|House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on
7/8. The House Judiciary Committee's
Subcommittee on Crime held a hearing on
the Reduction in Distribution of Spam Act of 2003.
Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), the
Chairman of the Subcommittee, presided. See,
See also, prepared testimony of witnesses:
Kilgore (Attorney General of Virginia, who testified regarding Virginia's
anti spam statute), Will
Moschella (Assistant Attorney General for the
Office of Legislative Affairs), Joe
Rubin (U.S. Chamber of Commerce), and
Chris Murray (Consumers Union).
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who
is a cosponsor of the bill, spoke in support. He defended its opt out
provisions, opposed expanding remedies to include class actions, and argued that
the best way to address spam "is very strong criminal provisions that are
provided in this legislation, coupled with a great deal of international work
that is going to have to be done to get other countries cooperating with us in
Will Moschella provided the view of the
Department of Justice (DOJ) on the criminal provisions of HR 2214. He wrote
in his prepared
testimony that "we support the bill’s approach to criminalizing the knowing
falsification of the identity of the sender." He also wrote that the DOJ
"supports making it criminal offense to send unsolicited commercial electronic
mail containing sexually explicit content without marking it as such."
He also made numerous recommendations for changes to the bill. For example, he
wrote that "we are concerned about using a felony threshold that relies on the
number of prohibited e-mail messages sent. In order to establish a felony for a
first-time offender under the bill, a prosecutor would have to prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that the sender knew that he falsified his identity in each of
10,000 commercial electronic mail messages or that each of 10,000 messages
containing unmarked sexually explicit conduct were truly unsolicited by all
recipients. The prosecutors in the Criminal Division tell me that these
thresholds would make these felonies extremely difficult to prosecute because
they would have to accumulate a massive documentary case just to meet the felony
definition." He added that "we strongly suggest that the Subcommittee consider
other triggers for felony treatment".
He also wrote that the DOJ does not support a separate criminal offense for
harvesting e-mail addresses. Rather, "We believe that harvesting should be an
aggravating factor at sentencing and we recommend that this separate harvesting
offense be removed from the draft legislation." He argued that since harvesting
would not be a crime by itself, and would only be a crime if done in conjunction
with another criminal act, it would be redundant.
Joe Rubin of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
wrote in his prepared
testimony that the the Chamber supports legislating in this area. However,
he recommended that legislation distinguish between e-mail sent by legitimate
businesses, and that send by fraudulent businesses.
He wrote that "there is a clear distinction between legitimate companies,
those that do not spoof or mislead their customers, respect and honor opt-outs,
seek to gain repeat customers, and who obtain email addresses through legitimate
means, versus those who attempt to use fraud and deception to get consumers to
open their emails or avoid Internet Service Provider (ISP) filters and obtain
customer ``leads´´ by, in effect, stealing addresses from other online service
providers. This distinction has to be clearly recognized in any legislative
attempts to address spam -- legitimate companies will comply with the rules,
even if they are extremely burdensome and unworkable, while spammers will
continue to ignore legislative and judicial rules and edicts."
He also commented that "One provision that this legislation adds to the
current stable of tools to fight spam is an enhanced ability of ISPs, who are in
the best position to trace the source of spam, to sue spammers, and institutes a
single, nation-wide standard to facilitate their efforts. It does so in a way,
however, that protects the needs of legitimate businesses to communicate with
their customers through email. For instance, the legislation requires that ISPs
establish a ``pattern or practice´´ of violations with regards to disregarding
an opt-out, but has no similar requirements when suing for intentional acts like
using false header and routing information or harvesting email addresses –
activities that legitimate companies would not undertake, and therefore no
additional protection is required."
Rubin also recommended some changes to the bill. For example, he wrote that the
FTC should be given "the ability and authority to go after those businesses that
actually benefit from the use of spam. Generally, spammers are not promoting
their own products, but are acting on behalf of businesses that hire them to
bring in customers. These are the companies that hire spammers to sell their
products." He also wrote that "we believe that spam should be enforced by
functional regulators, rather than by the FTC, in industries where that is
Not all Representatives support anti spam legislation.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said that
"I do not believe that there should be any limits on the use of e-mail." She
added that with spam legislative proposals "we start wanting to censor". She
also said that there are already laws regarding fraud and pormography.
"I don't know what spam is", said Rep. Waters. Moreover, "we should not try
to create a definition." She concluded, "I am not in the business of that kind
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) raised
questions about whether state attorneys general would be able to obtain personal
jurisdiction over spammers located in other jurisdictions. He also raised
questions about whether some provisions of proposed legislation would violate
constitutional protections of anonymous speech. He also questioned whether
commercial e-mail that is neither fraudulent nor pormographic should be banned.
However, he argued that any legislation should allow for class actions.
Class Actions. HR 2214 does not provide a class action remedy.
Chris Murray, who testified on behalf of the
Consumers Union, stated in his
that "We believe that the threat of class action enforcement combined with an
opt-in approach is the best way to reduce spam for consumers."
Rep. Burr, the sponsor of the bill, is not a member of the Judiciary
Committee, but was allowed to participate in the hearing. He spoke in opposition
to creating a class action remedy.
However, Rep. Goodlatte (at right) offered the most
emphatic criticism. He stated that "With regard to the issue of class action
lawsuits, I think that that would be an abomination. We would have a situation
where the legitimate businesses that we want to encourage to share valuable
useful information with consumers, and who may go wrong some of the time,
in terms of whatever scheme might be devised, to face the fact that they would
then face the loss of, not just for the one angry consumer, but for the 999,000
or 2,000,000 or 10,000,000 other consumers, who just did what I did, that is,
just deleted that ad, or sent a request for an opt out, suddenly, were all made
part of a class action lawsuit as plaintiffs.
He continued that "we will all get some nominal benefit from this, because we
only suffered some nominal loss by receiving it. And some attorney will as we
have seen in the class action lawsuit legislation that this Committee passed
out, which the House of Representatives passed recently. Some attorney will get
5 million, 10 million, 15 million dollars in attorneys fees for having
successfully extorted this particular legitimate business for doing that. And
the end result will be that legitimate businesses which are very careful, as Mr.
Rubin has already pointed out, to not offend consumers, because they want them
as customers. Those legitimate businesses will suffer. Consumers will receive
less information. And, the people we are really having a problem with -- the
pornographers, the overseas spammers, the people sending all kinds of
information the Chairman sited -- they are going to continue on their merry way.
Because the only way to get at them is not through a class action lawsuit --
they don't have the deep pocket that will be hurt by this. They are going to
skedaddle to another country, another location, another identity, as soon as
they see the slightest scent, smell. I have worked with the Federal
Communications Commission on the fax law. We actually got a massive fine imposed
upon a New York operation. They moved to Canada just as soon as that happened.
We have got to work on the criminal aspects of this law, to go after those
folks, get them extradited to this county, and put them in prison."
|House Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on
7/9. The House Commerce Committee's
Subcommittees on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection and on
Telecommunications and the Internet held a hearing titled "Legislative
Efforts to Combat Spam". It focused on
sponsored by Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC),
and HR 2515,
sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson
See, prepared testimony of witnesses:
Howard Beales (Director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer
Garry Betty (P/CEO of EarthLink),
Charles Curran (Assistant General Counsel of America Online),
Ira Rubinstein (Associate General Counsel of Microsoft),
Paul Misener (VP for Global Public Policy, Amazon.com),
Kenneth Hirschman (VP and General Counsel of Digital Impact),
Paula Selis (Senior Counsel, Washington State Attorney General), and
Christopher Murray (Legislative Counsel, Consumers Union).
Rep. Fred Upton
(R-MI), a cosponsor of HR 2214, stated that "This is a watershed
moment for this Congress. If we work together, I am confident
that, after many years of fits and starts, we may finally be in
a position to respond to our constituents' plea for help in
protecting their in-boxes ..." He added that "Efforts in the
last couple of Congresses have fallen short, particularly
because of squabbles between Committees of jurisdiction." The
Committees of jurisdiction are the House Commerce Committee and
the House Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Billy Tauzin
(R-LA), the Chairman of the full Committee, stated that "now we
will have a joint committee product". He added that he expects
action on the House floor this year.
Similarly, Rep. Bob
Goodlatte (R-VA), a cosponsor of HR 2214, stated at the
House Judiciary Committee's hearing on July 8 that "this bill
has great prospects for success" because of the support from the
leadership of both Committees.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the ranking
Democrat on the Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee, said that he wants
the Congress to also address "wireless spam". He said that "it is predictable
that spam will migrate to wireless services", where it will be "even more
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the
ranking Democrat on the full Committee, is a cosponsor of HR 2515, the Wilson
bill. He said that the Wilson bill is a "strong" bill, while the Burr bill "is
weaker in several important respects".
He criticized the Burr bill for placing monetary caps on damage awards in
state Attorney General actions. He also criticized the Burr bill for treating
one category of commercial e-mail differently the other. Said Dingell, "spam is
spam". He also argued that legislation should "contain a sufficiently broad
definition of ``affiliate´´ so that consumers are not required to opt out of
each affiliate within a giant corporation."
Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), who is
a cosponsor of HR 2515, stated that any spam legislation must include three
elements, "vigorous enforcement", a "workable definition of spam", and
"strong consumer protections". He elaborated that there must be an opportunity
to opt out, and that a single opt out should must cover all related entities.
Howard Beales testified on behalf of the FTC. He reviewed the FTC's ongoing
anti spam efforts and legislative proposals in his
He stated that "Effective spam legislation must address the following three
issues: First, legislation must address how to find the person sending the spam
messages. Although we believe that technological changes will most effectively
resolve this issue, we have proposed several procedural legislative changes that
can provide some assistance in our law enforcement investigations. Second,
legislation must deal with how to deter the person sending the spam messages.
As discussed below, the Commission believes that civil penalties, and possibly
criminal sanctions, would help address this issue. Finally, legislation must
determine what standards will govern non-deceptive, unsolicited commercial
email. The Commission believes that the appropriate standards would include
clear identification of the sender of a message and by empowering consumers to
end the flow of messages that they do not wish to receive."
Paul Misener of Amazon.com wrote in his
prepared testimony that "Amazon.com will support particular anti-spam
legislation only if it recognizes that legitimate businesses occasionally make
honest mistakes that should not be proscribed." He elaborated that "Because
commercial email necessarily involves computers and human programmers, there
have been and will continue to be occasional email mistakes, no matter how many
preventative measures are taken. Such truly honest mistakes are rare and
certainly are not the cause of the in-box clutter and associated consumer angst
that have led us all to this point. Not only are these mistakes expected and
essentially not preventable, the harm to consumers is minimal, and there already
are strong market forces at work: Reputable companies simply do not want to
irritate consumers who have asked not to be bothered. ... Proscribing such
mistakes would have the perverse effect of discouraging email use by the most
reputable -- and thereby most exposed -- companies."
He added that "Amazon.com believes that H.R. 2214 and H.R. 2515 would wisely
distinguish between actions that may plausibly be mistakes and those that almost
certainly involve unlawful intent. They would require plaintiffs complaining of
commercial email being sent after an opt-out choice to allege with particularity
that the defendant has engaged in a ``pattern or practice´´ of ignoring such
choices. No such pattern or practice allegation would be needed for complaints
regarding, e.g., false headers. Importantly, the ``pattern or practice´´
language in these House bills would not create a loophole for the real spammers
to escape punishment."
|House Passes Labor, HHS and Education
Appropriations Bill With CIPA Language
7/10. The House passed
the "Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related
Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004" by a vote of 215-208. See,
Roll Call No. 353.
The bill contains language implementing the
Internet Protection Act (CIPA) [20 pages in PDF]. On June 23, 2003, the
Supreme Court issued its
pages in PDF] in US v. American Library Association, upholding the
constitutionality of the CIPA, which provides that for
libraries to receive federal subsidies or grants, they must use internet
filtering technologies. See, story titled "Supreme Court Upholds Children's
Internet Protection Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 686, June 24, 2003
Section 516 of the bill provides that "None of the funds made available
by this Act to carry out the
Library Services and Technology Act may be made available to any library covered
by paragraph (1) of section 224(f) of such Act (20 U.S.C. 9134(f)), as amended
by the Children's Internet Protections Act, unless such library has made the
certifications required by paragraph (4) of such section."
Section 517 of the bill provides that "None of the funds made available by
this Act to carry out part D of
title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 may be made
available to any elementary or secondary school covered by paragraph (1) of
section 2441(a) of such Act (20 U.S.C. 6777(a)), as amended by the Children's
Internet Protections Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, unless the local
educational agency with responsibility for such covered school has made the
certifications required by paragraph (2) of such section."
|FCC Meeting Addresses WRC-03
7/10. The Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) heard a brief oral report at its July 10 meeting on the
Conference 2003, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland from June 9
through July 4. Don Abelson, Chief of the FCC's
International Bureau, and Alexander
Roytblat, the FCC's WRC Director, who where part of the U.S. delegation, spoke.
Kathleen Abernathy, who was also a member of the delegation, made a
statement [PDF]. She praised the WRC for reaching
consensus on "A set of global allocations of 455 MHz for wireless local area
network (WLAN) systems in the 5 GHz spectrum band" and "A secondary allocation
for aeronautical mobile satellite services in the 14-14.5 GHz band to provide
for the provision of internet and other data services on airplanes."
Commissioner Michael Copps
also made a
statement [PDF]. He said that "I know we are
still assessing the results of the conference, but it appears that we attained
several of our most important objectives and made notable progress across just
about the whole gamut of policy concerns that we took to Geneva. The 5 GHz Radio
Local Area Network item was surely one of the most important to be taken up and,
from what I understand, we got a livable compromise and then some for a mobile
service allocation here. We had a win on a global secondary allocation for
aeronautical mobile satellite service, so in-flight broadband service takes a
giant stride toward becoming reality."
Finally, FCC Chairman
Michael Powell gave Janice Obuchowski, who was the head of the U.S.
delegation, an award plaque.
|House and Senate
Committees Hold Hearings on Singapore and Chile FTAs
7/10. The House Ways and
Means Committee and the
Senate Finance Committee both
met to consider legislation implementing the
U.S Chile Free Trade
Agreement (FTA), which was signed on June 6, 2003, and the
U.S. Singapore FTA,
which was signed on May 6, 2003.
Both FTAs contain provisions regarding
electronic commerce, protection of intellectual property rights, and
telecommunications. See, stories titled "US and Chile Sign FTA" in TLJ Daily
E-Mail Alert No. 676, June 9, 2003, and "Bush and Goh Sign US Singapore FTA" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert
No. 656, May 7, 2003.
Pursuant to legislation passed in the 107th Congress giving the President
trade promotion authority, the Congress can either approve or reject, but not
amend, these FTAs. These two committees have primary jurisdiction over these
Both committees approved the parts of the draft bills over which they have
jurisdiction, without amendment, by voice vote. See, draft of
HR __, the "United States Singapore Free Trade Agreement Implementation
Act" and draft of
HR __, the "United States Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act".
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the ranking
Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee said in his
prepared statement [2 pages in PDF] that "By and large, I think
the two agreements stack up fairly
well against the negotiating objectives set out by Congress. They set a new
standard in many areas."
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the
Chairman of the Committee, said in his
opening statement [PDF] that "At the
heart of TPA procedures is consultation. Here I think President Bush and
Ambassador Zoellick have done an admirable job. The Congress was closely
consulted throughout the negotiating process on both agreements. The result is
two solid trade agreements which the vast majority of the Congress should be
able to support on a bipartisan basis."
Sen. Grassley also stated that "It is our objective to complete
consideration of both of these bills prior to the August recess."
The House and Senate Judiciary Committees have jurisdiction over
the visa provisions of these FTAs. The House Judiciary Committee held a long
mark up meeting on Wednesday, June 9 at which it approved the visa provisions of
these two FTAs.
|Spam Bills Pending in the House and Senate
7/11. The House Commerce Committee
and the House Judiciary Committee
held hearings on July 9 and July 8, respectively, on legislation pertaining to
spam e-mail. While these hearings focused on HR 2214
and HR 2515,
there are other spam related bills pending in the Congress. The following is a
HR 2214 (Burr).
was introduced on May 22, 2003, by Rep. Richard
Burr (R-NC). It is titled the "Reduction in Distribution of Spam Act of
2003" or "RID Spam Act". It
now has 27 cosponsors, including many leaders of the House Commerce Committee (HCC)
and the House Judiciary Committee (HJC). It cosponsors include
Rep. James Sensenbrenner
(R-WI), who is Chairman of the HJC, Rep.
Billy Tauzin (R-LA), who is Chairman of the HCC,
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who is
Chairman of the HCC's Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee,
Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who is
Chairman of the HCC's Consumer Protection Subcommittee.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who is
active on a wide range of technology related issues, is also a cosponsor. Most
of its cosponsors are Republicans.
Rep. Burr's (at right) bill would require that
commercial e-mail messages contain the identity
of the sender and an opt out mechanism. It would provide ISPs, states, and the
FTC with enforcement authority, but only in federal court. The bill creates no
private right of action, and prohibits class actions. The bill would also
criminalize sending commercial e-mail with a false identity of the sender,
oriented messages, and certain automated e-mail address harvesting practices.
The bill also contains a limited preemption clause.
See, story titled "Another Spam Bill Introduced in House" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 671, June
HR 2515 (Wilson).
was introduced on June 18, 2003 by Rep.
Heather Wilson (R-NM), who also introduced related bills in the 106th and 107th
Congresses. It is titled the "Anti-Spam Act of 2003".
It has 53 cosponsors. It has bipartisan support. While HR 2214 has the
support of most of the Republican leadership of the HCC and the HJC, HR 2515 has
the support of most of the Democratic leadership on the two Committees,
including Rep. John Conyers (D-MI),
the ranking Democrat on the HJC, Rep.
John Dingell (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the HCC, and
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the ranking
Democrat on the HCC's Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee.
Rep. Wilson's (at right) bill requires
senders of commercial e-mail to provide a valid return e-mail
address, and a valid street address, and provide recipients an opt out
opportunity. It prohibits sending commercial e-mail with false or misleading
header or subject line information. It prohibits sending certain commercial
e-mail to recipients based on use of electronically harvested e-mail lists. It
similarly prohibits dictionary attacks. It requires warning labels on sezually
explicit material. It then creates a private right of action for ISPs. It gives
civil enforcement authority to the FTC and the states.
The bill also creates criminal penalties for falsifying the sender's
identity, failing to label sezually explicit material, and sending e-mail based
on electronically harvested e-mail lists.
HR 1933 (Lofgren).
was introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren
(D-CA) on May 1, 2003. It is titled the "Restrict and Eliminate the Delivery of Unsolicited
Commercial Electronic Mail or Spam Act of 2003" or the "REDUCE Spam Act".
It has 26 cosponsors; all are Democrats.
This bill criminalizes intentionally sending unsolicited commercial
electronic mail messages with false header information. It also requires
labeling of commercial and adult unsolicited e-mail. It requires senders of
unsolicited commercial e-mail to provide a valid return address, and provide
recipients an opt out opportunity. It give civil enforcement authority to the
FTC. It also creates a private right of action for recipients and ISPs.
HR 122 (Holt).
was introduced on January 7, 2003 by Rep. Rush
Holt (D-NJ). It is titled the "Wireless Telephone Spam Protection Act".
It has 16 cosponsors, most of which are Democrats. It is a narrowly targeted
bill that deals with spam in wireless communications.
S 877 (Burns).
was introduced on April 10, 2003 by Sen. Conrad
Burns (R-MT). It is titled the "Can Spam Act". Sen. Burns and
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) have long been trying to pass
spam related legislation. The bill has 17 cosponsors from both parties.
The bill, as introduced, would create civil bans on sending unsolicited commercial
e-mail (UCE) with false header information, or with
intentionally false or misleading content. It would also require
UCE senders to include a return e-mail address, and ban sending
further UCE to persons who have objected to receiving more UCE.
It would also ban the practice of sending UCE to lists of
addresses that have been harvested from websites by automated
means. The bill would give enforcement authority to the Federal
Trade Commission (FTC), states, and internet access providers,
but not individuals. The bill would preempt state UCE laws, with
exceptions. See, story titled "Senators Burns and Wyden Re-Introduce Can Spam
Bill" in TLJ Daily
E-Mail Alert No. 643, Monday, April 14.
On June 19, 2003, the Senate
Commerce Committee approved an
the nature of a substitute [36 pages in PDF] that makes numerous changes. It
increases penalties for certain
practices of spammers, including dictionary attacks, the
establishment of numerous e-mail accounts to make spam more difficult to track
and block, and the hijacking of other computers or computer networks to send or
relay spam. It also increases damages available in suits brought by
states and internet service providers. The amendment provides
that when a recipient asks to be removed from a sender’s mailing list, the
sender also may not provide that recipient's e-mail address to a third
party. The amendment also expands the ban on sending unsolicited commercial e-mail
after a recipient has opted out to include both solicited and unsolicited
marketing e-mail. The amendment also modifies the federal preemption
language to allow states to continue to impose and enforce laws against
falsity and deception in spam.
In addition, Sen. Wyden stated at the Senate Commerce Committee mark up that
the bill's criminal provisions would be strengthened before passage by the full
Senate. See, story titled "Senate Commerce Committee Passes Spam Bill" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 685, June 20, 2003.
S 1293 (Hatch).
was introduced on June 19, 2003 by Sen. Orrin
Hatch (R-UT). It is titled the "Criminal Spam Act of 2003". It is
cosponsored by 11 Senators, including Sen.
Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
This bill only contains criminal provisions. The bill would criminalize accessing a protected
computer to send spam ("multiple commercial electronic mail messages"), using a
protected computer to relay or retransmit spam with intent to deceive either
recipients or ISPs, falsifying header information in spam, and registering
multiple e-mail accounts or domain names to send spam. See, story titled "Senators
Hatch & Leahy
Introduce Spam Crime Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 686, June 24, 2003.
S 1231 (Schumer).
was introduced on June 11, 2003 by Sen.
Charles Schumer (D-NY). It is titled the "Spam Act". It has only one
cosponsor, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
The bill would create a national no spam registry to
be maintained by the Federal Trade Commission
(FTC). The bill also requires certain UCE to be labeled, but provides an
exception for e-mail sent by members of self-regulatory organizations that have
been approved by the FTC. The bill also requires a return address and opt out
opportunity. The bill also prohibits false information, including in headers or
subject lines. The bill also bans the assembling of e-mail lists through automated address
harvesting. The bill gives enforcement authority to a wide range of governmental
entities, including the FTC, and states. It also
creates a private cause of action for individuals, but not as a class action.
See, story titled "Sen. Schumer Introduces Spam Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 682, June 17, 2003.
S 1327 (Corzine).
was introduced on June 25, 2003 by Sen. Jon Corzine
(D-NJ). It is titled the "Reduce Spam Act". It is the Senate companion bill to
HR 1933, sponsored by Rep. Lofgren. S 1327 has no cosponsors.
S 563 (Dayton).
was introduced on March 6, 2003 by Sen. Mark
Dayton (D-MN). It is titled the "Computer Owners' Bill of Rights". See,
story titled "Sen. Dayton Introduces Bill to Regulate Computer Technical Support
and Spam" in TLJ
Daily E-Mail Alert No. 622,
Thursday, March 13.
|Friday, July 11
The House will not meet.
The Federal Communications Commission's
(FCC) Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) will
hold a meeting. See,
notice in the Federal Register, June 25, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 122, at Pages
37824 - 37825. Location: FCC, Room TW-C305, 445 12th Street, SW.
Day two of a two day conference titled "Municipal Broadband". Ed Thomas,
Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)
Office of Engineering
and Technology (OET) is schedule to speak at 8:30 AM. The price to attend is
$895. For more information, call 206 621-1938. Location: Pier 5 Hotel, Inner
Harbor, Baltimore, MD.
The Commerce Department's Bureau of
Industry and Security (BIS) will host a one day seminar titled
Export Management Systems (EMS). The BIS charges for admission. Location:
|Monday, July 14
The House will meet at 10:30 AM.
2:00 PM. The Senate Judiciary
Committee will hold a hearing to examine
temporary entry provisions of the proposed free trade agreements with Chile
and Singapore. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
|Tuesday, July 15
10:00 AM. Federal Reserve Board
Greenspan will testify before the
House Financial Services
Committee. He will deliver his semiannual report on monetary policy. See,
notice. Press contact: Peggy Peterson
or Scott Duncan at 202 226-0471. Location: Room 2128, Rayburn Building.
Deadline to submit to the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) outlines of topics to be discussed at the IRS's September
10, 2003, hearing on proposed regulations relating to the definition of toll
telephone service for purposes of the communications excise tax. See,
notice in the Federal Register, June 17, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 116, at Pages
35828 - 35829.
|Wednesday, July 16
The Federal Communications Commission's
Safety National Coordination Committee's
(PSNCC) subcommittees will hold 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, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C305 (Commission Meeting Room).
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The House
Science Committee will hold a hearing titled "Supercomputing: Is the
U.S. on the Right Path?" Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM. Federal Reserve Board
Greenspan will testify before the
Senate Banking Committee.
Location: Room 538, Dirksen Building.
10:30 AM. The
House International Relations Committee will hold a hearing titled "Intellectual
Property Crimes: Are Proceeds From Counterfeited Goods Funding Terrorism?"
Location: Room 2172, Rayburn Building.
12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) International Practice Committee
and the Computer & Telecommunications Law Section of the D.C. Bar Association
will host a brown bag lunch (with admission charges) titled "Is There
a Worldwide Consensus on Implementing New Wireless Services? - A Debriefing of
the 2003 World Radiocommunications Conference". The scheduled
speakers include John Giusti (FCC's International Bureau), Jennifer Manner
(Legal Advisor to FCC Commissioner Abernathy), Cecily Holiday (State
Department), Karl Nebbia (NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management), James
Voorhies (NTIA International Spectrum Plans Program Manager), Audrey Allison
(Boeing), Jennifer Warren (Lockheed Martin). The moderators will be Lisa Choi
(FCC's International Bureau), and Troy Tanner (Swidler Berlin). Location:
Wilmer Cutler &
Pickering, 2400 N St., NW, Concourse Level. For more information contact
|Thursday, July 17
9:30 AM. The
Senate Commerce Committee will
meet to consider pending calendar business. Location: Room 253, Russell
9:30 AM - 2:30 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's
(FCC) Public Safety
National Coordination Committee (PSNCC) will hold a general membership meeting.
notice in the Federal Register, June 20, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 119, at Pages
6989 - 36990. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C305 (Commission Meeting Room).
|Friday, July 18
Deadline to submit comments to the Federal
Trade Commission (FTC) regarding its proposed consent agreement with
Guess?, Inc. and Guess.com, Inc. (Guess) pertaining to the FTC's allegations
of false or misleading representations Guess made to consumers about the
security of personal information collected online through
www.guess.com, Guess' online store. See,
notice in the Federal Register, June 24, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 121, at Pages
37496 - 37498.
|Ways and Means Committee Holds Hearing on
Abuse of SSNs
7/10. The House Ways and
Means Committee's Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on
use and misuse of social security numbers.
Barbara Bovbjerg of the General Accounting Office
of the GAO titled "Social Security Numbers: Ensuring the Integrity
of the SSN". The GAO wrote that "Because SSNs are unique identifiers and do
not change, the numbers provide a convenient and efficient means of managing
records. They are also particularly useful for data sharing and data matching
because agencies can use them to check or compare their information quickly and
accurately with that from other agencies."
In addition, "some private sector entities also rely extensively on the SSN.
Businesses often request an individual’s SSN in exchange for goods or services.
For example, some businesses use the SSN as a key identifier to assess credit
risk, track patient care among multiple providers, locate bankruptcy assets, and
provide background checks on new employees. In some cases, businesses require
individuals to submit their SSNs to comply with federal laws such as the tax
code. Currently, there is no law that prohibits businesses from requiring a
person’s SSN as a condition of providing goods and services."
The GAO continued that "The extensive public and private sector uses of SSNs
and availability of public records and other information, especially via the
Internet, has allowed individuals' personal information to be aggregated into
multiple databases or centralized locations. In the course of our work, we have
identified numerous examples where public and private databases have been
compromised and personal data, including SSNs, has been stolen."
Also, "Because SSNs are often the identifier of choice among individuals
seeking to create false identities, to the extent that personal information is
aggregated in public and private sector databases it becomes vulnerable to
The GAO concluded that "The use of SSNs by both public and sector entities is
likely to continue given that it is used as the key identifier by most of these
entities and there is currently no other widely accepted alternative. To help
control such use, certain laws have helped to safeguard such personal
information, including SSNs, by limiting disclosure of such information to
specific purposes. To the extent that personal information is aggregated in
public and private sector databases, it becomes vulnerable to misuse. In
addition, to the extent that public record information becomes more available in
an electronic format, it becomes more vulnerable to misuse. The ease of access
the Internet affords could encourage individuals to engage in information
gathering from public records on a broader scale than they could before when
they had to visit a physical location and request or search for information on a
Chris Hoofnagle of the Electronic Privacy Information Center
(EPIC) wrote in his
testimony that "Without a framework of restrictions on the collection and
use of the SSN and other personal identifiers, identity theft will continue to
increase, endangering individuals' privacy and perhaps the security of the
nation. The best legislative strategy is one that discourages the collection and
dissemination of the SSN and that encourages organizations to develop
alternative systems of record identification and verification. It is
particularly important that such legislation not force consumers to make unfair
or unreasonable choices that essentially require trading the privacy interest in
the SSN for some benefit or opportunity."
prepared testimony of James Huse (Inspector General of the Social Security Administration),
prepared testimony of Steve Edwards (Georgia Bureau of Investigations), and
prepared testimony of Theodore Wern (Identity Theft Resource Center).
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