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January 21, 2003, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 587.
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Sen. Burns Announces Tech Agenda
1/15. Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), the incoming Chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee, announced his top technology related priorities for the 108th Congress. He stated in a release that his highest priorities are bills pertaining to spam, spectrum reform, and E-911. His other priorities include broadband expensing, ICANN reform, wireless privacy, online privacy, universal service reform, digital democracy, and the US Asia Network.

He stated that "This is a robust agenda, but also very realistic. We are already well underway in building a consensus within Committee that will lead to swift passage of many of these priorities." Sen. Burns also sponsored a collection of technology related bills in the 106th Congress, which he called the "Digital Dozen". Many of those bills became law.

Spam. Sen. Burns (at right) said that "SPAM is the Trojan Horse for E-Commerce. When consumers begin to feel their personal information has become a commodity for out-of-control marketers they will turn away from shopping online." See, release.

He sponsored a bill in the 107th Congress to regulate spam. S 630, titled the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2002, or the CANSPAM Act, was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, but not by the full Senate. He has not yet introduced a spam bill in the 108th Congress.

His bill in the 107th Congress would have done two things. First, it criminalized sending spam with false header information. Second, it required the spam sender to provide a return e-mail address, and then criminalized sending more spam to someone who opted out of receiving further messages.

Specifically, S 630 provided that "Any person who initiates the transmission, to a protected computer in the United States, of an unsolicited commercial electronic mail message, with knowledge and intent that the message contains or is accompanied by header information that is materially false or materially misleading shall be fined or imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both, under this title."

It also provided that "It is unlawful for any person to initiate the transmission to a protected computer of an unsolicited commercial electronic mail message that does not contain a functioning return electronic mail address or other Internet-based mechanism, clearly and conspicuously displayed, that (i) a recipient may use to submit, in a manner specified by the sender, a reply electronic mail message or other form of Internet-based communication requesting not to receive any future unsolicited commercial electronic mail messages from that sender at the electronic mail address where the message was received ..."

And finally, S 630 provided that "If a recipient makes a request to a sender, using a mechanism provided pursuant to paragraph (3), not to receive some or any unsolicited commercial electronic mail messages from such sender, then it is unlawful (A) for the sender to initiate the transmission to the recipient ..."

Sen. Burns stated that "I am confident America will see the SPAM bill leave the Senate before the summer."

Spectrum Allocation. Sen. Burns stated that he "is committed to moving away from the failed current auction model, which has resulted in numerous bankruptcies at companies and failed promises for consumers", and "will examine potentially revolutionary ideas, such as using a royalty based approach."

He has not yet introduced a spectrum reform bill. However, he added that he "will work on a draft bill as soon as the second half of the GAO report is released at the end of this month dealing with the experiences of other countries."

The General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report [77 pages in PDF] titled "Telecommunications: Better Coordination and Enhanced Accountability Needed to Improve Spectrum Management", on September 30, 2002. See, story titled "GAO Reports on Spectrum Management", in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 520, October 1, 2002.

E-911. Sen. Burns, who sponsored the original enhanced 911 bill, which became law in 1999, stated that he plans to "ensure rapid deployment of E-911 technologies, addressing PSAP readiness, and the lack of a unified funding structure in addition to carrier action on meeting E-911 mandates."

He also stated that a new E-911 Caucus is scheduled to begin on February 24. He and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will be the Co-Chairs.

Broadband Expensing. Sen. Burns, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), and others, have already introduced S 160, the Broadband Expensing Act. This bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow the expensing of certain broadband Internet access expenditures. It is similar to S 88 (107th), the bill introduced in the previous Congress by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). However, Sen. Burns' bill would allow certain broadband deployment expenditures to be expensed, rather than provide tax credits. See, story below.

Online Privacy. Sen. Burns has promoted -- unsuccessfully -- privacy legislation in the past. He stated that in the current Congress he will "continue to support strong protections for consumers in the digital environment." He stated that his proposal, which has not yet been introduced, "adopts a ``two-tiered创 approach, requiring an opt-in consent for sensitive information and opt-out for everything else. The bill also preempts inconsistent state laws or regulations."

Sen. Burns and Sen. Baucus Introduce Broadband Expensing Bill
1/14. Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) introduce S 160, the Broadband Expensing Act, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow the expensing of certain broadband Internet access expenditures.

Sen. Burns is the incoming Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications. This is a tax bill. Hence, it was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. However, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), who is a cosponsor of the bill, is the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a senior Republican on the Finance Committee, is another cosponsor.

Sen. Burns stated in the Senate that his bill would "provide tax incentives to accelerate the deployment of ``broadband创 high-speed Internet access across the country." See, Cong. Record, Jan. 14, 2003, at S 302-3.

He continued that "Although many urban and suburban areas now have access to a broadband connection, many rural areas still do not. And that places rural areas at a disadvantage in a number of ways in terms of economic development, educational opportunities, health care and numerous other applications. By creating a financial incentive to encourage broadband providers to extend their networks into rural and other underserved areas, we can help overcome that disadvantage."

Sen. Burns also explained the expensing provision of his bill. "The bill will create a temporary tax incentive for providers in the form of ``expensing,创 allowing an immediate deduction of a capital expenditure in the first year of service rather than depreciating that investment over time. In the case of ``current generation创 broadband investments in rural and underserved areas, the bill will allow 50 percent expensing of the investment, with the rest to be depreciated according to normal depreciation schedules. And where providers build out ``next generation创 broadband networks, which are typically more expensive, the bill will provide for 100 percent expensing."

He continued that "it provides 50 percent expensing for investments in rural and underserved areas of ``current generation创 broadband technologies, which are defined as those delivering at least 1.0 megabits per second of information downstream to the subscriber, and at least 128 kilobits per second upstream from the subscriber."

"It provides 100 percent expensing for investments in ``next generation创 broadband technologies, which are defined as those delivering at least 22 megabits per second of information downstream to the subscriber, and at least 5 megabits per second upstream from the subscriber. It is technology neutral, it makes no difference if you are using as your medium copper wire, coaxial cable, optical fiber, terrestrial wireless, satellite or something else. If you deliver the threshold speeds, you are eligible for the benefit. And it sunsets in 5 years. The intent is not to provide a permanent benefit to the telecom sector, but rather to provide incentive to build out new infrastructure within a short time period", said Sen. Burns.

Sen. Burns also said that his bill "generally mirrors the broadband tax credit legislation" that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced in the 107th Congress. See, S 88 (107th) and HR 267 (107th). Sen. Burns added that "The only difference in that bill and the one we are introducing today is the form of the incentive, expensing rather than tax credits." Rep. Phil English (R-PA), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced HR 267 earlier this month. It is substantially identical to HR 267 in the 107th Congress, and S 88 (107th).

Sen. Max BaucusSen. Baucus (at right) also spoke in the Senate in support of the bill. He said that "The Broadband Expensing Act will allow businesses to depreciate their capital investment quicker, allowing them to deploy next generation networks at a faster pace. In short, the benefits are two-fold: businesses will benefit by receiving an incentive to roll out their network into rural areas. And customers will benefit by being able to send and receive massive amounts of data much faster than before." See, Cong. Record, Jan. 14, 2003, at S303.

Sen. Baucus also said that this bill will "help us move to the ``next generation创 of broadband state of the art systems that carry much greater amounts of data than copper wire and coaxial cable."

Sen. Orrin Hatch also spoke in support of the bill. He said that "Our major metropolitan areas, of course, have access to high-speed Internet services. But the connections to most homes and many businesses have not been upgraded, meaning that data signals hit a bottleneck there and slow down dramatically. Consequently, many wonderful Internet applications, such as video conferencing, large file sharing, telemedicine, and distance learning, are ineffective or unavailable. And this is certainly true outside the metropolitan areas of Utah, in the rural communities that are found all over the State." See, Cong. Record, Jan. 14, 2003, at S303-4.

More News
1/15. Qwest filed Section 271 applications with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide in region interLATA services in the states of South Dakota, Oregon and New Mexico. See, release.

1/16. Qwest filed Section 271 applications with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide in region interLATA services in the states of Michigan and Nevada. See, Michigan release and Nevada release.

1/16. The Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) announced its agenda for 2003. It includes six issues: "1. the protection of intellectual property  2. increased deployment of broadband  3. the removal of barriers to e-commerce 4. 21st Century competition policy  5. effective trade policy and fair  6. growth-oriented fiscal policy". See, release.

People and Appointments
1/20. Pete Yost of the Associated Press wrote a story about Nancy Victory (at right), head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which states that she "allowed wireless phone company lobbyists to help pay for a private reception at her home, and then 10 days later urged a policy change that benefited their industry". See, for example, story in Newsday, story in the Washington Post and story in the Wall Street Journal Online (requires subscription).

1/21. David Barron was named Assistant VP Federal Relations / National Security in BellSouth's Washington DC, Governmental Affairs office.

1/16. Dick Parsons was named Chairman and CEO of AOL Time Warner. See, release.

Sen. Edwards Introduces Federal Cyber Security Bill
1/16. Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) introduced S 187, the National Cyber Security Leadership Act of 2003, a bill pertaining to federal government cyber security.

Sen. John EdwardsSen. Edwards (at right) stated that this bill would "establish higher standards for Federal Government computer safety. The National Institute of Standards and Technology would establish the standards after individual agencies conduct comprehensive tests of their network systems and report on their weaknesses. These procedures will strengthen our government's resistance to cyber attacks and will demonstrate to the business community the tremendous value in conducting comprehensive security tests and monitoring new developments." See, Cong. Record, Jan. 16, 2003, at S1079.

He also elaborated on the need for the bill. He said that "I introduce this bill because our Nation's computers and networks are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks." He then discussed the Nimda and Code Red attacks.

He then added that "According to cyber security experts, Federal computers have already been used as weapons in large scale cyber attack. There aren't just amateur teenage hackers. Terrorists, including al Qaeda operatives, have browsed Internet sites offering software that would help them take down power, water, transport and communications grids."

Finally, he stated that "One of the principal reasons that companies do not act to secure their systems is that the Federal Government does not act to secure its own systems. Unfortunately, Federal agencies continue to be among the worst offenders failing to protect themselves against cyber attack."

The bill was referred to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

Tuesday, January 21
10:00 AM. The Senate will meet, and resume consideration of HJRes 2, making further appropriations for FY 2003.

12:00 NOON. The Federalist Society will host a press conference titled "Federalism, Preemption & the Supreme Court". For more information, contact Julie Walker at 202 822-8138. Location: Holeman Lounge, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

12:30 PM. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) will speak at a National Press Club (NPC) luncheon. Location: Ballroom, NPC, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

Wednesday, January 22
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. The North American Numbering Council will hold a meeting. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW.

11:00 AM. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold a press conference to announce its Consumer Sentinel State Trends Report, which includes the top ten fraud complaint categories and fraud and identity theft complaint trends. See, FTC notice. Location: FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Room 432.

5:00 PM. The FCBA's Diversity Committee and Young Lawyers Committee will host a Law School Outreach Program at the University of Baltimore for law students interested in practicing communications law.

6:00 - 8:00 PM. The FCBA will host a CLE seminar titled "The Transition to Digital Television". The price to attend is $60 for FCBA members, $50 for government/law student members, and $80 for non-members. Registrations & cancellations are due by 5:00 PM on January 21. RSVP to Wendy Parish Location: Wiley Rein & Fielding Conference Center, 1750 K Street, NW, 10th Floor.

Thursday, January 23
9:00 AM - 12:30 PM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a half day conference titled "Have We Overestimated the Importance of Audited Earnings?" The keynote speaker, at 9:15 AM, will be Peter Fisher, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance. There will be a panel at 9:45 AM titled "Cash versus Reported Earnings". The participants will be Richard Bassett (Risktoolz), Robert Eccles (Price Waterhouse Coopers), Alex Porter (Porter Felleman), James Glassman (AEI), and Peter Wallison (AEI). There will be a second panel at 11:15 AM titled "Policy Implications". The participants will be Kevin Hassett (AEI), Peter Wallison, Pippa Malmgren (Canonbury Group), and James Glassman. See, notice and registration page. Location: AEI, 12th Floor, 1150 17th Street, NW.
Friday, January 24
Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the Tier III Coalition's petition to forbear, up to December 31, 2005, from enforcing the E911 accuracy and reliability standards set forth in 20.18(h) of the FCC抯 Rules with respect to Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) provided by Tier III wireless carriers. See, FCC notice [PDF]. This is WT Docket No. 02-377.
Monday, January 27
2:00 PM. The House will return from a two week adjournment.

12:30 PM. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) will speak at a luncheon. Location: National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

The Supreme Court will be in recess from January 27 through February 23.

Day one of a two day conference titled "First International Conference on the Economic
and Social Implications of Information Technology
". The scheduled speakers include Secretary of Commerce Don Evans, John Marburger (President抯 Science Advisor), Floyd Kvamme (Co-Chairman of the President抯 Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAST), Sam Bodman (Deputy Secretary of Commerce), Nancy Victory (NTIA Directory), Phil Bond (Under Secretary for Technology), and Bruce Mehlman (Assistant Secretary for Technology Policy). See, notice and schedule. The price to attend is $100, and $60 for government, academic, and nonprofit personnel. Location: Main Auditorium, Department of Commerce, 14th St. and Constitution Ave.

Day one of three day COMNET Conference & Expo. See, conference web site. Location: Washington Convention Center.

Extended deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) regarding the Report [73 pages in PDF] of the FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force (SPTF). The report recommends that "spectrum policy must evolve towards more flexible and market oriented regulatory models." See, original notice [PDF] and notice of extension [PDF].

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Inquiry regarding competition in the Commercial Mobile Services (CMRS) industry. The FCC seeks data and information for its Eighth Annual Report and Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions with Respect to Commercial Mobile Services. This is WT Docket No. 02-379. See, notice in the Federal Register, January 7, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 4, at Pages 730 - 740. For more information, contact Chelsea Fallon at 202 418-7991.


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Summary of Tech Related Bills In 108th Congress
(Bills Introduced 1/7/03-1/20/03)
Subject No. Date Sponsor Title/Topic References 107th Congress
Taxation; Internet Tax Moratorium HR 49 1/7 Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act, a bill to permanently extend the moratorium enacted by the Internet Tax Freedom Act. See, TLJ story, "Rep. Cox and Sen. Wyden Introduce Bill to Make Permanent Net Tax Ban", No.580, Jan. 10, 2003. The 107th Congress passed HR 1552, which extended the moratorium until Nov. 1, 2003.
S 52 1/7 Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
S 150 1/13 Sen. George Allen (R-VA) Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act of 2003  
Taxation; Credit for Contributions HR 120 1/7 Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) Voluntary Opportunities for Increasing Contributions to Education Act, a bill to provide a tax credit for contributions to schools for the acquisition of computer technology.    
Taxation; Software Royalties HR 22 1/7 Rep. Amo Houghton (R-NY) Individual and Small Business Tax Simplification Act of 2003. (This is a large omnibus tax bill. See, Sec. 111 re active business computer software royalties.)    
Taxation; Broadband Expensing S 160 1/14 Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) Broadband Expensing Act See, TLJ story, "Sen. Burns and Sen. Baucus Introduce Broadband Expensing Bill", No. 587, Jan. 21. This bill is similar to 88 (107th), aka the Rockefeller bill; however, it provides for expensing, rather than tax credits.
Taxation; Broadband Tax Credits HR 267   Rep. Phil English (R-PA) Broadband Internet Access Act of 2003 See, English summary. This bill is substantially identical to HR 267 (107th) and S 88 (107th).
Unlicensed Spectrum; Broadband; WiFi S 159 1/14 Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. George Allen (R-VA) Jumpstart Broadband Act See, TLJ story, "Sen. Boxer and Sen. Allen Introduce WiFi Spectrum Bill", No. 586, Jan. 20. See also, TLJ copy of bill Boxer & Allen circulated a draft in Nov. of 2002, but no bill was introduced in the 107th Congress.
IPR; Patents HR 242 1/8 Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) Plant Breeders Equity Act See, TLJ story: "Rep. Issa Introduces Amendment to Plant Patent Act" No. 581, Jan 13. This bill is substantially similar to HR 5119 (107th)
IPR; Copyright; DMCA   1/7 Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) Digital Media Consumer Rights Act See, TLJ story: "Reps. Boucher and Doolittle Introduce Digital Fair Use Bill, 582, Jan. 14. See also, PDF copy of bill and Boucher's summary and release. This bill is a re-introduction of HR 5544 (107th). See also, TLJ story titled "Reps. Boucher and Doolittle Introduce Digital Media Consumer Rights Act", Oct. 3, 2002.
Nanotech HR 283 1/8 Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Advisory Board Act of 2003 See, TLJ story: "Rep. Honda Introduces Nanotechnology Bill", No. 582, Jan. 14. See, HR 5669 (107th).
S 189?   Sen. Ron Wyden (D-CA)      
HR 34 1/7 Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) Energy and Science Research Investment Act of 2003, a bill to authorize appropriations for the DOE Office of Science    
Trade; Export Administration Act HR 55 1/7 Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) Export Administration Act of 2003   This is substantially similar to S 149 (107th), which was passed by the Senate. This was the Enzi bill.
FISA S 113 1/9 Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) an untitled bill to exclude United States persons from the definition of "foreign power" under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act   See, S 2586 (107th).
Cyber Security S 187 1/16. Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) National Cyber Security Leadership Act of 2003 See, TLJ story, "Sen. Edwards Introduces Federal Cyber Security Bill", No. 587, Jan. 21.  
S 6 1/7 Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) Comprehensive Homeland Security Act of 2003. (This is a large omnibus bill. See, Title XIII re information security and FOIA exemption.)    
Appropriations; Funding for USPTO, FCC, FTC, DOJ & SEC HR 247 1/8 Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2003    
Technology Grants S 196 1/17 Sen. George Allen (R-VA) Digital & Wireless Network Technology Program Act of 2003 See, TLJ story, "Sen. Allen Introduces Bill to Create Technology Grant Program for MSIs", No. 586, Jan. 20. See also, TLJ copy of bill. This bill is similar to S 414 (107th), which was approved by the Sen. Commerce Comm., and HR 1034 (107th).
S 8 1/7 Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) Educational Excellence for All Learners Act of 2003. (This is a large omnibus education bill. See, Title III, Subtitle C.)    
Emergency Warning System S 118 1/9 Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) Emergency Warning Act of 2003 See, TLJ story: "Sen. Edwards Proposes Including Internet in Emergency Warning System", No. 582, Jan. 14. This is a new bill.
Cell Phones S 179 1/16 Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) Mobile Telephone Driving Safety Act of 2003 See, TLJ story, "Sen. Corzine Introduces Bill to Prohibit Use of Cell Phones While Driving", No. 586, Jan. 20. See, S 927 (107th).
Telephone Numbers HR 68 1/7 Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) an untitled bill regarding the allocations of telephone numbers    
U.S. Navy ELF System S 47 1/7 Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) an untitled bill to terminate the Extremely Low Frequency Communication System of the U.S. Navy   See, S 112 (107th) and HR 1160 (107th).
ID Theft HR 220 1/7 Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2003, a bill to restrict the use of SSNs, and to prohibit any government wide uniform identifying number.    
S 153 1/14 Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act   See, S 2541 (107th), which was approved by the Sen. Jud. Comm., and HR 5588 (107th).
S 22 1/7 Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) Justice Enhancement and Domestic Security Act of 2003. (This is a large omnibus bill. See, Title III re ID theft.)    
Privacy; Data Mining S 188 1/16 Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) Data-Mining Moratorium Act of 2003 See, TLJ story: "Sen. Feingold Introduces Data Mining Moratorium Bill", No. 586, Jan. 20. See also, TLJ copy of bill  
Privacy; Medical Information S 16 1/7 Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) Equal Rights and Equal Dignity for Americans Act of 2003. (See, Title IX re medical privacy, and Title V re racial profiling.)    
Vice; Internet Gambling HR 21 1/7 Rep. James Leach (R-IA) Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act See, TLJ story, "Rep. Leach Introduces Internet Gambling Bill", No.579, Jan 9, 2003. See, HR 556 (107th), which the House passed.
Vice; Virtual and Internet Pormography S 151 1/13 Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) Prosecutorial Remedies and Tools Against the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003 (aka PROTECT Act) See, various TLJ stories on virtual pormography and the opinion [PDF] in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition: No. 423, May 2, 2002; No. 454, June 19, 2002; and No. 534, Oct. 24, 2002. See, S 2520, which the Senate passed at the tail end of the 107th Congress. The House passed a different bill, HR 4623.
Vice; Violent Programming S 161 1/14 Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) Children's Protection from Violent Programming Act (this bill covers TV, cable, and MVPDs, but excludes interactive computer services)   See, S 341 (107th) and HR 1005 (107th).
Editor's Note: Feedback regarding this table would be appreciated. Is it useful, or useless? What could be done to improve it?