Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
May 23, 2002, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 437.
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House Science Committee Approves NSF Authorization Bill
5/22. The House Science Committee amended and approved HR 4664, the Investing in America's Future Act of 2002, sponsored by Rep. Nick Smith (R-MI).
HR 4664 would authorize the appropriation of $5.5 Billion for FY 2003 for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Included in the funding authorization is $704 Million for networking and information technology research, $238 Million for the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Priority Area, and $60 Million for the Mathematical Sciences Priority Area.
The bill authorizes an increase in funding for the NSF of 15% in FY 2003, and similar increases in future years. If the funding authorized by this bill were actually appropriated, it would double the NSF's budget within five years.
Rep. Constance Morella (R-MD) stated that "If we expect the technological advances we have achieved in recent years to continue, we must fund the underpinning science and engineering more robustly. In addition, we must provide adequate resources to produce the next generation of scientists and engineers. As the premier supporter of the overall scientific enterprise, the NSF has the ability to balance the research and education dollars needed to achieve both of these goals".
See, HR 4664 [PDF], as reported by the Subcommittee on Research on May 9. The full Committee approved one amendment [PDF] on May 22 offered by Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY). It authorizes the appropriation of $50 Million for the Advanced Technological Education Program established under the Scientific and Advanced Technology Act of 1992, and $30 Million for the Minority Serving Institutions Undergraduate Program.
House Science Committee Approves Tech Talent Bill
5/22. The House Science Committee amended and approved HR 3130, the Undergraduate Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Improvement Act, which is also known as the Technology Talent Act.
HR 3130 would authorize the appropriation of $25 Million for FY 2002 for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a grant program. It provides that the NSF "is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis to institutions of higher education with science, mathematics, engineering, or technology programs to enable the institutions to increase the number of students studying and receiving associates or bachelor's degrees in established or emerging fields within science, mathematics, engineering, and technology."
It is sponsored by Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), the Chairman of the Committee, and Rep. John Larson (D-CT). Rep. Larson stated that "The pipeline which connects our country's economic and security needs with talented young minds is broken. This bill will help repair that pipeline by spurring the interest of our youth in pursuing fields that will propel both technological innovation and the future growth of our economy."
See, HR 3130 [PDF] as approved by the Subcommittee on Research on May 9. On May 22, the full Committee approved an amendment [PDF] offered by Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) that requires the NSF to establish a grant program for minority serving institutions. The Committee also approved an amendment [PDF] offered by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) that directs the NSF to "strive to increase the number of students receiving baccalaureate degrees, concentrations, or certifications in the physical or information sciences, mathematics, engineering, or technology who come from groups underrepresented in these fields", including women. Finally, the Committee approved an amendment [PDF] offered by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) that amends the Scientific and Advanced Technology Act of 1992.
House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Whois Database
5/22. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property held a hearing titled "The Accuracy and Integrity of the Whois Database".
Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), the Chairman of the Subcommittee, said in his opening statement that "The Whois Database refers to a series of information directories providing the identity of a website’s origin or operator. Regrettably, the Internet all too often is a crime scene and is riddled with bogus domain registration information leaving law enforcement at a loss to protect the public."
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee, said in his opening statement that the Internet "has proven invaluable as a tool for fraud, pormography, and piracy. These crimes are exacerbated by fraudulent contact information in a domain name registration -- without accurate information, it is difficult for law enforcement officials to trace the perpetrator of a crime, and it is difficult for a consumer to make an informed decision about the integrity of a particular web site."
On May 2, 2002, Reps. Coble and Berman introduced HR 4640, a bill to amend the criminal code to provide that "Whoever knowingly and with intent to defraud provides material and misleading false contact information to a domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other domain name registration authority in registering a domain name shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both".
Howard Beales, Director of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Consumer Protection Bureau, wrote in his prepared testimony that "Internet fraud enforcement efforts require quick identification of problems, quick identification of perpetrators, and the ability to gather information about international entities and organizations. Accurate Whois data is essential to these efforts, and inaccurate data can significantly frustrate them."
See also, prepared testimony of other witnesses: Michael Palage, Cameron Powell, and Steven Metalitz.
DC Circuit Rules in ACS of Anchorage v. FCC
5/21. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion in ACS of Anchorage v. FCC, a case regarding regulatory classifications of calls to Internet service providers (ISPs).
ACS is the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) in Anchorage, Alaska. ACS classified ISP related traffic as interstate for the purpose of apportioning costs, which had the effect of increasing its reported interstate costs, thereby making its expected rate of return lower than it otherwise would have been. General Communications, Inc. (GCI) filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) alleging, among other things, that ACS had improperly calculated its interstate costs by treating ISP calls as interstate, and had violated its proscribed rate of return. The FCC issued an order, siding with GCI. It found that ACS exceeded its permissible rate of return, and directed ACS to pay damages.
ACS filed a petition for review with the Appeals Court, raising three issues, including the ISP calls classification issue. (ACS also argued that the FCC erred in failing to treat its 47 U.S.C. § 204(a)(3) tariff filings as a bar to damages; it also contested the rate selected for prejudgment interest.)
ACS argued that since the FCC has found that ISP calls are interstate for jurisdictional purposes under its end to end analysis in a proceeding regarding reciprocal compensation, it should also find that ISP calls are interstate for the purpose of apportioning costs (separations) between interstate and intrastate communications. However, the Appeals Court wrote that while "generally speaking, separations will follow jurisdiction", in this case, "practical considerations may justify divergent treatment -- at least temporarily". The Appeals Court held that the FCC's classification was not arbitrary or capricious, and hence, denied the petition for review on this issue.
See also, FCC's Order on Remand and Report and Order [PDF], In the Matter of Implementation of the Local Competition Provisions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 Intercarrier Compensation for ISP-Bound Traffic (CC Docket Nos. 96-98 and 99-68), adopted April 18, 2001.
The Appeals Court did, however, grant the petition for review on the Section 204 issue, and remanded on the prejudgment interest issue.
Groups Write European Parliament Re Electronic Privacy
5/22. A collection of groups wrote a letter to members of the European Parliament regarding the proposed European Union Directive on the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector.
They wrote that "We urge you to vote against general and exploratory data retention of individuals' electronic communications by law enforcement authorities. We recommend that you vote in favour of the position on Article 15(1) of the European Parliament Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs (the "LIBE Committee"). .We strongly recommend that you do not vote for any amendment on Article 15 that would leave EU Member States governments free to decide on the fundamental issue of data retention."
The signatories include the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), and others.
People and Appointments
5/22. California Governor Gray Davis announced the appointments of Amy Hogue, Gregory Keosian, and Charles Palmer as Judges of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Hogue is a partner in the Los Angeles office of the law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop. She practices in the areas of intellectual property and media. She has represented NBC, CBS and ABC and book and magazine publishers in defamation and invasion of privacy actions. She has also handled cases involving trade secrets, copyrights, privacy rights, employment disputes, breach of contract, fraud and business torts.
5/22. Kris Anne Monteith has been named Associate Bureau Chief for Intergovernmental Affairs in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB). She has worked for the FCC since 1997. Before that she worked for the law firms of McDermott Will & Emery and Keller and Heckman. See, FCC release [PDF].
More News
5/22. The Arizona Corporation Commission approved the last of the 14 federal checklist items necessary for Qwest's entry into the long distance market in Arizona. Qwest announced that it "plans to file its application to offer long distance service in Arizona with the FCC within the next few weeks". See, Qwest release.
5/22. The Senate may vote on final passage of trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation on Thursday, May 22. On Wednesday morning, President Bush gave a brief speech just before he left on his trip to Europe. He stated that "I hope the United States Senate finishes debate on the trade promotion authority and passes the bill. It's going to be important for our friends around the world to see this commitment to trade. Trade is in the interests of our workers. Trade is in the interests of job creation. And trade is in the interests of developing nations as well as developed nations. And so I want to thank those in the United States Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, who have worked hard on this bill. I hope they finish the debate and pass this important legislation. It'll be a strong positive message." The House passed its TPA bill, HR 3005, on December 7, 2001.
5/21. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) introduced S 2537, a bill to facilitate the creation of a new, second level Internet domain within the U.S. country code domain that provides access only to material that is suitable for minors and not harmful to minors. The bill was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee, of which both Sen. Dorgan and Sen. Ensign are members. The House passed its version of this bill, HR 3833, the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002, on May 21 by a vote of 406-2. 
Thursday, May 23
The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business.
9:30 - 11:45 AM. The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the FTC will hold another in their series of hearings on antitrust and intellectual property. This event is titled "An International Comparative Law Perspective on the Relationship Between Competition and Intellectual Property, Part II". For more information, contact Derick Rill (FTC Office of Public Affairs) at 202 326-2472 or Susan DeSanti (FTC Policy Planning Division) at 202 326-2167. See, FTC notice. Location: Room 432, FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a business meeting. The agenda includes a vote on Brooks Smith to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (held over from last week), and consideration of S 1989, The National Cyber Security Defense Team Authorization Act. See, agenda. Press contact: Mimi Devlin at 202 224-9437. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
12:00 NOON. The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will host a panel discussion of online pormography, the Children's Online Protection Ac, and the National Academy of Science's report to Congress titled "Youth, Pormography, and the Internet." The speakers will be Jerry Berman (Center for Democracy and Technology), Donna Hughes, Larry Magid (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children), Robin Raskin. Lunch will be served. RSVP to rsvp or call Danielle at 202 638-4370. Location: Room HC-5, Capitol Building.
2:00 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on pending judicial nominations: Lavenski Smith (to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit), Henry Autrey (U.S. District Court, E.D. Missouri), Richard Dorr (U.S.D.C., W.D. Missouri), Amy St. Eve (U.S.D.C., N.D. Illinois), Henry Hudson (U.S.D.C., E.D. Virginia), and Timothy Savage (U.S.D.C., E.D. Pennsylvania). See, agenda. Press contact: Mimi Devlin at 202 224-9437. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
2:15 PM. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a business meeting to consider many items, including the nomination of David Gross to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Communications and Information Policy in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy. Location: Room 419, Dirksen Building.
Day one of a two day conference titled "The Forrester Telecom Summit: The Impact Of Displacement". See, conference web site. For more information, contact events or 1 888 343-6786. Location: Grand Hyatt Washington.
Friday, May 24
The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business. No votes expected after 2:00 PM.
Monday, May 27
Memorial Day. The House and Senate will not be in session from Monday, May 27 through Friday, May 31, for the Memorial Day District Work Period. The FCC will be closed. The National Press Club will be closed. The Library of Congress will be closed.
Wednesday, May 29
9:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The U.S. International Telecommunication Advisory Committee, which advises the Department of State on policy and technical issues with respect to the International Telecommunication Union, will meet to prepare for the June 2002 meeting of the Telecommunication Sector Advisory Group.
1:00 - 3:00 PM. The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology will host a presentation by Peter Stanforth of MeshNetworks. He will discuss self forming, self healing mesh topology as the alternative to today's star topology cellular systems. See, FCC notice. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th St., SW.
Thursday, May 30
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM. The FCC's Public Safety National Coordination Committee will hold a series of meetings. The Interoperability Subcommittee will meet from 9:00 - 11:30 AM. The Technology Subcommittee will meet from 12:30 - 3:00 PM. The Implementation Subcommittee will meet from 3:00 - 5:30 PM. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th St., SW.
12:00 NOON. The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will host a panel discussion titled "Speeding Broadband Deployment By Balancing of Rights of Way Interests". The speakers will be Marilyn Praisner (Montgomery County Council), Robert Nelson (Michigan PSC), Martin Stern (I-ROW), and Sandy Wilson (Cox Enterprises). Lunch will be served. RSVP to rsvp or call Danielle at 202 638-4370. Location: Room HC-5, Capitol.
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