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May 21, 2003, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 666.
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House Financial Services Committee Approves Revised Internet Gambling Bill

5/20. The House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) approved by voice vote, without amendment, HR 2143, another bill titled the "Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act". See, HFSC release.

Rep. Spencer BachusThis bill was introduced on Monday, May 19, 2003, by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) (at left) and others.

The HFSC previously approved HR 21, also titled the "Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act", on March 13, 2003. The House Judiciary Committee (HJC) just marked up HR 21 on May 14, 2003. Both bills have the same purpose and method, but differ in several significant respects.

HR 2143 contains the same title, the same findings, and relies on the same underlying method to stop illegal internet gambling operations -- barring access to the U.S. financial services system by banning the use of credit cards, wire transfers, and other bank instruments to fund illegal gambling transactions.

HR 2143 would require federal regulators to promulgate regulations "requiring any designated payment system to establish policies and procedures reasonably designed to identify and prevent restricted transactions in any of the following ways: (1) The establishment of policies and procedures that (A) allow the payment system and any person involved in the payment system to identify restricted transactions by means of codes in authorization messages or by other means; and (B) block restricted transactions identified as a result of the policies and procedures developed pursuant to clause (i). (2) The establishment of policies and procedures that prevent the acceptance of the products or services of the payment system in connection with a restricted transaction."

HR 2143, in turn defines "restricted transaction" as "any transaction or transmittal to any person engaged in the business of betting or wagering, in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling, of (A) 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); (B) 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; (C) 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; or (D) the proceeds of any other form of financial transaction as the Federal functional regulators may prescribe by regulation which involves a financial institution as a payor or financial intermediary on behalf of or for the benefit of the other person." This definition mirrors language of HR 21.

However, there are many substantial differences between HR 21 and HR 2143.

HR 21 contains criminal penalties. HR 2143 does not. The change also means that the HJC does not have jurisdiction over HR 2143.

HR 21 provides a civil enforcement role for states. HR 2143 does not.

HR 2143 would rely solely on Federal functional regulators (as defined by Section 509(2) of the Gramm Leach Bliley Act) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for enforcement.

HR 21, as amended and adopted by the HJC on May 14, deleted an exception for internet gambling operations authorized by states. HR 21, as introduced, and as passed by the HFSC on March 13, contains the following exception: "The term ``bets or wagers´´ ... (E) does not include --- (ix) any lawful transaction with a business licensed or authorized by a State." The HJC removed the line "any lawful transaction with a business licensed or authorized by a State".

This may be a killer amendment that some members supported because they expected that it would kill the bill on the House floor. That is, it will cause the gambling industries that are authorized in some states, such as horse racing, dog racing, and jai alai, to lobby against the bill. HR 2143 puts the exception back in, which puts these gambling interests back on the sidelines.

HR 21 limits the liability of, and remedies available against, interactive service providers. HR 2143 does not contain any special language for these ISPs.

For example, HR 21 provides that "An interactive computer service that does not violate this section shall not be liable under section 1084 of title 18, except this limitation shall not apply if an interactive computer service has actual knowledge and control of bets and wagers and (i) operates, manages, supervises, or directs an Internet website at which unlawful bets or wagers may be placed, received, or otherwise made or at which unlawful bets or wagers are offered to be placed, received, or otherwise made; or (ii) owns or controls, or is owned or controlled by, any person who operates, manages, supervises, or directs an Internet website at which unlawful bets or wagers may be placed, received, or otherwise made or at which unlawful bets or wagers are offered to be placed, received, or otherwise made."

18 U.S.C. § 1084 contains the prohibition of the Wire Act. The Wire Act currently criminalizes the use of "wire communications facilities" in interstate commerce for gambling. The Wire Act does not ban gambling. This is a matter of state law.

Specifically, § 1084 currently provides that "Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both." Since the current statute affects only wire communication facilities, and some internet communications do not involve wires, it leaves open the possibility that some internet gambling may not be illegal under the Wire Act. However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) interprets the Wire Act to encompass internet gambling.

John Malcolm, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the DOJ, testified against the ISP provision in HR 21 at a hearing before the HJC's Crime Subcommittee on April 29, 2003.

He wrote in his prepared testimony that "the Justice Department opposes Section 3(c)(4)(B) of H.R. 21, which provides, in essence, that interactive service providers that are not liable under H.R. 21 shall not be liable under Section 1084 of Title 18, United States Code, unless the ISP has actual knowledge of the bets and wagers and owns, controls, operates, manages, supervises, or directs a website at which unlawful bets or wagers are offered, placed, or received. This provision constructively amends Section 1084, an existing federal criminal statute, and weakens its application by imposing a far higher standard of liability than traditional aiding and abetting liability, which applies to everyone else who must comply with the law. While the Department does not believe that ISPs should be singled out for particularly harsh treatment (and our “track record” bears this out), we do not believe that ISPs should be singled out for uniquely favorable treatment either."

More Information on HR 21. See, story titled "House Judiciary Committee Approves Internet Gambling Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 662, May 15, 2003; TLJ story titled "House Crime Subcommittee Approves Internet Gambling Bill", May 6, 2003; and story titled "House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Internet Gambling Bills" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 654, May 2, 2003. The HFSC, which has jurisdiction over HR 21 along with the HJC, approved it on March 13. See, story titled "House Committee Approves Internet Gambling Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 623, March 14, 2003. See also, story titled "Rep. Leach Introduces Internet Gambling Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 579, January 9, 2003. The companion bill in the Senate is S 627. See, TLJ story titled "Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Internet Gambling Bill", March 18, 2003.

Senators Hatch and Leahy Introduce Antitrust Bill

5/19. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced S 1080, the "Antitrust Improvements Act of 2003". The bill would raise the maximum term of imprisonment for an individual who violates the criminal provisions of the antitrust laws from 3 years to 10 years. It would also raise the maximum fine for a corporation from $10 Million to $100 Million. The bill would also repeal Title VIII of the Antidumping Act of 1916, which is codified at 15 U.S.C. § 72.

Sen. Orrin HatchSen. Hatch (at right) stated in the Senate that "These changes are long overdue and will eliminate the huge disparity present in our laws between the treatment of criminal white collar offenses and antitrust criminal violations. The Sarbanes Oxley Act passed last year raised the criminal penalties for a number of white collar offenses, but did not do so for antitrust criminal violations. An antitrust price-fixer who defrauds consumers for a total of $5 million should be subject to a penalty which is more consistent with the penalty scheme for other white collar offenses." See, Congressional Record, May 19, 2003, at page S6631-2.

Sen. Leahy stated in the Senate that "This increase will make it clear to corporate wrongdoers that no antitrust violation is affordable. These changes bring antitrust penalties in line with other white-collar crimes and send a clear message that the United States will not allow any company to abuse its consumers by misusing market power." See, Congressional Record, May 19, 2003, at page S6632.

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Zoellick and Attorney General John Ashcroft wrote a letter, which was inserted in the Congressional Record, regarding the proposed repeal of the provision from the 1916 Act. They wrote, "That provision provides for a private right of action for treble damages, as well as for criminal penalties in an action brought by the U.S. government, for international price discrimination. The Administration proposes repeal of this provision because it is redundant of other U.S. laws providing remedies for international price discrimination. To our knowledge, during the past 85 years no plaintiff has obtained a final judgment on the merits under this rarely-invoked law and no government enforcement action has been taken. Furthermore, this provision is inconsistent with the obligations of the United States under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization". See, Congressional Record, May 19, 2003, at page S6632.

The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Hatch is the Chairman. Sen. Leahy is the ranking Democrat.

DARPA Releases TIA Report

5/20. The Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) released a report [PDF] titled "Report to Congress Regarding the Terrorism Information Awareness Program". The DARPA had previously referred to this project as "Total Information Awareness".

Following privacy related criticisms of the TIA program, the Congress earlier this year imposed certain limits upon the TIA program, and required the DARPA to submit this report.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) offered an amendment (SA 59) to HJRes 2 the further appropriations for FY 2003 resolution in January of 2003. It was approved by the Senate, and, with minor changes, was incorporated into the final resolution as passed by both the House and Senate. See, story titled "Senate Approves Total Information Awareness Amendment" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 590, January 24, 2003, and story titled "House and Senate Pass FY 2003 Appropriation Package With TIA Amendment" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 604, February 14, 2003.

The report states that "The TIA research and development program aims to integrate information technologies into a prototype to provide tools to better detect, classify, and identify potential foreign terrorists. TIA's research and development goal is to increase the probability that authorized agencies of the United States can preempt adverse actions."

In elaborates that "The TIA research and development efforts seek to integrate technologies developed by DARPA (and elsewhere, as appropriate) into a series of increasingly powerful prototype configurations that can be stress-tested in operationally relevant environments using real-time feedback to refine concepts of operation and performance requirements down to the technology component level. In a sense, TIA is a program of programs whose goal is the creation of a counterterrorism information architecture that would:

  • Increase the information coverage by an order-of-magnitude via access and sharing that can be easily scaled.
  • Provide focused warnings within an hour after a triggering event occurs or an articulated threshold is passed.
  • Automatically cue analysts based on partial pattern matches and has patterns that cover at least 90 percent of all known previous foreign terrorist attacks.
  • Support collaboration, analytical reasoning, and information sharing so analysts can hypothesize, test, and propose theories and mitigating strategies about possible futures, thereby enabling decision-makers to effectively evaluate the impact of current or future policies."

The report concludes that "neither individuals nor teams of unaided humans can function with maximum effectiveness in the present environment. DARPA's aim in TIA research and development is to seek a revolutionary leap forward by augmenting human performance in dealing with several facets of the terrorist problem. Through an aggressive program to harness and integrate a group of computer tools in various states of R&D, DARPA plans to assist humans cope with massive and varied data sets, think and reason about the counterterrorism problem, and work together in ad hoc teams to bring diverse points of view to the solutions to the problems. By augmenting human performance using these computer tools, the TIA Program expects to diminish the amount of time humans must spend in discovering information and allow humans more time to focus their powerful intellects on things humans do best -- thinking and analysis."

The report also addresses privacy. It states that "TIA's research and testing activities have depended entirely on (1) information legally obtainable and usable by the Federal Government under existing law, or (2) wholly synthetic, artificial data that has been generated to resemble and model real-world patterns of behavior. Further, the TIA Program is not attempting to create or access a centralized database that will store information gathered from various publicly or privately held databases."

It further states that "Nevertheless, ultimate implementation of some of the component programs of TIA may raise significant and novel privacy and civil liberties policy issues. Largely because of the greater power and resolution of TIA's search and data analysis tools, questions will arise concerning whether the safeguards against unauthorized access and use are sufficiently rigorous, and whether the tools can or should be applied at all with respect to certain types of particularly sensitive information. In addition, privacy and civil liberties issues may arise because some would argue that the performance and promise of the tools might lead some U.S. Government agencies to consider increasing the extent of the collection and use of information already obtained under existing authorities."

The report adds that "Safeguarding the privacy and the civil liberties of Americans is a bedrock principle."

USPTO Releases Report on Technological Systems to Protect Digitized Copyrighted Works

5/20. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released its report [46 pages in PDF] to Congress on technology designed to protect digitized copyrighted works from infringement. See also, USPTO release.

The report reviews some core technologies of protection systems, including encryption, digital watermarking, and authentication. It also reviews some of the concepts of digital rights management systems, including trusted computing, rights models and rights expression languages, DRM architecture, and types of DRM systems. The report then gives a lengthy review of companies that are developing or offering technological protection systems to protect digitized copyrighted works and prevent infringement. Finally, the report lists and describes groups and organizations that are involved in this area.

This report was required by the "Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002" (aka TEACH Act). (See, Pub. L. No. 107-273, 116 Stat. 1758.) The Congress passed this Act in late 2002 as part of a larger Department of Justice authorization bill. The TEACH Act primarily deals with amendments to copyright law to facilitate distance learning.

Rep. Upton Criticizes FCC for Failure to Release Triennial Review Order

5/20. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, criticized the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for failing to release its Triennial Review Order.

On February 20, 2003, the FCC adopted, but did not release, a report and order regarding the Section 251 unbundling obligations of incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs). The FCC issued only a short press release [2 pages in PDF] and an attachment [4 pages in PDF]. The FCC has yet to release the actual report and order, which is also known as the "triennial review order".

See also, TLJ Articles on the FCC Report and Order of February 20:
 • FCC Announces UNE Report and Order
 • FCC Order Offers Broadband Regulatory Relief
 • FCC Announces Decision on Switching
 • Commentary: Republicans Split On FCC UNE Order
 • Congressional Reaction To FCC UNE Order

Rep. Fred UptonRep. Upton (at right) stated in a release that "It has been three months, 89 days to be exact, since the Commission approved its Triennial Review decision, but no written order has been forthcoming. The telecommunications industry is the engine that drives our economy, but the uncertainty of the last three months has left the high tech sector twisting in the wind."

He continued that "The telecommunications industry had lost over half a million jobs prior to the February 20th ruling, and countless jobs have been lost since. The UNE-P aspects of the Triennial Review decision in February dealt a serious blow to the American economy, and the three-month standstill has only made things worse. We are in desperate need of economic revitalization, and it is the telecommunications sector that will create jobs and drive economic growth once the cloud of uncertainty is lifted."

Upton concluded that "This is a serious matter with American jobs and technology advancement hanging in the balance. We must take the appropriate steps to stimulate competition in the phone industry, but the order must be released before those steps can be taken. I urge the Commission to promptly complete the Triennial Review order, and release it for public vetting."

The FCC rarely releases its orders, notice of proposed rulemakings, notices or inquiry, and other items, at the time that it adopts them. However, it typically releases most major items about a week to ten days after adoption.

Wednesday, May 21

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. It is scheduled to begin consideration of the defense authorization bill.

9:00 - 11:00 AM. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the U.S. Copyright Office (CO) will hold a meeting to discuss the preparation of a new text of the Hague Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments Convention. See, notice. Location: USPTO, 2121 Crystal Drive, Crystal Park 2, Suite 902, Arlington, VA.

9:00 AM. Bruce Mehlman, of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, will speak on "Tech Transfer and Opportunities for Future Commercialization" at the COMDEX Innovation Forum on Tech Transfer. Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW.

9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on unsolicited bulk e-mail. Press contact: Rebecca Hanks 202 224-2670 or Andy Davis at 202 224-6654. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Hewitt Pate to be Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. Press contact: Margarita Tapia at 202 224-5225. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing titled "National Export Strategy". The witnesses will be Donald Evans (Secretary of Commerce), Philip Merrill (President of the Export Import Bank of the United States), Thelma Askey (Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency), Peter Watson (President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation), Hector Barreto (Administrator of the Small Business Administration). See, notice. Location: Room 538, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The NetChoice Coalition and The New Republic (TNR) will host a symposium on "Spam, Privacy and E-Commerce". The scheduled speakers are Scott Shipman (eBay), Gary Doernhoefer (Orbitz), Michael Mayor (direct e-mail marketer), Ramsen Betfarhad (Majority Counsel, House Commerce Committee), Peter Filon (Minority Counsel, House Commerce Committee), Rob Courtney (Center for Democracy and Technology), and Jeff Rosen (TNR). For More Information, contact Mark Blafkin at 202 331-2130 x104 or Location: The Hall of States, 444 North Capitol, Room 383.

10:45 AM. Chris Israel, of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration (TA), will participate in a panel at the National Business Incubator Association Annual Conference. He will also release two reports titled "Business Incubation: Emerging Trends for Profitability and Economic Development in the U.S., Central Asia, and the Middle East" and "A National Benchmarking Analysis of Technology Business Incubator Performance and Practices." Press contact: Cheryl Mendonsa at 202 482-8321 or Cheryl.Mendonsa See, TA notice. Location: Richmond Marriot, 500 East Broad Street Richmond, VA.

POSTPONED TO JUNE 3. 12:00 NOON. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), the Chairman of the House Science Committee (HSC), will host a pen and pad briefing on HSC matters for reporters. Press contact: Heidi Tringe at Heidi.Tringe or 202 225-4275. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.

12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Transactional Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topics will include "the purposes of opinions within the context of various transactions and typical regulatory opinion language". The speakers will include John Quale (Skadden Arps) and James Rogers (Latham & Watkins). RSVP to Margery Singleton at 202 637-2200 or margery.singleton Location: Latham & Watkins, 555 11th Street, NW, Suite 1000.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Mass Media Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "Getting Ready for Radio Station License Renewal". The speakers will include Roy Stewart, Chief of the of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Office of Broadcast Licence Policy, and Peter Doyle, Chief of the FCC's Audio Division. RSVP to Wendy Parish at Location: NAB, 1771 N St., NW, 1st Floor Conference Room.

2:00 PM. The House Homeland Security Committee's (HHSC) Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Science, and Research & Development will hold a hearing titled "Homeland Security Science and Technology: Preparing for the Future." The witnesses will include Charles McQueary, Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The HHSC lists this hearing as scheduled for 2:00 PM, while the DHS lists it at 10:00 AM. Location: Room 2118, Rayburn Building.

6:00 - 8:00 PM. The D.C. Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law Section will host a continuing legal education (CLE) program titled "Recent Developments in Technology Transfer with the Federal Government: Focus on Intellectual Property". The speakers will be Paul Gottlieb (Assistant General Counsel, Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property, Department of Energy), Holly Svetz (Morrison & Foerster), and Richard Litman. The prices to attend range from $70 to $90. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW, B-1 level.

Deadline to submit comments to the Copyright Office (CO) in response to its notice of proposed rules that rules would "govern SoundExchange, an unincorporated division of the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc., when it functions as the designated agent for the purpose of receiving royalty payments and statements of accounts from nonexempt subscription digital transmission services which make digital transmissions of sound recordings under a statutory license." See, Federal Register, April 21, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 76, at Pages 19482 - 19485.

Extended deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [MS Word] titled "In the Matter of Second Periodic Review of the Commission’s Rules and Policies Affecting the Conversion To Digital Television". This is MB Docket No. 03-15, RM 9832, and MM Docket Nos. 99-360, 00-167, and 00-168. See also, FCC release and notice in the Federal Register, February 18, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 32, at Pages 7737-7747. And see, notice [PDF] extending deadlines.

Deadline to submit "white papers" to the Office of Science and Technology Policy' (OSTP) High End Computing Revitalization Task Force (HECRTF) regarding high end computing. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 14, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 93, at Page 25888.

Thursday, May 22

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business.

9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold yet another hearing on media ownership. Press contact: Rebecca Hanks 202 224-2670 or Andy Davis at 202 224-6654. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on telecommunications in Indian country. Location: Room 485, Russell Building.

2:00 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on several pending judicial nominations, including Richard Wesley (Second Circuit), Ronnie Greer (Eastern District of Tennessee), Thomas Hardiman (Western District of Pennsylvania), Mark Kravitz (District of Connecticut), John Woodcock (District of Maine). Press contact: Margarita Tapia at 202 224-5225. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

2:30 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications will hold a hearing to examine wireless broadband in rural areas. Location: Room 562, Dirksen Building.

Friday, May 23

The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business.

10:00 - 11:30 AM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Media Security and Reliability Council will hold a meeting. See, notice in Federal Register: November 19, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 223, at Page 69742. For more information, contact Barbara Kreisman at 202-418-1600. Location: FCC, 445 12th St. SW Room TW-C305.

Deadline to submit to the Department of Commerce (DOC) nominations for award of the National Medal of Technology. See, nomination guidelines and notice in the Federal Register, February 14, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 31, at Pages 7509.

Monday, May 26

Memorial Day. The House and Senate will be in recess for the Memorial Day District Work Period from May 26 through May 30.

Tuesday, May 27

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regarding its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend its regulations to implement the Madrid Protocol Implementation Act of 2002 (MPIA). See, notice in the Federal Register, March 28, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 60, at Pages 15119 - 15138.

People and Appointments

5/20. President Bush announced his intent to nominate Penrose Albright to be Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security (Plans, Programs and Budgets). He is currently Assistant Director for Homeland and National Security in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). He has also worked for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Institute for Defense Analyses. See, White House release.

5/20. Josh Swift was named Legal Counsel to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) Chief William Maher. He has worked at the WCB since August of 2001. Before that, he was a trial attorney at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Before that, he was an associate in the Washington DC office of the law firm of Morgan Lewis & Bockius. See, FCC release [PDF].

5/20. Paul Garnett was named Acting Assistant Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau's (WCB) Telecommunications Access Policy Division. The Assistant Chief, Anita Cheng, is on parental leave. The FCC stated in a release [PDF] that Garnett will have responsibility for "issues relating to the receipt of universal service support in competitive areas, the payment of universal service contributions, and the high-cost universal service support mechanisms". He has worked at the FCC since March of 2000. Before that, he worked in the Washington DC office of the law form of Swidler Berlin.

5/19. The Senate confirmed Maurice Hicks to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

More News

5/20. The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing to examine the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and issues presented by the re-authorization of the expiring preemption provisions. Howard Beales, Director of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection, testified. See, prepared testimony [29 pages in PDF].

5/20. The House Homeland Security Committee's (HHSC) held a hearing to assess progress made by the new Department of Homeland Security. See, opening statement by Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA), Chairman of the Committee, and prepared testimony of Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. Ridge addressed, among other topics, cyber security. He testified that "DHS' Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate (IA&IP) provides infrastructure coordination for physical and cyber disruptions, maps threat against vulnerability information, and provides indications and warnings of potential attacks." He added that "We recognize that many of our nation's infrastructures and processes are highly reliant on cyberspace. DHS is committed to making the protection of our nation's cyber infrastructure and prevention of cyber attacks a strategic priority."

5/19. The U.S. District Court (DC) issued its opinion [26 pages in PDF] in ACLU v. DOJ, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, case involving access to records of the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding implementation of certain of the USA PATRIOT Act's provisions pertaining to surveillance and investigations. Many types of records were sought, including records pertaining to the new pen register and trap and trace device authority provided under section 214 of the Act. The Court ruled, on cross motions for summary judgment, that the requested records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to two FOIA provisions.

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