|Sen. Grassley Condemns IRS
for 2,300 Missing Computers
|1/7. Sen. Charles
Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance
Committee, sent a letter
to Mitch Daniels, Director of the Office of Management and
Budget (OMB), regarding missing computers at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The Treasury Inspector
General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report
dated November 29, 2001, titled "Management Advisory
Report: Review of Lost or Stolen Sensitive Items of Inventory
at the Internal Revenue Service". This report states that
"For the past 3 years, the IRS reported approximately
2,300 missing computers".
Sen. Grassley wrote that "the TIGTA report underscores
what appears to be a carefree attitude by the IRS about losing
computers purchased with taxpayer money -- the IRS doesn't
even know how many of the computers are lost, stolen or
damaged. Nor, does there appear to be any serious effort to
hold accountable those responsible for the missing computers.
Let me be clear that the 2,300 missing computers covers only a
"Sadly, all this from the IRS -- an agency that requires
taxpayers to show every receipt -- can't find 2,300 computers.
The IRS wouldn't accept from a taxpayer the non-answer it has
given regarding the missing 2,300 computers," wrote
"Just as a taxpayer would be held accountable for missing
receipts, so must the IRS be held accountable for missing
2,300 computers. It is my view that serious consideration
should be given to placing a limitation on the IRS' budget
until there is real improvement -- not real promises -- in
The TIGTA report states that there are "2,332 missing
laptop computers, microcomputers, and micro servers for the
past 3 years. " Furthermore, "As of September 30,
2001, the IRS reported that it had approximately 163,000
laptop computers, microcomputers, and micro servers in its
On the other hand, the TIGTA report minimizes the threat of
loss of classified data, and unauthorized access to IRS
networks. The report states that "The IRS reported that
to its knowledge, no lost or stolen computers contained
classified data. The IRS’ policy is that no classified data
be maintained on employees' computers."
The report continues that "The IRS does not use any
modems that would be termed an “internal secure modem.”
Therefore, access to IRS networks through any missing
computers is unlikely. To gain access to IRS networks or
internal database systems, one must first be able to logon to
the computer itself. This entails the use of a username and
password. Second, once into the IRS’ intranet, one would not
only have to go through an additional logon process for a
given system, but would also have to be recognized by that
system as a person authorized to gain access."
|FCC Backs Away from
Enforcing Indecency Rule
|1/8. The Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) released an order
[PDF] in which it rescinded a previous Notice of Apparent
Liability (NAL) of a radio station for broadcasting apparent
indecent music. One FCC Commissioner, Michael Copps,
criticized the retreat.
The order rescinds a NAL of radio station KKMG FM in
U.S.C. § 1464 provides that "Whoever utters any
obscene, indecent, or profane language by means of radio
communication shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
not more than two years, or both." An FCC rule, codified
at 47 C.F.R. § 73.3999, implements this prohibition. The
music lyrics at issue are reproduced in ¶ 8 of the order.
In the just released order, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau concluded
that "we disagree with our initial analysis and we now
conclude that the material at issue was not patently offensive
under contemporary community standards for the broadcast
medium. Accordingly, we conclude that the licensee did not
violate the applicable statute or our indecency rule, and that
no sanction is warranted".
Commissioner Copps issued a statement:
"On June 1, 2001, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a
Notice of Apparent Liability concerning the broadcast of an
edited version of “The Real Slim Shady.” It was a
controversial finding. Today the Bureau rescinds this finding.
In a matter of this importance, I believe the Commissioners
themselves, rather than the Bureau, should be making the
decision about whether to reverse the initial finding. Issues
of indecency on the people’s airwaves are important to
millions of Americans; they are important to me. I believe
they merit, indeed compel, Commissioner level action."
|Rep. Boucher Questions RIAA
about Copy Protection Technology
|1/4. Rep. Rick
Boucher (D-VA) sent a letter
to Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) P/CEO Hillary Rosen and IFPI
Chairman Jay Berman regarding CD and DVD copy protection, and
consumer rights under copyright law. He wrote that
"record labels have begun releasing compact discs into
the market which apparently have been designed to limit the
ability of consumers to play the discs or record on personal
computers and perhaps on other popular consumer products, such
as DVD players, video game consoles, and even some CD players,
for traditional fair-use purposes such as space
This, wrote Boucher, "may prevent or inhibit consumer
home recording using recorders and media covered by the Audio
Home Recording Act of 1992 (AHRA)."
The Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, Public Law 102-563, is
codified in Chapter 10 of the Copyright Act. See, 17
U.S.C. § 1001, et seq. It was passed in response to the
music industry's shift from the use of analog formats, such as
vinyl records and audio tapes, to the digital format of CDs.
The AHRA permits manufacturers to sell digital audio recording
technology to consumers, who can then use it to copy for
private non commercial use. In return, the AHRA sets up a
royalty fund to compensate copyright owners for losses
resulting from such use.
In particular, 17
U.S.C. § 1008 provides that "No action may be
brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright
based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a
digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording
medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording
medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of
such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings
or analog musical recordings." §§ 1003 - 1007 establish
the associated royalty payment system.
Rep. Boucher's letter also propounds five interrogatories
regarding copy protection technology. For example, he asks:
"have any discs entered the U.S. market that may not be
copied on a device or on media for which a royalty has been
paid under the AHRA?"
|Lawrence Livermore Hacker
|1/8. Benjamin Breuninger plead guilty in U.S.
District Court (NDCal) to one count of unauthorized access
of a protected computer and recklessly causing damage, in
violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(B).
The U.S. Attorneys Office stated in release
that "Breuninger admitted that, on November 3, 1999,
without authorization, he intentionally gained access to the
Lawrence Livermore National Lab's unclassified computer
network. Once he obtained access to the computer system, he
placed software programs on the system that gave him further
control of the system as well as continued access. Over the
next 10 days, he re-entered the system several times and,
among other things, downloaded budget material from the
laboratory's computer network." Sentencing is scheduled
for April 12, 2002 before Judge Lowell Jensen.
|1/8. The FCC extended the
deadline to file reply comments in its proceeding regarding cross
ownership of broadcast stations and newspapers. The new
deadline is February 15, 2002. This is MM Docket No. 01-235.
in Federal Register, January 8, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 5, at Pages
828 - 829.
1/8. The Supreme
Court heard oral argument in Festo Corporation v.
Shoketsu Kinzoku Koygo Kabushiki, No. 00-1543, a case
regarding the doctrine of equivalents in patent law.
1/8. President Bush signed HR 1,
the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, a bill pertaining to
education. See, Bush
1/8 The Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) cautioned that "filings and other
documents mailed to the Commission are being received on a
delayed basis." However, "Filings made
electronically on the Commission’s EDGAR system have not
been affected." See, SEC notice.
|People and Appointments
|1/8. Republican John Sullivan won a special
Congressional election in Oklahoma to replace Rep. Steve Largent
(R-OK), who will step down on February 15 to run for Governor
of Oklahoma. Rep. Largent is a member of the House Commerce Committee
and its Telecom and Internet Subcommittee. He has been one of
the leaders of the opposition to HR 1542, the Tauzin Dingell
bill, on the Committee. See, roll
call votes of April 26, 2001, TLJ
Daily E-Mail Alert No. 175 (April 27, 2001), and roll
call votes of May 9, 2001.
1/8. Casey Carter was named Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's
(SEC's) Office of Legislative Affairs. She is currently the
acting Director. She previously worked in legislative affairs
at the Comptroller of the Currency and the Resolution Trust
Corporation. See, SEC release.
1/8. Christi Harlan was named Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's
(SEC's) Office of Public Affairs. She was previously the
Communications Director for the Senate Committee on
Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. See, SEC release.
|Wednesday, Jan 9
|10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of
Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Fantasy
Sports v. Sportsline.com, No. 01-1217, an appeal from the
U.S. District Court (EDVa). This is a patent infringement case
Patent 4,918,603, titled "Computerized Statistical
Football Game". (D.C. No. 99-CV-2131103; opinion at F.
Supp. 2d 886 (E.D.Va. 2000).) Location: Courtroom 402, 717
Madison Place, NW, Washington DC.
10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of
Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in ManTech
Telecommunications v. US, No. 01-5090. Location: Courtroom
402, 717 Madison Place, NW, Washington DC.
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's Telecom Competition
Issues Committee will host a brown bag lunch. Michael Katz,
a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ's Antitrust
Division, and former Chief Economist of the FCC, will speak
about his observations on the similarities and differences
that characterize the two agencies' approach to competition
issues. Location: CTIA, 1250 Connecticut Ave., NW, 8th floor
conference room, Washington DC.
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's Online Communications
Committee will host a brown bag lunch. Bruce Mehlman,
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy, will
give a talk titled "Broadband, When? A View from the
Administration." RSVP to Scott Harris.
Location: Lampert & O'Connor, 5th floor, 1750 K Street,
NW, Washington DC.
|About Tech Law Journal
|Tech Law Journal publishes a free access web site and
subscription e-mail alert. The basic rate for a subscription
to the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert is $250 per year. However, there
are discounts for entities with multiple subscribers. Free one
month trial subscriptions are available. Also, free
subscriptions are available for law students, journalists,
elected officials, and employees of the Congress, courts, and
executive branch, and state officials. The TLJ web site is
free access. However, copies of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert and
news items are not published in the web site until one month
after writing. See, subscription
Contact: 202-364-8882; E-mail.
P.O. Box 4851, Washington DC, 20008.
Copyright 1998 - 2002 David Carney, dba Tech Law Journal. All