Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
January 24, 2002, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 353.
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Identity Theft is Most Common Consumer Complaint to FTC
1/23. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published data on consumer complaints in 2001. It received 204,000 complaints. Of these, the largest number (86,168, or 42% of all complaints) pertained to identity theft. Complaints pertaining to Internet auctions came in a distant second, at 10% of all complaints. In third place, 7% pertained to Internet services and computers.
In a state by state breakdown, the state or district with the highest per capita identity fraud rate was the District of Columbia (76.7 per 100,00), followed by California (44.6 per 100,000). The most common use of personal information was credit card fraud (42%), followed by phone or utilities fraud (20%), and then by bank fraud (13%). See, FTC release.
US Imposes Tariffs on Ukrainian Exports for IPR Violations
1/23. The U.S. announced that it is placing prohibitive tariffs on Ukrainian exports "because of the continued failure of the Ukrainian Parliament to enact legislation cracking down on sound recording and optical media piracy. The sanctions, which will require the payment of 100 percent duties on imports of Ukrainian metals, footwear, and other products, will offset U.S. government estimates of the amount of annual damages to the U.S. economy caused by the piracy of optical media (CDs, CD-ROMs, DVDs, etc.)."
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick stated in a release that "Today's action highlights that the United States will move forcefully to protect its rights when our trading partners do not live up to their commitments".
Sen. Grassley Calls for February Vote on TPA
1/23. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, spoke in the Senate in support of quick passage of trade promotion authority (also know as TPA, or fast track). He stated that "Trade Promotion Authority for the President is not only key to our economic recovery. It is also an important tool which helps us help other nations in the world, especially poorer countries. Trade creates jobs." He added that "The bill has strong bipartisan support. It will pass the Senate by a strong margin. That is why I am urging the majority leader to put TPA on the floor for a vote by the end of February."
Bush Wants Soldiers to Have High Tech Equipment
1/23. President Bush gave a speech to the Reserve Officers Association in Washington DC in which he said that his proposed FY 2003 budget calls for a large increase in military spending. He stated that "My '03 budget calls for more than $48 billion in new defense spending. This will be the largest increase in defense spending in the last 20 years, and it includes another pay raise for the men and women who wear the uniform." He also stated that "We will invest in more precision weapons, in missile defenses, in unmanned vehicles, in high-tech equipment for soldiers on the ground."
FBI Wants to Hire Special Agents with IT Skills
1/23. The FBI announced that it "plans to hire approximately 900 Special Agents (SAs) before September 30, 2002 and is focusing its recruitment efforts on identifying candidates for the Special Agent position who possess certain critical skills which are deemed essential to address our increasingly complex responsibilities." The first item on the FBI's list of skills is "Computer Science and other Information Technology specialities". See, FBI release.
More News
1/23. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service published a notice in the Federal Register regarding the availability of $80 Million in loans in the Broadband Pilot Loan Program for FY 2002. This loan program exists to finance the construction of facilities and systems providing broadband transmission service to rural consumers. See, Federal Register, January 23, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 15, at Pages 3140 - 3143.
1/23. World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Mike Moore gave a speech in Strasbourg, France, in which he addressed the recent meeting in Doha and the new round of trade negotiations.
NTIA Chief Addresses Broadband Policy
1/23. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) chief Nancy Victory gave a speech titled "The New Medium for a New Media?" at the Broadband Outlook 2002 Conference in Washington DC. She stated that the administration does not yet have a broadband policy. However, she offered some broad principles.
She stated that the government should facilitate the deployment of broadband, but that "wherever possible, the market, not government, should drive this deployment." She also said that "as we saw on September 11th, there are network reliability and security advantages to having a diversity of facilities based competitors." She also said that government should promote a "technology neutral paradigm", and that "the market might not always work as well or at the same pace in all areas, particularly in rural and certain urban areas."
Treasury Secretary O'Neill Addresses Japanese Economy and Communications
1/23. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill gave a speech in Tokyo, Japan, in which he advocated pro competitive reforms. He said that "Japan has tremendous resources in the diligence of its workforce and the competitiveness of the best of its firms", but that every country "goes through periods where decisive economic adjustments and changes in policy are required."
He stated that "I would also like to discuss the introduction of true price competition throughout Japanese industry. While Japan's best firms face price competition on a daily basis -- both at home and abroad -- in significant parts of the Japanese economy there are firms that owe their survival less to the creation of real economic value than to barriers and regulation. Increased price competition through deregulation and structural reform can lead to adjustments and some dislocation. However, it also creates economic opportunities and activity that will lead to a new entry by both domestic and foreign firms, increased employment, renewed growth, and a secure future."
He cited mobile communications as an example. "The telecommunications industry is a clear example of the benefits that opening up new markets to competition can bring. Freeing up entry and price competition in mobile telephone services led to a rush of investment in base station and antenna facilities, and to a skyrocketing number of cellular telephone subscribers. And, as a result of the opportunities created and the new competition introduced, NTT DoCoMo is now a world leader in mobile communications innovation."
People and Appointments
1/23. President Bush nominated 24 people to be U.S. District Court Judges. See, White House release.
1/22. Phil Bond, who is currently Undersecretary for Technology at the Department of Commerce (DOC), will also assume the role of Chief of Staff. He will replace Laurie Fenton. Prior to his appointment to the DOC, he directed federal public policy at Hewlett Packard; he also was an SVP for Government Affairs and Treasurer of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC). He has also worked as Chief of Staff to Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-WA), and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs for then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. See, DOC release and Technology Administration web site.
1/23. Linda Thomsen was named Deputy Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Enforcement. She has worked at the SEC since 1995. Before that, she worked at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell. See, SEC release.
1/23. Pepper English, BellSouth's Vice President Congressional Relations, was named to the Democratic National Committee's 2004 Site Selection Advisory Committee.
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Thursday, Jan 24
The House will meet at 10:00 AM to take up HR 1762, a bill to amend the Higher Education Act.
9:30 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing the destruction of Enron related documents by Anderson personnel. Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building.
11:00 AM. The Cato Institute will host a panel discussion titled "Eye in the Sky -- and Everywhere Else: Do Biometric Technologies Violate Our Rights?" The speakers will be Joseph Atick (Visionics Corp.), Marc Rotenberg (EPIC), Dorothy Denning (Georgetown University), and John Woodward (RAND). A lunch will follow the program. Location: Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.
12:15 PM. The FCBA's Mass Media Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The speakers will be David Solomon, Chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau, and Linda Blair, Deputy Chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau. RSVP to Location: NPR, 635 Massachusetts, Ave., NW, 1st Floor.
12:30 PM. The Computer Systems Policy Project (CSPP) will hold a press conference to outline its specific recommendations to policymakers and release a report titled "Building the Foundation of the Networked World: A Vision for 21st Century Wired and Wireless Broadband". Michael Dell (Dell), Craig Barrett (Intel), Christopher Galvin (Motorola), Lou Gerstner (IBM), Lars Nyberg (NCR), and Larry Weinbach (Unisys) are scheduled to appear. See, CSPP release. Location: First Amendment Room, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.
2:00 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on judicial nominations. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will preside. The list of nominees include Richard Leon, who has been nominated for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
Friday, Jan 25
The House will meet at 10:00 AM in pro forma session only.
9:30 AM - 1:00 PM. The National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET) will host an event titled "Measuring the Impact: A National Summit on Education Technology". This is an invitation only event. For more information, contact Brenda Kempster at 760-674-8919 or Location: U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 1615 H Street, NW.
Monday, Jan 28
Day one of the COMNET Conference & Expo. Location: Convention Center.
8:30 - 10:00 AM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a press breakfast. AEI scholars will provide as well a retrospective on the first six years under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. RSVP to Veronique Rodman at 202 862-4871 or Location: AEI, 1150 17th Street, NW, 11th Floor, Conference Room.
12:00 NOON. Deadline to submit comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) regarding the operation and effectiveness of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Basic Telecommunications Agreement, the telecommunications provisions of the NAFTA, and other telecommunications trade agreements. This request for comments is pursuant to an annual review of telecom agreements required by Section 1377. See, notice in the Federal Register.
Tuesday, Jan 29
Day two of the COMNET Conference & Expo. Location: Convention Center.
President Bush will deliver the State of the Union Address to a joint session of the Congress.
Wednesday, Jan 30
Day three of the COMNET Conference & Expo. Location: Convention Center.
8:45 AM - 3:45 PM. The NIST Advanced Technology Program Advisory Committee will hold a partially closed meeting. See, notice in Federal Register, January 15, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 10, at Page 1967. Location: NIST, Administration Building, Employees' Lounge, Gaithersburg, MD.
POSTPONED TO FEB 6. 10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The FCC's Advisory Committee for the 2003 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-03) will meet.  Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TWC305 (Commission Meeting Room). See, FCC notice of postponement [PDF].
12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's Cable Practice Committee will host a luncheon. The speaker will be Stacy Robinson, Mass Media Legal Advisor to FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy. The price to attend is $15. RSVP to Wendy Parish at Location: National Cable & Internet Association, 1724 Massachusetts Ave., NW.