Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
November 28, 2001, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 316.
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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 Agreement
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."
Representatives Complain 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 illegitimately."
FCC Releases Report on International Negotiations
11/27. The FCC's International Bureau released its 2001 Report on International Negotiations, Spectrum Policy & Notifications [59 pages in PDF].
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 e-Government
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 also, summary [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 Internet.
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 Reserve Board.
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. Also, Ralph de la Vega, who is currently President -- Broadband and Internet Services, will become President -- BellSouth Latin America. See, BellSouth release.
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, Dirksen Building.
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 Building.
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 hearing on

on HR 556, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, and HR 3215, the Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act. Location: Room 2237, Rayburn Building.

Deadline Extended. Deadline 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 and notice.
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 notice.