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July 11, 2003, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 696.
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House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on Spam Bill

7/8. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime held a hearing on HR 2214, the Reduction in Distribution of Spam Act of 2003.

Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), the Chairman of the Subcommittee, presided. See, opening statement. See also, prepared testimony of witnesses: Jerry 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 that area."

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 feasible."

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 of censorship".

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 prepared testimony 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.

Rep. Bob GoodlatteHowever, 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 Spam Bills

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 HR 2214, sponsored by Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC), and HR 2515, sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM).

See, prepared testimony of witnesses: Howard Beales (Director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection), 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,, 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 burdensome".

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 prepared testimony.

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 wrote in his prepared testimony that " 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 " 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 HR 2660 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 Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) [20 pages in PDF]. On June 23, 2003, the Supreme Court issued its opinion [56 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 World Radio 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. See also, FCC release.

FCC Commissioner 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 FTAs.

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.

People and Appointments

7/10. Joseph Simons resigned as Director of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Bureau of Competition (BOC), effective August 1, 2003. The BOC handles antitrust matters. Susan Creighton, who is currently Deputy Director of the FTC's BOC, will become the Director. Before joining the FTC in August of 2001, Creighton was a partner in the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati where she focused on intellectual property and antitrust matters. She co-authored with Gary Reback a white paper regarding antitrust matters relating to Microsoft that preceded action by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice against Microsoft. Barry Nigro will become the Deputy Director of the FTC's BOC. He is currently a partner with the law firm of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson. See, FTC release.

7/10. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Allyson Duncan to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. The nomination still requires approval by the full Senate.

7/10. Julie Veach was named Assistant Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau's (WCB) Competition Policy Division. She has worked at the FCC since January of 2001. Before that she worked for the law firm of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering. But, she will be on parental leave. So, Jeremy Miller was named Acting Assistant Chief of the Competition Policy Division. Before joining the FCC in 2001 he worked for the law firm of Hogan & Hartson. See, FCC release [PDF].

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 summary.

HR 2214 (Burr). HR 2214 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. Richard BurrRep. 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, certain sezually 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 2, 2003.

HR 2515 (Wilson). HR 2515 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. Heather WilsonRep. 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). HR 1933 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). HR 122 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). S 877 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 amendment in 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). S 1293 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). S 1231 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). S 1327 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). S 563 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: Washington DC.

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 Chairman Alan 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 (FCC)  Public 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 Chairman Alan 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 laurabsherman

Thursday, July 17

9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will meet to consider pending calendar business. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

9:30 AM - 2:30 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)  Public Safety National Coordination Committee (PSNCC) will hold a general membership meeting. See, 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, 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, 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 (GAO) submitted prepared testimony 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 misuse."

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 case-by-case basis."

Chris Hoofnagle of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) wrote in his prepared 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."

See also, 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).

More News

7/7. The U.S. District Court (SDNY) published its Opinion and Order [14 pages in PDF] in Securities and Exchange Commission v. WorldCom approving settlement between the SEC and WorldCom.

7/10. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced, but did not release, an order creating an Office of Homeland Security within the Enforcement Bureau. James Dailey was named Director of the office. See, FCC release.

7/10. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced, but did not release, a Report and Order requiring wireless manufacturers and service providers to make digital wireless phones accessible to people who use hearing aids. See, FCC release [PDF].

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