawful for a commercial
entity to collect personally identifiable information and
disclose such information to any nonaffiliated third party for
marketing purposes or sell such information to any
nonaffiliated third party, unless the commercial entity
provides (A) notice to the individual to whom the information
relates in accordance with the requirements of subsection (b);
and (B) an opportunity for such individual to restrict the
disclosure or sale of such information." It would also
preempt similar state laws, and provide civil enforcement
authority to the FTC.
Social Security Numbers. Title II of the bill provides
limitations on the use of social security numbers. It provides
that "no person may display any individual's social
security number to the general public without the
affirmatively expressed consent of the individual ... no
person may sell or purchase any individual's social security
number without the affirmatively expressed consent of the
individual ... No person may obtain any individual's social
security number for purposes of locating or identifying an
individual with the intent to physically injure, harm, or use
the identity of the individual for any illegal purpose".
This title of the bill provides for criminal enforcement and a
private right of action.
Financial Information. Title III of the bill contains
comprehensive amendments to the Gramm Leach Bliley bill
regarding the sale of nonpublic personal information.
Health Information. Title IV of the bill contains
comprehensive prohibitions on the sale of health information.
|Sen. Byrd Addresses Trade
|6/14. Sen. Robert Byrd
(D-WV) addressed a hearing of the U.S. China Congressional
Commission. He stated that the PR of China is "operating
in the United States, to procure advanced dual-use and
military technology, such as high-performance computers and
navigation and communications equipment. Some sources estimate
that there are as many as 3,000 Chinese government front
companies operating in the United States." See, statement.
|Sen. Murray Introduces
Telecom Planning Grant Bill
|6/14. Sen. Patty Murray
(D-WA) and others introduced S
1056, a bill titled the Community Telecommunication
Planning Act of 2001. The bill authorizes the federal
government to make grants totaling $60 Million in FY 2002 (and
unspecified amounts thereafter) for "community
telecommunications infrastructure planning". Local
governments, non-profits, and public utilities would be
eligible. Priority would go to rural and underserved areas.
The bill was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee. She
said in the Senate that "This bill can open the door for
thousands of small and rural areas across our state to tap the
potential of the information economy." See, Murray
|6/15. The FCC's Office of
Engineering and Technology provided a tutorial on voice
over the Internet, including next generation networks based on
VoIP, soft switches, media gateways, media servers, VoIP
standardization status, and market drivers of VoIP
technologies. See, FCC
6/15. The Senate
Government Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on
Investigations held the second of two hearings on cross border
fraud, focusing on U.S. Canadian law enforcement cooperation.
6/13. Jesus Oquendo was sentenced in U.S. District Court (SDNY)
to 27 months in prison for computer hacking and electronic
eavesdropping. He is a former computer security specialist
whose hacking began with physical access to the offices of his
first victim. See, release.
|People and Appointments
|6/15. FCC Commissioner Kathleen
Abernathy named Bryan Tramont to be her Senior
Legal Advisor. He was previously Senior Legal Advisor to
former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott- Roth. He is also
currently an adjunct professor at Catholic University in
Washington DC. Tramont is also a former associate in the
Washington DC office of the law firm of Wiley Rein & Fielding.
Abernathy also named Ann Monahan to be her Confidential
Assistant, and Tjuana Price to be a Staff Assistant (with
responsibility of scheduling). See, release.
6/15. USTR Robert Zoellick
named Regina Vargo Assistant USTR for the Americas.
|Monday, June 18
|The House will meet at 2:00 PM in pro forma session.
4:00 PM. Public ceremonial swearing in of FTC
Chairman Timothy Muris. Location: FTC, 600 Pennsylvania
Ave., NW, Room 432, Washington DC.
6:30 PM. Intel Chairman Andy
Grove will deliver a speech titled "Building the
Internet Economy" at a dinner event hosted by the
Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and the Intel Corporation.
The event is open to the media and free of charge. RSVP to
Katharine Lister at 202- 547-0001. See, PPI
release. Location: The Mayflower Hotel, State Room, 1127
Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Copyright Office
in response to its Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding proposed
amendments to its regulation governing notices of termination
of transfers and licenses covering the extended renewal term.
The current regulation is limited to notices of terminations
made under section 304(c) of the copyright law. The Sonny
Bono Copyright Term Extension Act created a separate
termination right under section 304(d). Under the proposed
regulation, procedures governing notices of termination of the
extended renewal term would cover notices made under either
section 304(c) or 304(d). See, Federal Register, May 3, 2001,
Vol. 66, No. 86, at Pages 22139 - 22140. See also, PDF
copy in CO web site.
|Tuesday, June 19
|The House will meet at 12:30 PM for morning hour and 2:00 PM
for legislative business. No recorded votes are expected
before 6:00 PM. No tech bills are on the agenda.
9:30 AM. The Senate
Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on local phone
competition. The scheduled witnesses are Rep. Ed Markey
(D-MA), Michael Armstrong (AT&T), Margaret Greene
(BellSouth), Royce Holland, (Allegiance Telecom), Clark McLeod
(McLeod USA), David Rolka (Rhoads & Sinon), Dave Sullivan
(State Senator, Illinois), Gene Kimmelman (Consumers Union).
Location: Room 253, Russell Senate Office Building.
12:00 NOON. The Congressional
Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will host a lunch panel
discussion titled "Wireless Privacy and the Mobile
Internet". The panelists will include Robert Petit (Wiley
Rein & Fielding), James Dempsey (Center for Democracy
& Technology), John Collins (Mobility Technologies), Marci
Weisler (Vindigo), Becky Richards (TRUSTe), and Jonas Niehardt
(Qualcomm). RSVP to Danielle at RSVP@netcaucus.org
202-638-4370. Location: Room 2168 (Gold Room), Rayburn House
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