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July 29, 2003, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 706.
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Rep. Bono Introduces Spyware Bill

7/25. Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) introduced HR 2929 [PDF], the "Safeguard Against Privacy Invasions Act", a bill to prohibit the distribution of certain spyware programs over the internet without notice and consent.

Rep. Mary BonoRep. Bono (at right) issued a release which states the nature of the problem addressed by the bill. It states that "When users surf the Internet, they often unintentionally download invasive spyware. Just visiting a web site can sometimes result in a ``drive-by download,´´ meaning the spyware is installed on the PC simply by clicking on a website. More often, consumers unknowingly agree to download spyware systems when they accept software licensing agreements while downloading software from the Internet."

The bill was referred to the House Commerce Committee, of which both Rep. Bono and Rep. Towns are members.

The bill gives rule making and civil enforcement authority to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and criminal enforcement authority to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Definition of Spyware. What constitutes spyware is not settled. Moreover, some programs, that consumer advocates describe as spyware, is described otherwise by its producers and distributors.

The bill, as currently written, does little to clarify the issue. The bill provides that "The term ``spyware program´´ means any computer program or software that can be used to transmit from a computer, or that has the capability of so transmitting, by means of the Internet and without any action on the part of the user of the computer to initiate such transmission, information regarding the user of the computer, regarding the use of the computer, or that is stored on the computer."

The bill would leave it to the FTC to write rules that identify what spyware is.

Definition of Computer. The bill contains no definition of the term "computer". Rather, it applies the very broad definition used in 18 U.S.C. § 1030 (which pertains to computer hacking).

Subsection 1030(e)(1) provides that "the term ``computer´´ means an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical, or other high speed data processing device performing logical, arithmetic, or storage functions, and includes any data storage facility or communications facility directly related to or operating in conjunction with such device, but such term does not include an automated typewriter or typesetter, a portable hand held calculator, or other similar device;".

Thus, the bill would appear to cover certain PDAs, cell phones, and other devices that have access to the internet, that now exist, or have yet to be invented.

Prohibitions. The bill contains two key subsections with prohibitions.

First, subsection 2(a) provides that the FTC "shall, by regulation, prohibit the transmission of a spyware program to a covered computer by means of the Internet, unless the user of the covered computer expressly consents to such transmission in response to a clear and conspicuous request for such consent or through an affirmative request for such transmission."

Second, subsection 2(c), which addresses spyware that collects personally identifying information, provides that the FTC "shall, by regulation, prohibit the use of any spyware program that is transmitted to a covered computer by means of the Internet for collecting any personally identifiable information from the covered computer, unless notice that the program will be used for such collection is provided -- (1) in any license, contract, or other agreement covering the spyware program or the information, program, or communication together with which, or in connection with which, the spyware program is transmitted; and (2) in another prominent location, as the Commission shall provide."

Also, subsection 2(b) does not contain a prohibition, but rather, requires the FTC to establish requirements in cases where the transmission of the spyware program requires an affirmative action to agree to a license. It provides that the FTC "shall, by regulation, establish requirements for the transmission of a spyware program to a covered computer, by means of the Internet, in any case in which the transmission of the spyware program, or any information, program, or communication together or in connection with which the spyware program is transmitted, requires any affirmative action on the part of the user of the covered computer to agree to a license, contract, or other agreement which is made available on the World Wide Web ..."

Subsection 2(b) further provides that "The terms of such license, contract, or agreement shall be set forth on a World Wide Web page and the mechanism by which the user of the covered computer agrees to such license, contract, or agreement shall be included on the same page." Moreover, it provides that "The terms of the license, contract, or other agreement shall -- (A) include provisions, that are clearly stated and prominently displayed, which specify that agreement to such license, contract, or other agreement constitutes consent to transmission of the spyware for purposes of subsection (a); and (B) clearly explain the purpose of including the spyware." Finally, it provides that "The name of the person or entity transmitting the spyware, a valid physical street address of such person or entity, and a functioning return electronic mail address for such person or entity shall be included on the World Wide Web page referred to in paragraph (1)."

Enforcement. The bill provides that violations would constitute "an unfair or deceptive act" within the meaning of the FTC Act. The FTC would have authority to enforce any such violation of the FTC Act.

In addition, the bill provides that whoever "(1) violates section 2(c) or the regulations issued under such section, or (2) knowingly violates any other provision of this Act or any regulation issued under this Act, shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both."

Activities Not Addressed By The Bill. The bill only covers spyware programs that are transmitted via the internet. Hence, spyware programs that are preinstalled by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), or installed by a computer user from a CD, would not be affected by this bill. And of course, only programs are covered. Other means of surveillance of computer use are not covered.

The bill does not contain a law enforcement authority exception. Nor does the bill address monitoring by employers of employees' computer use in the workplace. Nor does the bill address the situation where multiple persons use the same computer.

Representatives Introduce Bill to Protect Children from P2P Smut

7/24. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), Rep. Chris John (D-LA), Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK), Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), and Rep. Jim DeMint (R-SC) introduced HR 2885, the "Protecting Children from Peer-to-Peer Pormography Act of 2003".

Rep. Joe Pitts

Rep. Pitts stated in a release that "Our legislation gives parents the tools they need to protect their children from pornography and threats to privacy posed by peer-to-peer file trading networks. By working together to protect children, we are building a broad and bipartisan coalition".

The bill recites in its findings that "Peer-to-peer systems are emerging as a conduit for the distribution of pormographic images and videos, including child pormography. Child pormography is easily found and downloaded using peer-to-peer systems."

The bill provides that "It is unlawful for any person to distribute peer-to-peer file trading software, or to authorize or cause peer-to-peer file trading software to be distributed by another person, in interstate commerce in a manner that violates the regulations prescribed under subsection (b)(2)." Subsection (b)(2), in turn, requires the FTC to write regulations that impose eleven requirements.

Parental Consent. For example, it requires that the FTC to "require any person who distributes, or authorizes or causes another person to distribute, peer-to-peer file trading software in interstate commerce to ... obtain verification of majority, or if a recipient is a juvenile obtain verifiable parental consent, before the peer-to-peer file trading software is provided to the recipient ..."

Firewall Circumvention. Subsection (b)(2) also requires that P2P software that is capable of circumventing security measures, such as firewalls, not activate that capability unless the user first receives notice of that capability.

Specifically, it provides that "if the peer-to-peer file trading software has the capability of disabling or circumventing security or other protective software on, or features of, the user's computer or network, including a firewall, software that protects against viruses or other malicious code or a do-not-install beacon or other parental control, ensure that such peer-to-peer file trading software does not exercise that capability unless the user receives clear and prominent notice thereof and thereafter takes affirmative steps to enable that capability;".

Disable and Uninstall Capabilities. Subsection 2(b) also requires the FTC to "ensure that the peer-to-peer file trading software has the capability to be readily disabled or uninstalled by a user thereof, and prominent means to access clear information concerning the availability and use of that capability

The bill would also require the FTC to write rules defining the term peer to peer software. The bill would give enforcement authority to both the FTC and to state attorneys general.

Commentary: Spyware and P2P Smut Bills Would Also Restrict P2P Infringement

7/29. On July 24, 2003 Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) and others introduced HR 2885, the "Protecting Children from Peer-to-Peer Pormography Act of 2003". On July 25, Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA) introduced HR 2929 [PDF], the "Safeguard Against Privacy Invasions Act". While the former bill would assist parents in protecting their children from being exposed unwittingly to pormography, and the later bill would enhance the ability of internet users to protect their privacy from the operators of spyware systems, both bills would also have the effect burdening the production and distribution of peer to peer file sharing software (P2P), and hence, limit P2P music and movie piracy.

These bills might therefore also be classified as anti piracy bills along with two other bills introduced in the House this month: HR 2752, the "Author, Consumer, and Computer Owner Protection and Security (ACCOPS) Act of 2003", introduced on July 16 by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and others, and HR 2517, the "Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2003", introduced on July 19 by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and others.

The Conyers Berman ACCOPS bill would amend the Copyright Act and the criminal code to protect digital works from online infringement. It would, among other things, criminalize the unauthorized placement of copyrighted works on P2P networks, and criminalize offering certain P2P software without first giving notice of the privacy and security risks. See, story titled "Conyers and Berman Introduce Bill to Criminalize Placing Copyrighted Works on P2P Networks" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 702, July 21, 2003.

The Smith bill would enhance the government's resources for prosecuting intellectual property crimes, and involve the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) in educating and warning the public regarding internet based copyright infringement. See, TLJ story titled "House CIIP Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Piracy Deterrence and Education Act", July 17, 2003.

Congressional Hearings on P2P Networks, Privacy and Pormography. The issues of privacy and pormography on P2P networks has been addressed at previous Congressional hearings. There is a record of testimony to support the Bono and Pitts bills.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on June 17, 2003 titled "The Dark Side of a Bright Idea: Could Personal and National Security Risks Compromise the Potential of Peer to Peer File Sharing Networks". The members and witnesses focused on privacy and pormography, and barely touched national security issues. See, story titled "Senate Committee Holds Hearing on P2P Networks" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 683, June 18, 2003.

Witnesses discussed the problem of pormography on P2P networks that is often disguised a popular music files, thus causing children to unwittingly be exposed. They also addressed the harms of spyware in P2P software.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) stated in his opening statement on June 17 that "I am also troubled that many P2P networks require their users to install so-called ``spyware´´ or ``adware´´ -- programs that monitor, collect, and report information about the Internet ``browsing´´ habits of a particular user."

On March 13, 2003, the House Government Reform Committee held a hearing that focused on the prevalence of pormography on P2P networks. See, record of the hearing [123 pages in PDF].

Bono Spyware Bill. HR 2929 [PDF], Rep. Bono's spyware bill, does not reference P2P networks, copyrights or piracy. However, spyware is incorporated into P2P software. Thus, while Rep. Bono's bill works to protect user privacy, it would also burden P2P software makers and distributors with regulations that would likely decrease the distribution of P2P software.

Chris Murray, Legislative Counsel for the Consumers Union, testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee's June 17 hearing. He wrote in his prepared testimony that "A more troubling privacy and security issue facing P2P networks, however, is the invasive, nonconsensual use of ``spyware´´ and ``adware´´ programs. Spyware is a generic term that describes software whose purpose is to collect demographic and usage information from a person's computer, typically for advertising purposes. Not all adware is spyware. Spyware programs target advertisements based on a user's location, browsing habits, search engine queries and other criteria, while adware programs display advertising, but do not track or report a computer user's behavior."

Murray added that "In the case of Kazaa's spyware, I see this to be an issue of public domain software that is advertising supported. When a business has no income stream other whatever data it can sell and whatever advertising it can serve, we have a recipe for egregious violations of users' security and privacy. But this recipe exists in many business models beyond P2P."

Murray also made the point that "while peer-to-peer programs commonly bundle spyware and adware with their products, alarmingly, so do more mainstream software companies such as Microsoft, AOL, and RealNetworks."

However, Rep. Bono's bill only covers spyware that is transmitted over the internet. Hence, any spyware that is incorporated in Microsoft's Media Player, that is preinstalled by an OEM, is not covered by Rep. Bono's bill. Similarly, any spyware incorporated in AOL's or Netscape's browsers, that is either preinstalled by an OEM, or installed from a CD, is not covered by Rep. Bono's bill. What is covered by Rep. Bono's bill is spyware incorporated in P2P software.

(Alan Murray, EVP of Sharman Networks, which distributes the Kazaa Media Desktop software, asserted in his prepared testimony at the June 17 hearing that "Kazaa has a firm ``No Spyware´´ policy to protect users against software that is either surreptitiously installed or which covertly gathers user information.")

Pitts Pormography Bill. Similarly, Rep. Pitts' bill, while it addresses P2P networks, does not reference infringement on those networks. However, the restrictions placed upon the makers of P2P software contained in the bill would likely reduce the distribution of P2P software, and hence, reduce infringement on P2P networks. The bill would also have the effect of requiring P2P software distributions to rewrite their software, thus adding to their costs of doing business.

The bill provides enforcement authority to the FTC and state attorneys general. It further contains provisions to facilitate FTC and state actions. However, these same provisions would make it easier for the recording and movie industries to bring suits against P2P software distributors or users for infringement.

For example, the bill requires the FTC to write regulations that provide that if the distributor of P2P software does not reside in the U.S., it must designate a resident agent in the U.S. Since many P2P companies locate abroad for the purpose of escaping the reach of the U.S. courts in copyright actions, this provision would assist music and movie industry plaintiffs.

Similarly, the bill requires the FTC to write regulations requiring P2P software distributors to verify age, obtain parental consent, and comply with the provisions of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which is codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 6501-6506. Finally, the bill requires the FTC to write regulations requiring that each distributor "maintain reasonable records of its compliance with the requirements set forth in this paragraph". These records would assist the FTC and states attorneys general in enforcing the statute and the regulations. However, these records may also be the subject of subpoenas and pretrial discovery requests in suits brought by the recording or movie industries for copyright infringement. These records might contain information about individual infringers that would assist movie and record companies in bringing civil actions for infringement against these individual infringers.

People and Appointments

7/28. Mitch Bainwol was named Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). He was previously Chief of Staff to Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), the Senate Majority Leader.

7/25. Bruce Artim was named Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has worked for the Committee since 1995. He replaces Makan Delrahim, who was named one of the Deputy Assistant Attorneys General in the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. See, Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-UT) release.

7/24. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Sheila Anthony wrote a letter to President Bush in which she tendered her resignation, effective August 1, 2003.

7/28. Armando Irizarry and Thomas Mays were named Counsel for Intellectual Property in the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Competition Bureau. Irizarry is a law professor at Michigan State University. Before that, he worked for the law firm of Fish & Neave. Mays has previously worked as the Director of the Office of Technology Development at the National Institute of Health's (NIH) National Cancer Institute, and at the law firm of Morrison and Forester. Mays also holds a doctorate in microbiology. Irizarry and Mays join Suzanne Michel, who is the FTC's Chief Counsel of Intellectual Property, and Lore Unt, who is a Counsel for Intellectual Property. See, FTC release.

Representatives Introduce DTV Transition Bill

7/23. Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), and others introduced HR 2825, the "Consumer Access to Digital Television Enhancement Act". The bill would require the FCC to promptly revise its regulations to implement the MOU between cable and consumer electronics companies announced last December. The FCC adopted a NPRM in January, has received comments, but has not yet acted. The bill would also require that TVs marketed as "digital cable-ready" be able to receive digital television broadcast signals transmitted over the air. Finally, the bill would require the FCC to revise its regulations for broadcast signal strength by establishing minimum power levels by July 1, 2004.

Rep. Lee Terry

Rep. Terry (at right) stated in a release that "Congress can help accelerate the arrival of this new era by eliminating many of the obstacles currently hindering access to digital TV. This bill is fast-track legislation for digital television."

Rep. Boucher stated that "Our legislation breaks the logjam between the three industries and is vital for the transition to bring digital television to consumers. The real winners are the consumers ... who will finally be able to buy DTVs that connect directly to digital cable without a set-top box, and enjoy convenient access to HDTV offered by cable providers."

MOU Between Cable and Consumer Electronics Companies. On December 19, 2003, fourteen consumer electronics companies and seven cable operators announced that they entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding a national plug and play standard between digital television (DTV) products and digital cable systems. See, document [78 pages in PDF] consisting of the MOU, proposed rules to be promulgated by the FCC, and a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell and others.

The parties to the MOU recommend a "set of technical standards for cable systems and ``cable ready´´ DTV products (and testing procedures to assure compatibility); a proposed regulatory framework for support of digital TV receivers, digital recorders with secure interfaces and other devices on cable systems; a draft security technology license to ensure that high-value content can be transferred securely in the home network by consumers; and ``encoding rules´´ to resolve pending copyright based concerns about home recording and viewing." See, NCTA release and substantially similar CEA release.

See also, story titled "Cable and Consumer Electronics Companies Announce DTV Agreement" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 572, December 20, 2002.

On January 7, 2003, the FCC adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding this MOU. This is CS Docket 97-80, and PP Docket 00-67. The FNPRM is 90 pages, and is available in the FCC web site in four parts in PDF: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

The FNPRM states that "the consumer electronics and cable industries are engaged in ongoing inter-industry discussions seeking to establish a so-called ``cable plug and play´´ standard. Such a standard would allow consumers to directly attach their DTV receivers to cable systems and receive cable television services without the need for an external navigation device."

The FNPRM further references the December 19, 2002 MOU and proposed regulations, and asks for public comments. See, story titled "FCC Seeks Comments on Cable TV Plug and Play MOU" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 581, January 13, 2003.

The FCC has yet to act on this RNPRM or to promulgate the rules changes proposed by the cable and consumer electronics industries. HR 2825 would require the FCC to promptly implement the MOU and accompanying regulations.

The bill provides that "Within 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications Commission shall, by regulation, adopt and implement the regulations proposed in the memorandum of understanding between the cable and consumer electronics industries filed with the Commission on December 19, 2002, as contained in the Commission’s notice of proposed rulemaking concerning compatibility between cable systems and consumer electronics equipment (FCC 03–3; adopted January 7, 2003)."

Off-Air Digital TV Reception Capability in Digital Cable Ready TVs. The bill also provides that these regulations shall "require that all television receivers marketed or labeled as ``digital cable-ready´´ include the capability to receive off-the-air digital television broadcast signals transmitted in conformance with part 73 of the Commission's rules."

This provision goes beyond the MOU.

Minimum Required Power Levels for Off the Air Digital TV Signals. Finally, the bill provides that within 90 of passage, the FCC "shall revise its regulations to establish minimum power levels and deadlines for achieving such power levels for any television broadcasting facility transmitting a digital broadcast signal. Such regulations, at a minimum, shall require broadcasters to transmit a digital signal at sufficient power to ensure that its digital broadcast service matches the Grade A service contour of its NTSC broadcast signal by no later than July 1, 2004. Nothing in this Act shall limit the Commission’s authority to prescribe higher power levels consistent with the objective of concluding the transition to digital television by December 31, 2006."

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is pleased with the bill. Gary Shapiro, P/CEO of the CEA, wrote in a letter to Rep. Terry that "By supporting swift FCC action on the cable-consumer electronics compatibility agreement, your bill will help remove the final major obstacle to the ubiquitous deployment of DTV. This voluntary industry agreement will establish technical, marketplace and regulatory certainty for the cable and CE industries, and allow for the national portability of digital cable products." See, CEA release.

The other original cosponsors of the bill are Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Butch Otter (R-ID), Rep. Al Wynn (D-MD), Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Rep. Charles Bass (R-NH), Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), and Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY).

The bill was referred to the House Commerce Committee. Rep. Terry, Rep. Boucher, and all of the original cosponsors are members of the Committee. However, neither the Chairman, nor the ranking Democrat, on either the full Committee, or the Telecom Subcommittee, are original cosponsors.

Tuesday, July 29

9:30 AM. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on several nominations, including Penrose Albright to be Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Plans, Programs and Budgets, and Joel Kaplan to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.

? 9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee might hold an executive business meeting. The agenda includes consideration of several judicial nominations, including Henry Saad (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit), Larry Alan Burns (Southern District of California), Glen Conrad (Western District of Virginia), Henry Floyd (District of South Carolina), Kim Gibson (Western District of Pennsylvania), Michael Mosman (District of Oregon), and Dana Sabraw (Southern District of California). Press contact: Margarita Tapia at 202 224-5225 or David Carle (Leahy) at 202 224-4242. This Committee frequently changes the time and agenda of its meetings without notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

2:30 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship will hold a hearing on the L1 visa program, under which an alien who has specialized knowledge or holds a managerial or executive position in a business may obtain a visa to work temporarily in the U.S. to work for an affiliate or subsidiary business. Press contact: Margarita Tapia at 202 224-5225. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

Wednesday, July 30

9:30 AM. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on pending nominations. The agenda includes the nomination of former Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD) to be the U.S. representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). See, notice. Location: Room 419, Dirksen Building.

The Senate Finance Committee will meet to consider several pending nominations, including James Jochum (to be Assistant Secretary, Department of Commerce) and Josette Shiner (to be a Deputy U.S. Trade Representative). Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). The speakers will include Thomas Navin (Deputy Division Chief of the Competition Policy Division of the Wireline Competition Bureau of the FCC). For more information, contact Patrick Sullivan at or 202 303-1164, or Ryan Wallach at or 202 303-1159. Location: Willkie Farr & Gallagher, 1875 K Street, NW, Second Floor.

Thursday, July 31

9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a business meeting. See, notice. Press contact: Rebecca Hanks (McCain) 202 224-2670 or Andy Davis (Hollings) at 202 224-6654. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

? 9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee might hold an executive business meeting. Press contact: Margarita Tapia (Hatch) at 202 224-5225 or David Carle (Leahy) at 202 224-4242. This Committee frequently changes the time and agenda of its meetings without notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The President's Export Council subcommittee on Export Administration (PECSEA) will hold a meeting. See, notice in the Federal Register: July 15, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 135, at Page 41782. Location: Room 3884, Department of Commerce, 14th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues, NW.

Deadline to submit applications for loans or combination loans and grants to the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) under its FY2003 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program. See, notice in Federal Register, March 3, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 41, at Page 9973.

2:30 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee's Communications Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The witnesses will be Nancy Victory (National Telecommunications and Information Administration), Paul Twomey (P/CEO of ICANN), Ari Balough (SVP of VeriSign), Alan Davidson (Center for Democracy and Technology), and Paul Stahura (CEO of eNom). Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) will preside. See, notice. Press contact: Rebecca Hanks (McCain) 202 224-2670 or Andy Davis (Hollings) at 202 224-6654. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

Monday, August 4

The Senate is scheduled to begin its August recess.

More News

7/24. The U.S. District Court (DConn) sentenced Aleksey Vladimirovich Ivanov to serve a term of imprisonment of 48 months, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. He previously plead guilty to charges of conspiracy, computer intrusion, computer fraud, credit card fraud, wire fraud, and extortion. The Office of the U.S. Attorney (USAO) stated in a release [PDF] that Ivanov "hacked into dozens of computers throughout the United States, stealing usernames, passwords, credit card information, and other financial data, and then extorting those victims with the threat of deleting their data and destroying their computer systems." Ivanov operated from Russia, but was arrested after he was lured into the U.S. for a job interview with an FBI front company. The USAO further stated that Ivanov was responsible for "an aggregate loss of approximately $25 million". Thus, if he serves his full sentence, he will spend one day behind bars for every $17,111 of harm that he caused.

7/28. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that "As of Monday morning, July 28, 2003, consumers have registered a total of 28.7 million telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry: 23 million or 80 percent of those registrations have been made on the Internet, and 5.7 million or 20 percent via the telephone."

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