|House Passes Computer
Security Enhancement Act
|11/27. The House passed HR
1259, the Computer Security Enhancement Act, by a vote of
391 to 4. See, Roll
Call No. 449. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Connie Morella
(R-MD) and other members of the House Science Committee.
It amends the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Act to give the NIST the
responsibility "to provide guidance and assistance to
Federal agencies for protecting the security and privacy of
sensitive information in interconnected Federal computer
systems". However, it excepts national security systems.
The bill also provides that the NIST "shall not
promulgate, enforce, or otherwise adopt standards or policies
for the Federal establishment of encryption and electronic
authentication standards required for use in computer systems
other than Federal Government computer systems".
The bill also provides that NIST shall "develop
technology neutral guidelines and standards, or adopt existing
technology neutral industry guidelines and standards, for
electronic authentication infrastructures to be made available
to Federal agencies so that such agencies may effectively
select and utilize electronic authentication technologies
|FCC Releases NextWave
|11/27. The FCC released the November 15 proposed
settlement agreement [PDF] between the FCC, NextWave, the
DOJ, and the re-auction winners. The 65 page document is
titled "Settlement Agreement By and Among the United
States of America the Federal Communications Commission
NextWave Telecom Inc. and Certain Affiliates and Participating
Auction 35 Winning Bidders".
NextWave obtained spectrum licenses at FCC auctions in 1996.
The FCC permitted NextWave to obtain the licenses, and make
payments under an installment plan, thus creating a debtor
creditor relationship between NextWave and the FCC. NextWave
did not make payments required by the plan, and filed a
Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. The FCC cancelled the
licenses. It then proceeding to re-auction the disputed
spectrum. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) ruled in its June
22, 2001, opinion
that the FCC is prevented from canceling the spectrum licenses
by § 525
of the Bankruptcy Code. The FCC has petitioned the Supreme
Court for writ of certiorari.
The agreement requires approval by the bankruptcy court, and
passage of legislation by Congress.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell released a statement
in which he said that "This begins to bring to a close a
long and torturous event." He defended the agreement:
"It reclaims the NextWave licenses and puts them in the
hands of companies that can put them to use quickly for
consumers. Additionally, it allows the American taxpayer to
receive nearly double what it was legally entitled to collect
under the Court of Appeals ruling -- rather than $5 billion,
the American people will receive $10 billion. While it surely
would have been preferable to have carried through on the
reauction and collect the $16 billion that was bid, that
option was extinguished by the Court and I believe this
settlement is the best outcome under the circumstances."
The Department of Justice
stated in a release
that "The settlement agreement cannot be implemented
before Congress passes particular legislation, and
implementation also requires approval by the court that
oversees NextWave's bankruptcy petition. In the meantime, the
government's petition for a writ of certiorari is pending
before the Supreme Court. According to the settlement
agreement, NextWave will surrender all the C and F block
licenses for wireless telecommunications spectrum it
previously won. The FCC will then issue new licenses for that
spectrum to qualified wireless carriers that offered the
winning bids in Auction 35."
About Internet Drug Sales
|11/26. Rep. John
Dingell (D-MI) and Rep.
Henry Waxman (D-CA) sent at letter
to Tommy Thompson, the Secretary of Health and Human Services,
urging him "to take action to prevent inappropriate sales
of Cipro and other antibiotics over the Internet." The
two are the ranking Democrats on the House Commerce Committee
and the House
Government Reform Committee, respectively.
They continued that "Recently, web sites have sprung up
that offer Cipro and other antibiotics for anthrax infection
to an alarmed public without a doctor’s prescription.
Antibiotic sales by these businesses can cost as much as ten
times more than the government pays and lead to unnecessary
adverse reactions and antibiotic resistance. The Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) has moved to stop web sites from selling foreign drugs
in the United States. However, the agency has not taken a
clear position on sites that offer domestic antibiotics
|House Votes to Extend
Export Administration Act
|11/27. The House passed HR 3189,
the Export Extension Act, by a voice vote. This short
bill simply extends the Export Administration Act until April
20, 2002. It is sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL).
The current Export Administration Act lapsed on August 20,
2001. However, President Bush issued an Executive
Order on August 17 extending it.
The Congress has been working on legislation to overhaul the
export control laws. The Senate passed S 149,
the Export Administration Act of 2001, sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), on
September 6, by a vote of 85 to 14. This bill would
modernize export control laws. It would ease restraints on
most dual use products, such as computers and software, but
increase penalties for violations. It would also repeal
provisions of the 1998 National Defense Authorization Act
which require the President to use MTOPS
to set restrictions on the export of high performance
computers. The House
International Relations Committee, which Rep. Hyde chairs,
passed a much different version of the bill in August.
President Bush supports the Senate bill.
|PPI Issues Report on
|11/27. The Progressive
Policy Institute, a Washington DC based Democratic Party
think tank, released a report
[3 MB in PDF] titled "Breaking Down Bureaucratic
Barriers: The Next Phase of Digital Government". See
[HTML]. It argues that government agencies so far have only
provided information in agency based web sites, and allowed
simple interactive functions, such as filing of taxes. The
report advocates further development of government services on
The report calls for "functionally oriented, citizen
centered government Web presences designed to give citizens a
self service government". It offers some recommendations,
such as inter- govermental web sites, use of P3P enabled
cookies on government Web sites, and more funding. It was
written by Andrew Leigh and Robert Atkinson.
|Hearing on Settlement of
Microsoft Class Action Litigation
|11/27. The U.S.
District Court (DMD) commenced its hearing in In re
Microsoft Corp. Antitrust Litigation, Multi District
Litigation No. 1332, regarding the proposed Settlement
Agreement. This agreement proposes a settlement of the
private antitrust class action lawsuits against Microsoft
alleging that it overpriced its products. The hearing will
continue on December 10.
|People and Appointments
|11/27. The Senate
Banking Committee voted unanimously to approve the
nominations of Susan Bies and Mark Olson to be
members of the Federal
11/27. BellSouth announced personnel changes. Vice Chairman Jere
Drummond, and President -- Network Services Charlie Coe,
will retire from the company, effective December 31. The new
Vice Chairman is Gary Forsee.
de la Vega, who is currently President -- Broadband and
Internet Services, will become President -- BellSouth Latin
America. See, BellSouth
11/27. Lawrence Roberts joined the Washington DC office
of the law firm of Skadden Arps
as a partner in the communications practice. He was previously
a partner in the Washington DC office of Davis Wright Tremaine.
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|Wednesday, Nov 28
|8:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The North American Numbering Council
will meet. Location: FCC, Room TW-C305 (Commission Meeting
Room), 445 12th Street, SW.
TIME CHANGE. 9:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary
Committee will hold a hearing titled "DOJ Oversight:
Preserving Our Freedoms While Defending Against
Terrorism". The scheduled witnesses are Michael Chertoff
(Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal
Division), William Barr (Attorney General in first Bush
administration), Philip Heymann (Deputy Attorney General in
Clinton administration), Griffin Bell (Attorney General in
Carter administration), Scott Silliman (Duke University), Kate
Martin (Center for National Security Studies), and Neal Katyal
(Georgetown Univ.). Sen.
Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will preside. Location: Room 226,
10:00 AM. The Supreme
Court of the United States will hear oral argument in
Ashcroft v. ACLU, No. 00-1293. This case involves the
constitutionality of the 1998 Child Online Protection Act
which makes it illegal to provide to minors over the web
material that is harmful to minors.
12:00 PM. Exostar will
host a press luncheon. For more information, contact Karen
Halligan at 703 793-7715. Location: Lisagor Room, National Press Club, 529 14th
St. NW, 13th Floor.
12:30 PM. Mitch Daniels, Director of the Office of Management and
Budget, will speak at a luncheon. Location: Ballroom, National Press Club, 529 14th
St. NW, 13th Floor.
|Thursday, Nov 29
|8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Day one of a two day meeting of the National Science Foundation's
Advisory Committee for Cyber Infrastructure. See, notice
in Federal Register. Location: Room 1150, National Science
Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA.
10:00 AM. The Senate
Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a business
meeting. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM. The House
Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National
Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations will
hold a hearing titled "Risk Communication: National
Security and Public Health". Location: Room 2154, Rayburn
12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. Jane Mago,
General Counsel of the FCC, will speak at a brown bag lunch
hosted by the District of Columbia Bar Association (DC Bar)
and the FCBA. To
register, contact the DC Bar at 202 626-3463.
12:15 PM. The FCBA's
International Committee will host a brown bag lunch. Jeanette
Chan and Michael Reede of the Hong Kong office of Paul Weiss
will speak on regulatory developments in Hong Kong, China and
India. Location: Paul Weiss, 1615 L Street, 13th floor.
1:30 PM. FTC Commissioner Orson Swindle will participate in an
audio conference titled "Privacy and the Antiterrorism
Act," sponsored by Communications Daily. Location: 600
Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
1:30 PM. The U.S.
International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC)
will hold a meeting regarding preparations for the 2002 World
Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC). See, notice
in Federal Register. Location: State Dept., Room 1408.
2:00 PM. The House
Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime will hold a
556, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition
Act, and HR
3215, the Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and
Modernization Act. Location: Room 2237, Rayburn Building.
to submit comments and Notices of Intention to Participate
with the Copyright
Office (CO) regarding royalty payments for retransmission
of over the air broadcast signals. The CO notice
"directs all claimants to royalty fees collected under
the section 119 statutory license in 2000 to submit comments
as to whether a Phase I or Phase II controversy exists as to
the distribution of those fees, and a Notice of Intention to
Participate in a royalty distribution proceeding." See, 17 U.S.C.
§ 119. See, November 23 notice.
|Friday, Nov 30
|8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Day two of a two day meeting of the
National Science Foundation's Advisory Committee for Cyber
Infrastructure. See, notice
in Federal Register. Location: Room 1150, National Science
Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA.
9:00 AM. There will be a press conference titled
"Security or Surveillance II". For more info,
contact Sarah Andrews at the Electronic
Privacy Information Center at 202 483-1140 ext 107.
Location: National Press Club,
First Amendment Lounge, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The American
Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion
titled "The PCS C Block Mess: The FCC as Auctioneer and
Banker". The panelists will be Robert Hahn (AEI
Brookings), Rudy Baca (Precursor Group), Harold Furchtgott-
Roth (AEI), George Reed- Dellinger (Washington Analysis), John
Thorne (Verizon), and Thomas Hazlett (AEI). See, online registration
page. Location: AEI, Wohlstetter Conference Center,
Twelfth Floor, 1150 17th Street, NW.
Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
in its a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding
extending its Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule.
It proposes to extend the time period during which web site
operators may use an e-mail message from the parent, coupled
with additional steps, to obtain verifiable parent consent for
the collection of personal information from children for
internal use by the web site operator. The current rule
expires on April 21, 2002. The FTC proposes to extend this
until April 21, 2004. See, FTC release
Deadline to submit comments to the Bureau of Export Administration
(BXA) regarding its annual review of the foreign policy based
export controls in the Export Administration Regulations to
determine whether they should be modified, rescinded, or
extended. See, for example, Export Administration Regulations
(EAR), Section 742.12, pertaining to high performance
computers. See, BXA