Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
May 3, 2002, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 424.
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House Commerce Committee Approves Bill to Delay Spectrum Auction
5/2. The House Commerce Committee approved HR 4560, the Auction Reform Act of 2002, without amendment, by a voice vote. This bill would eliminate the deadlines for spectrum auctions of spectrum in the 700 megahertz band previously allocated to television broadcasting. These are auctions 31 and 44 scheduled for June 19, 2002.
Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans wrote a letter to Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, on May 2 to again express his support for the bill. He wrote that "I am writing to support legislation being considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee that would postpone the Federal Communications Commission's auctions of spectrum in the 700 MHz band. The Administration believes that, until more certainty exists about the means for and timing of clearing this spectrum, an auction of the Upper and Lower 700 MHz bands would be premature and contrary to the public interest."
He added that "in late February, the Administration transmitted to Congress proposed legislation that would, among other things, postpone the statutory deadlines for the auctions of spectrum currently assigned to television channels 60-69 (747-762 MHz and 777-792 MHz) and 52-59 (698-746 MHz). As recognized in that proposal, a shift of the auction deadlines is needed to provide the time necessary to resolve existing uncertainties about when and how this spectrum will be cleared and ready for the deployment of new services."
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the Committee, said in his prepared statement that "Back in 1997, and again in 2000, over this Committee's objections, the Budget Committees commandeered the management of the Nation's airwaves. They set auction deadlines that were asinine, constituting a gross mismanagement of spectrum. Today we take back the reins and restore rationality to the process. Without question, moving forward with these auctions in June would impose a heavy price on the American public. Until the FCC develops a cohesive spectrum management plan -- taking into account the uncertainties of the digital television transition and the creation of a workable band plan for third generation ("3G") wireless services -- we have very little idea what these frequencies are worth or for what they would be used. More importantly, neither do the potential bidders. The likely result would be another auction debacle."
The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) praised the vote. See, release.
Senators Introduce Spectrum Auction Delay Bill
5/2. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) introduced the Spectrum Auction Reform Act of 2002. This is the Senate companion bill to HR 4560, which passed the House Commerce Committee on May 2. Both Ensign and Kerry are members of the Senate Commerce Committee.
Sen. Ensign stated in a release that "This bill will delay the ill timed, premature auction of spectrum that is already occupied and not ready for commercial use". Sen. Kerry stated that "To proceed with the auction at this time would be a terrible example of budget politics taking precedence over sound spectrum management".
Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Nominees
5/2. The Senate Judiciary Committee held an executive business meeting to consider several judicial nominees. The Committee approved the nominations of Julia Gibbons (to be a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit), Leonard Davis (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas),  Andrew Hanen (USDC, SDTexas), Samuel Mays (USDC, WDTenn), and Thomas Rose (USDC, SDOhio). These nominees still require confirmation by the full Senate. In addition, the nomination of David Godbey (USDC, NDTexas), which was on the agenda, was held over.
Senate Judiciary Committee Postpones Vote on Bills
5/2. The Senate Judiciary Committee held an executive business meeting. The agenda included mark up of several technology, intellectual property and privacy related bills, including S 2031, the Intellectual Property Protection Restoration Act of 2002, S 848, the Social Security Number Misuse Prevention Act of 2001, and S 1742, the Restore Your Identity Act of 2001. All three were held over -- again. 
House Subcommittee Approves Bill Affecting Reports on Wiretap Orders and Requests
5/2. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Internet and Intellectual Property approved HR 4125, the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 2002. Section 104 of the bill would affect the timing of judges' reports regarding the expiration or wiretap orders, or denial of requests for wiretap orders. The Subcommittee approved one amendment that did not pertain to wiretaps.
18 U.S.C. 2519 pertains to reports concerning intercepted wire, oral, or electronic communications. Currently, this section begins, "(1) Within thirty days after the expiration of an order (or each extension thereof) entered under section 2518, or the denial of an order approving  an interception, the issuing or denying judge shall report to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts--". The statute then lists the information that must be reported.
HR 4125 would change this language to read as follows: "(1) In January of each year, any judge who has issued an order (or extension thereof) under section 2518 which expired during the preceding year or who has denied approval of an interception during that year, shall report to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts--". HR 4125 would not affect the information that must be reported.
State Department in Cyber Security Talks in India
4/30. Lincoln Bloomfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, held a press conference in New Delhi, India, at which he addressed cyber security. Bloomfield traveled to New Delhi for the inaugural session of the Indo US Cyber Security Forum. See, transcript.
He stated that "These talks marked the start of what will be a regular relationship between India and the US on cyber security." He said that the U.S. is also engaged in cyber security "dialogues with a number of our closest friends and partners in the economic sphere. It is quite appropriate that we should come to New Delhi insofar as India's presence in the international cyber environment and in the global market is significant and is destined to grow quite substantially."
In addition, Bloomfield addressed the U.S. response to cyber threats generally. "Cyber security is a relative newcomer to the bureaucratic environment in Washington and it is clearly an outgrowth of the phenomenal proliferation of computers and information technology and the Internet. The organizations represented on the US delegation in the last two days in the main did not exist very few years ago. Now we find that our own government bureaucracy, our defense and intelligence establishments must guard its information infrastructure against all manner of cyber threats. In addition, most of the critical infrastructure in the United States is not government owned or government operated. It belongs to the private sector, the financial markets in particular, and the entire range of corporations and small businesses. So, in the United States, the government needs to enlist the cooperation of the private sector to work collegially for their own mutual benefit."
House Committee Holds Hearing on Government Purchase Cards
5/1. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing titled "Oversight and Management of the Government Purchase Card Program".
The General Accounting Office (GAO) provided testimony [PDF] in which it stated that "The use of purchase cards has dramatically increased in past years as agencies have sought to eliminate the bureaucracy and paperwork long associated with making small purchases. The benefits of using purchase cards are lower costs and less red tape for both the government and the vendor community."
The GAO also found that Department of Education employees "purchased computers using their purchase cards, which was a violation of Education's policy prohibiting the use of purchase cards for this purpose." The GAO added that "several of the computers that were purchased with purchase cards were not entered in property records, and we could not locate them."
Jury Returns Verdict for Adobe in Patent Suit Against Macromedia
5/2. A jury of the U.S. District Court (DDel) returned a verdict in Adobe v. Macromedia in favor of Adobe Systems. In August 2000, Adobe filed a complaint against Macromedia in federal court in Delaware alleging infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 5,546,528, titled "Method of displaying multiple sets of information in the same area of a computer screen". The jury found willful infringement, and awarded damages of $2,822,280.
Bryan Lamkin, SVP of Adobe's graphics business unit, stated in a release that "We are very pleased with the verdict, ... We've maintained all along that Macromedia infringes this patent. While we would have preferred to settle this issue out of court, we are satisfied that the validity of this key innovation has been upheld."
Macromedia stated in a release that it "filed counterclaims of patent infringement in response to Adobe's lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Delaware in September 2000. Macromedia will be presenting its case as it relates to its patents beginning on Monday, May 6, 2002. In October 2001, Macromedia brought a patent infringement suit against Adobe in the Northern District of California relating to additional patents that Macromedia believes that Adobe infringes."
On October 19, 2001, Macromedia filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against Adobe alleging infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 5,845,299, titled "Draw based editor for web pages" and its U.S. Patent No. 5,911,145, titled "Hierarchical structure editor for web sites".
Identity Theft News
5/2. Several U.S. Attorneys Offices (USAOs) have issued statements publicizing recent arrests and charges that are part of a nation wide sweep of identity thieves.
The USAO for the Eastern District of California announced in a release [PDF] that it has obtained four indictments as a part of "73 criminal prosecutions against 134 individuals in 24 federal judicial districts around the country." The USAO for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced in a release [PDF] that it has brought two cases as a part of "50 criminal prosecutions against 64 individuals in 20 districts in an unprecedented, nationwide crackdown on identity theft." See also, release of the USAO for the District of Massachusetts.
Representatives Introduce Drivers License Modernization Act
5/1. Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) introduced HR 4633, the Driver's License Modernization Act of 2002. This bill would establish standards for state programs for the issuance of drivers' licenses and identification cards. It was referred to the House Transportation Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, and the House Science Committee.
Rep. Moran stated in a release that the bill would "Ensure drivers' licenses would be more foolproof by including a biometric feature -- such as a retinal scan or finger print -- on an encrypted smart chip embedded on the drivers' licenses."
He stated also that it would "Require states motor vehicle departments' databases to be linked, thereby allowing one state's motor vehicle department to verify the identity of an individual from another state applying for a driver's license."
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) stated in its web site that this bill "would establish a National ID system in America".
People and Appointments
5/2. Rep. James Barcia (D-MI) announced that he will not run for re-election to the House of Representatives. He is the ranking Democrat on the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on the Environment, Technology, and Standards, which has jurisdiction over technology programs at the Department of Commerce, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Redistricting has placed him in the same district as another Democratic incumbent. The next in line for ranking Democrat on this subcommittee would be Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-MI), who is in a tough re-election battle against Rep. John Dingell (D-MI). The Republican Michigan state legislature placed them in one district also. The next in line to be the top Democrat on the Technology Subcommittee would be Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) from Silicon Valley, who has a safe seat.
5/2. California Governor Gray Davis announced his appointment of Fresno County Superior Court Judge Gene Gomes as an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District (Fresno). 
More News
5/1. Hewlett Packard issued a release in which it stated that "the independent Inspectors of Election, representatives of IVS Associates, Inc., have issued their final Inspectors of Election report with respect to the special meeting of shareowners held on March 19, 2002. According to the report, there were 838,401,376 shares of HP common stock voted for the proposal to approve the issuance of shares of HP common stock in connection with the merger transaction with Compaq Computer Corporation (NYSE:CPQ), 793,094,105 shares voted against the proposal and 13,950,651 shares abstained. Based on this report, HP confirms that the proposal has passed in accordance with New York Stock Exchange requirements. HP expects to close the deal on May 3, 2002. The launch of the new HP will take place on May 7, 2002."
5/2. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice in the Federal Register which summarizes the FCC's Order on Remand regarding implementation of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), 47 U.S.C. 1001, et seq. The FCC adopted its Third Report and Order on September 24, 1999 requiring that wireline, cellular, and broadband PCS carriers implement all electronic surveillance capabilities of the J-STD-025, or J-Standard, and six additional capabilities requested by the FBI known as the punch list. This Third Report and Order was challenged. On August 15, 2001, the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion in USTA v. FCC, 227 F. 3d 450, remanding four items to the FCC. This Federal Register notice summarizes the Order on Remand. The FCC adopted this order on April 5, 2002, and released it on April 11, 2002. This is CC Docket No. 97-213. See, Federal Register, May 2, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 85, Page 21999 - 22008.
5/1. The U.S. District Court (DNJ) sentenced David Smith to serve 20 months in federal prison. He previously plead guilty to violation of 18 U.S.C 1030(a)(5)(A) and 2 in connection with his having unleashed the Melissa computer virus in 1999, which caused damage to computers and computer networks. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $5,000 and perform 200 hours of community work service. See, CCIPS release.
5/2. The House Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management, and Intergovernmental Relations held a hearing on HR 3844, the Federal Information Security Reform Act of 2002. General Accounting Office (GAO) provided testimony [PDF] titled "Information Security: Additional Actions Needed to Fully Implement Reform Legislation". See, also, prepared testimony of Benjamin Wu, Deputy Under Secretary for Technology at the Department of Commerce.
5/2. The National Research Council announced that it has published for sale a book titled "Youth, Pormography and the Internet".
Friday, May 3
The House will not be in session.
9:15 AM. USPTO Director James Rogan will speak at the Licensing Executives Society Spring Meeting. He will address his plans for the agency and his work with the WIPO to reduce costs for American patent owners in obtaining and preserving their IP rights abroad. See, USPTO release. Press contact: Brigid Quinn at 703 305-8341 or brigid.quinn Location: The Mayflower Hotel, Grand Ballroom, 1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW.
9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in Trans Union v. FTC, No. 01-5202. This is a consolidated action for review of the FTC's rules implementing the privacy provisions of the Gramm Leach Bliley Act. The other defendants are the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and SEC. The other plaintiff is Individual Reference Services Group. Judges Edwards, Henderson and Garland will preside. This case is listed first on the Court's agenda. The Court has scheduled 30 minutes per side. The FTC's attorneys on this case are Michael Bergman, Lawrence Wagman, and John Daly. Location: 333 Constitution Ave. NW.
9:30 AM - 3:30 PM. The FCC will host a public forum and technology expo on Telecommunications Relay Service. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C305 (Commission Meeting Room).
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. The FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau will host a public forum and technology expo on the Telecommunications Relay Service. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th St., SW.
Extended deadline to submit comments to the FCC in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled "In the Matter of Appropriate Framework for Broadband Access to the Internet over Wireline Facilities". This is CC Docket No. 02-33. See, Order [PDF] extending deadline from April 15 to May 3. See also, original notice in Federal Register.
Monday, May 6
Deadline to submit requests to attend or participate in the Copyright Office's (CO) public roundtable discussion concerning "issues raised in the course of an ongoing rulemaking proceeding to adopt requirements for giving copyright owners reasonable notice of the use of their works for sound recordings under the section 114 and 112 statutory licenses and for how records of such use shall be kept and made available to copyright owners." See, notice in Federal Register.
Tuesday, May 7
9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the Memorandum of Agreement between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division regarding division of responsibility for merger reviews. Press contact: Andy Davis 224-6654. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
12:00 NOON. The Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus will host a luncheon. The speaker will be Marty Cooper, inventor of the portable cellular telephone and CEO or ArrayComm. RSVP to or Danielle Wiblemo at 202 638-4370. Location: Reserve Officers Association.
1:30 to 3:30 PM. The State Department's International Telecommunication Advisory Committee, Radiocommunication Sector (ITAC-R) will hold a meeting. The ITAC advises the State Department on policy, technical and operational issues with respect to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This meeting will address preparations for the ITU-R World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03). See, notice in Federal Register. Location: Department of State, Dean Acheson Auditorium. 
Wednesday, May 8
9:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) System Oversight Committee will meet. See, notice in Federal Register. Location: NCS conference room, 2nd floor, 701 South Court House Road, Arlington, VA.
9:30 AM. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to examine infrastructure security, focusing on private public information sharing. Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The FCBA's International Practice Committee will host a roundtable discussion with David Gross, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Communications and Information Policy, U.S. Department of State. RSVP to Maggie McBride at 202 719-7101. Location: Wiley Rein & Fielding, 1750 K Street, NW.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing regarding reform of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
Extended deadline to submit comments to the FCC in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Rules and Policies Concerning Multiple Ownership of Radio Broadcast Stations in Local Markets Definition of Radio Markets". This is MM Docket Nos. 01-317 and 00-244. See, FCC release [PDF].
Thursday, May 9
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Research will hold a hearing on HR ___, the National Science Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2002. Press contact: Heidi Tringe at Heidi.Tringe or 202 225-4275. Webcast. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Research will meet to mark up HR 3130, the Technology Talent Act of 2001 (immediately following the hearing on the NSF reauthorization bill). This bill would authorized grants to be awarded on a competitive basis to institutions of higher education to increase the number of students studying and receiving associates or bachelor's degrees in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. Press contact: Heidi Tringe at Heidi.Tringe or 202 225-4275. Webcast. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.
Deadline to pre-register to attend the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Advanced Technology Program (ATP) Advisory Committee meeting on May 14. The agenda includes a discussion on universities and R&D technology issues, a presentation on In-Q-Tel (the CIA's Silicon Valley venture capital group), an update on the ATP competition, and a presentation on the ATP Computer Based Software Focus Program. Submit your name, time of arrival, e-mail address and phone number to Carolyn Stull at carolyn.stull or 301 975-5607. See, notice in Federal Register.
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