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March 14, 2003, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 623.
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Senate Committee Approves Technology Grant Program for Minority Serving Institutions

3/13. The Senate Commerce Committee amended and approved S 196, the Digital and Wireless Network Technology Program Act of 2003, by unanimous voice vote. See also, TLJ copy of bill as introduced.

The bill would create a new office at the National Science Foundation (NSF) named the Office of Digital and Wireless Network Technology (ODWNT). The bill would also authorize the appropriation of $250,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2004 through 2008 for grants to be administered by this new office.

The institutions eligible for grants would include "a historically Black college or university", "a Hispanic-serving institution", and "a tribally controlled college or university".

Grants could be used "to acquire the equipment, instrumentation, networking capability, hardware and software, digital network technology, wireless technology, and infrastructure". Grants could also be used "to develop and provide educational services, including faculty development, to prepare students or faculty ...". Grants could also be used to provide teacher training, and to "implement joint projects and consortia to provide education regarding technology".

The Committee approved an amendment on March 13 that contains several technical changes, and an expansion of the scope of the grant program. It provides that grants may also be used to fund "remote technical support".

Sen. George AllenSen. George Allen (R-VA) (at right), the sponsor of the bill, spoke in support of the bill at the meeting. He said that the amendment would make it possible for isolated tribal institutions to obtain technical support. He also said that the bill is necessary because historically black colleges and other minority serving institutions "do not have the infrastructure that other educational institutions do". He also emphasized that the bill covers both wire and wireless networking. He said that for some institutions wireless networking may be "a more efficient way of getting broadband to students".

See also, Senate Commerce Committee release, and story titled "Sen. Allen Introduces Bill to Create Technology Grant Program for MSIs", TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 586, January 20, 2003.

This bill is similar to S 414 (107th), which was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee last year, and HR 1034 (107th).

House Committee Approves Internet Gambling Bill

3/13. The House Financial Services Committee approved HR 21, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act of 2003, without amendment, by a non-unanimous voice vote. This bill would attempt to bar Internet gambling operations access to the U.S. financial services system by banning the use of credit cards, wire transfers, or any other bank instrument to fund gambling transactions.

Rep. James LeachRep. James Leach (R-IA) (at right), the sponsor of the bill, urged passage. "The American family", said Rep. Leach, "is not always looked upon as the responsibility of the banking committee". But, he argued, gambling is now one of the prime causes of bankruptcy, which is a concern of the Committee.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the ranking Democrat on the Committee, opposed the bill on libertarian grounds. Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) argued that "we are putting a very heavy burden on the financial institutions".

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) argued that "you should have to leave your house to loose your house", and that this bill is necessary to restore the power of states to regulate gambling. Rep. Frank responded that "I don't think it is any of the government's business when you leave your house ..."

The bill provides that "No person engaged in the business of betting or wagering may knowingly accept, in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling (1) credit, or the proceeds of credit, extended to or on behalf of such other person (including credit extended through the use of a credit card); (2) an electronic fund transfer or funds transmitted by or through a money transmitting business, or the proceeds of an electronic fund transfer or money transmitting service, from or on behalf of the other person; (3) any check, draft, or similar instrument which is drawn by or on behalf of the other person and is drawn on or payable at or through any financial institution; ..."

The bill then provides that "The district courts of the United States shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to prevent and restrain violations of this section by issuing appropriate orders in accordance with this section, regardless of whether a prosecution has been initiated under this section." Proceeding may be initiated by the U.S. or by the attorney general of a state.

The bill also contains language limiting the liability of interactive service providers. It provides that "Relief granted under this subsection against an interactive computer service shall (i) be limited to the removal of, or disabling of access to, an online site violating this section, or a hypertext link to an online site violating this section, that resides on a computer server that such service controls or operates; except this limitation shall not apply if the service is subject to liability under this section pursuant to subsection (e); (ii) be available only after notice to the interactive computer service and an opportunity for the service to appear are provided; (iii) not impose any obligation on an interactive computer service to monitor its service or to affirmatively seek facts indicating activity violating this section; (iv) specify the interactive computer service to which it applies; and (v) specifically identify the location of the online site or hypertext link to be removed or access to which is to be disabled."

The House passed a similar bill, HR 556 (107th), in the last Congress. The Senate did not pass the bill. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on proposals to regulate illegal internet gambling on Tuesday, March 18.

See also, story titled "Rep. Leach Introduces Internet Gambling Bill", TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 579, January 9, 2003.

Sen. Leahy Introduces Bill to Limit FOIA Exemption for Critical Infrastructure Information

3/12. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and others introduced S 609, the Restoration of Freedom of Information Act, a bill to amend the provisions of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 pertaining to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, exemption for voluntarily shared critical infrastructure information.

Sen. Patrick LeahySen. Leahy (at right) stated that "the law that was enacted undermines Federal and State sunshine laws permitting the American people to know what their government is doing. Rather than increasing security by encouraging private sector disclosure to the government, it guts FOIA at the expense of our national security and public health and safety."

He asserted that "These provisions, which were eventually enacted in the HSA, shield from FOIA almost any voluntarily submitted document stamped by the facility owner as ``critical infrastructure. This is true no matter how tangential the content of that document may be to the actual security of a facility. The law effectively allows companies to hide information about public health and safety from American citizens simply by submitting it to DHS." See, Sen. Leahy's floor statement, along with numerous inserted items, in the Congressional Record, March 12, 2003, at S3632 et seq. See especially, Sen. Leahy's summary of S 609 and comparison of HR 5005 and S 609.

Title II of the Homeland Security Act, HR 5005 (107th), pertains to "Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection". Subtitle B of Title II pertains to "Critical Infrastructure Information". It is comprised of Sections 211-215. President Bush signed HR 5005 on November 25, 2002. It then became Public Law No. 107-296.

Section 214 of the bill creates a new FOIA exemption for critical infrastructure information. It provides, in part, "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, critical infrastructure information (including the identity of the submitting person or entity) that is voluntarily submitted to a covered Federal agency for use by that agency regarding the security of critical infrastructure and protected systems, analysis, warning, interdependency study, recovery, reconstitution, or other informational purpose, when accompanied by an express statement specified in paragraph (2) -- (A) shall be exempt from disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act); ..." (Parentheses in original.)

The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Sen. Leahy is the ranking Democrat.

Proponents of the critical infrastructure information provision in the Homeland Security Act include many technology companies and the trade groups that represent them. This FOIA exemption has long been supported by Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT). See for example, story titled "Sen. Bennett Promotes Cyber Security Bill", TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 290, October 19, 2001.

More News

3/13. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property held a hearing titled "International Copyright Piracy: Links to Organized Crime and Terrorism". See, prepared testimony of witnesses: John Malcolm (Department of Justice), Rich LaMagna (Microsoft), Joan Vidov (Films by Jove), and Jack Valenti (Motion Picture Association of America).

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Bush Fills More Tech Positions at DHS

3/13. President Bush announced his intent to appoint Robert Liscouski to be Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection at the new Department of Homeland Security. He is currently the Director of Information Assurances at the Coca-Cola Company, and a member of the Intelligence Science Board. See, White House release.

Also on March 13, President Bush announced his intent to appoint Paul Redmond to be Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis at the DHS. He is a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee. He has held the positions of Associate Deputy Director for Operations for Counterintelligence, Special Assistant to the Director for Counterintelligence and Security, and Deputy Chief of the D.C.I. Counterintelligence Center. He is currently a consultant to the Director of the CIA.

Separately, on March 13, the Senate Commerce Committee approved the nomination of Charles McQueary to be Under Secretary for Science and Technology at the DHS, by a unanimous voice vote, without debate. See, Committee release.

McQueary is a recently retired President of General Dynamics, a defense contractor. Before that, he worked for AT&T/Lucent Technologies from 1987 through 1997, as President and Vice President. And before that, he worked for AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1971 through 1987. He is also a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Defense Industrial Association. He has three degrees, in engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering mechanics, all from the University of Texas.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002, HR 5005 (107th) and Public Law No. 107-296, creates two directorates, both headed by an Under Secretary, that have science and technology responsibilities. First, there is the Title II Directorate for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection, which has primary responsibility for information sharing and cyber security matters. Title II also creates the positions of Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection and Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis. See, Section 201(b).

Second, there is the Title III Directorate for Science and Technology, which has primarily responsibility for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. However, the responsibilities of the Title III Directorate include supporting the Title II Directorate "by assessing and testing homeland security vulnerabilities and possible threats".

McQueary has been nominated to head the Title III directorate. Liscouski and Redmond have been nominated for the two Title II Assistant Secretary positions.

More People and Appointments

3/13. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael Copps announced several changes in his personal staff. Jessica Rosenworcel will become his competition and universal service legal advisor. Jordan Goldstein, who is currently Copps' competition and universal service legal advisor, as well as his senior legal advisor, will shift to media and consumer protection issues. He will remain senior legal advisor. Meanwhile, Alexis Johns, who is currently Copps' media and consumer protection legal advisor, will move to the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. Paul Margie, who handles spectrum and international issues, is unaffected by these changes. Rosenworcel has worked at the FCC since May of 1999. She is currently legal counsel to the Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau. Prior to that, she was an attorney in the Policy and Program Planning Division of the Common Carrier Bureau. And prior to that, she was an associate with the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath. See, release.

3/13. The Senate Commerce Committee approved a resolution naming the members of its subcommittees. The membership of the Communications Subcommittee is Conrad Burns (R-MT), Ted Stevens (R-AK), Trent Lott (R-MS), Kay Hutchison (R-TX), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL), John Ensign (R-NV), George Allen (R-VA), John Sununu (R-NH), Ernest Hollings (D-SC), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), John Kerry (D-MA), John Breaux (D-LA), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bill Nelson (D-DL), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Burns is the Chairman, and Hollings is the ranking Democrat.

3/13. President Bush nominated David Campbell to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. See, White House release.

Friday, March 14

9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in Rainbow Push Coalition v. FCC, No. 02-1020. Judges Ginsburg, Edwards and Garland will preside. Location: 333 Constitution Ave., NW.

10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Homeland Security: Network Reliability Council VI will meet. FCC Chairman Michael Powell and Qwest Ch/CEO Richard Notebaert will chair the meeting. See, notice [PDF]. Webcast. Location: FCC, Room TW-C305 (Commission Meeting Room), 445 12th Street, SW.

12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) will host a panel discussion titled "The Content, Tech & Telecom Industries Examine Intellectual Property". The panelists will include Jeffrey Campbell (Cisco Systems), Sarah Deutsch (Verizon), and Mitch Glazer (Recording Industry Association of America). See, notice. Register to attend by contacting Stefannie Bernstein at 202 289-8928 or sbernstein@pff.org or David Fish at dfish@pff.org. Location: Room 1539, Longworth Building.

Monday, March 17

9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in Trans Intelligence v. FCC, No. 02-1098. Judges Ginsburg, Edwards and Garland will preside. Location: 333 Constitution Ave., NW.

Day one of a three day conference titled "Open Source for National and Local eGovernment Programs in the U.S. and EU". See, agenda. For more information, contact Tony Stanco at 202 994-5513 or Stanco@seas.gwu.edu. Location: George Washington University, The Marvin Center Grand Ballroom, 800 21st Street, NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) pertaining to the service rules for the Dedicated Short Range Communications Systems in the 5.850-5.925 GHz band (5.9 GHz band). See, notice in the Federal Register, January 15, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 10, at Pages 1999-2002. For more information, contact Nancy Zaczek at 202 418-7590 or nzaczek@fcc.gov, or Gerardo Mejia at 202 418-2895 or gmejia@fcc.gov.

Tuesday, March 18

Day two of a three day conference titled "Open Source for National and Local eGovernment Programs in the U.S. and EU". See, agenda. For more information, contact Tony Stanco at 202 994-5513 or Stanco@seas.gwu.edu. Location: George Washington University, The Marvin Center Grand Ballroom, 800 21st Street, NW.

8:25 AM - 5:00 PM. Day one of a two day meeting of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology. Pre-registration is required. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 4, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 42, at Pages 10205-10206. Location: Employees Lounge, Administration Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD.

9:00 AM - 12:45 PM. The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) will host a half day conference titled "Beyond the IT Bubble". It will examine "the next phase in the information technology revolution and government's role in facilitating its positive impact on economic growth". Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) will deliver the keynote luncheon address at 12:15 PM. For more information, contact Karin Kullman or Eric Wortman at 202 547-0001. RSVP to TechProject@dlcppi.org or contact Brian Newkirk at 202 608-1245. Location: Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Avenue, NW.

10:00 AM. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Mark Everson to be Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on proposals to regulate illegal internet gambling. Location: Room 538, Dirksen Building.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Mass Media Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The speaker will be Barbara Kreisman, Chief of the FCC Media Bureau's Video Division. For more information, contact Frank Jazzo at jazzo@fhhlaw.com. RSVP to Wendy Parish at wendy@fcba.org. Location: NAB, 1771 N St., NW, 1st Floor Conference Room.

2:00 - 3:00 PM. The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) and the Rural Utilities Service's (RUS) will host a webcast event at which they will provide an "overview of the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Guarantee Program". To participate, contact Aaryn Slafky (NTCA) at 703 351-2087 or aslafky@ntca.org by March 17.

Wednesday, March 19

Day three of a three day conference titled "Open Source for National and Local eGovernment Programs in the U.S. and EU". See, agenda. For more information, contact Tony Stanco at 202 994-5513 or Stanco@seas.gwu.edu. Location: George Washington University, The Marvin Center Grand Ballroom, 800 21st Street, NW.

9:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. Day two of a two day meeting of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology. Pre-registration is required. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 4, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 42, at Pages 10205-10206. Location: Employees Lounge, Administration Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD.

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) North American Numbering Council will meet. Location: FCC, Room TW-C305 (Commission Meeting Room), 445 12th Street, SW.

10:00 AM. The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on HR 766, the Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.

Thursday, March 20

10:00 AM. Dane Snowden, Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, will hold a media briefing to discuss the work of the bureau, including telemarketing reform, slamming rules, disability issues, tribal issues, and consumer outreach. RSVP to Rosemary Kimball at 202 418-05111 or rkimball@fcc.gov. Location: Conference Room CY B-511.

Friday, March 21

10:00 AM. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary will hold a hearing on President Bush's budget request for fiscal year 2004 for the Department of Commerce (DOC). Location: Room S-146, Capitol.

? 12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Transactional Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be FCC antitrust merger reviews. The speakers will include Jim Bird, head of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Office of General Counsel's (OGC) Transactional Team), and Jim Barker, Latham & Watkins. For more information, contact Lauren Kravetz at 202 418-7944 or lkravetz@fcc.gov. This event had originally been scheduled for February 19, but was postponed due to snow. Location: Willkie Farr & Gallagher, 1875 K St., NW.