|House and Senate Pass Nanotech R&D Bill
11/20. The House passed
S 189, the
"21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act", by a voice vote.
The Senate amended and passed the bill on November 18.
The bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Ron
Wyden (D-OR), Sen. George Allen
(R-VA) and others, would authorize the appropriation of nearly $4 Billion
for nanotechnology research and development programs at a variety of federal
There was also a House version of the bill,
sponsored by Rep. Sherwood Boehlert
(R-NY), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), and
others. Rep. Boehlert, who is the Chairman of the
House Science Committee, stated in a
release that "The U.S. is the leader in
nanotechnology and must remain so as this new field starts remaking the
marketplace. The nanotechnology program will be a model of government,
university, industry cooperation, and of coordination, interdisciplinary
research and public involvement."
Rep. Honda (at right)
stated that "Nanotechnology is one of the areas of innovation most worthy of
investment, as it has the potential to create entirely new industries and
radically transform the basis of competition in others."
S 189 would authorize funding over four years (FY 2005-2008) for
nanotechnology R&D programs at the National Science
Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce's (DOC)
National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). The NSF would be receive the largest portion of the
The bill has gone through several revisions since it was introduced in
February. See, stories titled "Senate Commerce Committee Approves Nanotech R&D
Bill" in TLJ Daily
E-Mail Alert No. 685, June 20, 2003; "Senate Commerce Committee Holds
Hearing on Nanotechnology" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 654, May 2, 2003; "House Science Committee Holds Hearing on
TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 641, April 10, 2003; and "Representatives
Introduce Bill To Authorize Nanotech R&D Funding" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 606, February 18, 2003.
Under Secretary of Commerce
Phillip Bond issued a
release that states that "The legislation passed by Congress enacts the
President's National Nanotechnology Initiative and authorizes $3.7 billion over
the next four years for the program. The legislation also requires the creation
of research centers, education and training efforts, research into the societal
and ethical consequences of nanotechnology, and efforts to transfer technology
into the marketplace."
Bond is head of the Department of Commerce's
(DOC) Technology Administration, which includes the NIST, which will be a major
beneficiary of this bill.
|Senators Introduce Bill to Require Expensing
of Stock Options Granted to Officers
11/19. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY),
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), and others
introduced S 1890 [7 pages in
PDF], the Stock Option Accounting Act, a bill that would require the expensing
of stock options for only the top five executives of companies, and exempt small
businesses and start ups.
Enzi (at right) stated in the Senate that, "Simply put, at the end of the day,
if FASB is going to earn its independence, it will have to adhere to a process
that is objective, fair, open and balanced. So far, FASB seems to be more
concerned about getting the job done -- than in getting it right. That is why I
am offering legislation that will expense the stock options given to the top
five executives of a company, exempt small businesses and start up companies,
and set conditions for the expensing of broad-based options for the remaining
employees. I treat the three groups differently in this matter because a very
real and strong accounting distinction exists between the two types of workers."
See, Congressional Record, November 19, 2003, at Page S15188.
Sen. Reid stated that "We have to protect investors and stockholders by
ensuring that our Nation's accounting standards are transparent, open and
balanced. At the same time, we don't want to choke the entrepreneurial spirit of
start-up companies with too much bureaucratic red tape. This legislation
achieves just the right balance. It gives regulators a framework to protect the
integrity of the accounting process, but it doesn't stifle free enterprise."
The other original cosponsors of the bill are
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV),
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA),
Sen. George Allen (R-VA),
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA),
Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO),
Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), and
Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR).
The bill was referred to the Senate
Banking Committee, of which Sen. Enzi is a member. See also, Sen. Enzi's
summary of the bill.
|FCC Denies Petition for Stay of Number
11/20. The Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) adopted and released an
Order [MS Word] denying the
Petition for Stay Pending Judicial Review [17 pages in PDF], filed on November
18, 2003, by the United States Telecom Association
(USTA) and CenturyTel, seeking a stay of the FCC's November 10
Memorandum Opinion and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [35
pages in PDF] regarding number portability. The November 10 order requires that
wireline carriers must port numbers to wireless carriers in certain
The FCC wrote that "the new rules eliminate impediments to competition among
wireless carriers, and between wireless and wireline carriers. In this manner,
number portability promotes competition between telecommunications service
providers, allowing customers the flexibility to respond to price and service
changes without changing their telephone numbers."
The just released Order denying the wireline carriers'
petition is FCC 03-298 in CC Docket No. 95-116.
The November 10 order is FCC 03-284 in CC Docket No. 95-116. See,
story titled "FCC Releases LNP Order That Addresses Wireline to Wireless"
in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 776, November 11, 2003. See also, story titled
"Powell Addresses Number Portability" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 784,
November 20, 2003.
|Rep. Markey and Rep Pitts Introduce Bill to
Limit Wireless Directory Assistance
11/20. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and
Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) introduced
HR ___ [9
pages in PDF], the "Wireless 411 Privacy Act".
Markey (at right) wrote in a
[PDF] that "wireless consumers have also been the beneficiaries of a de facto
privacy protection policy for their wireless phone numbers. Because wireless
subscribers could not be reached through ``information´´ -- such as when callers
dial 411 to request a phone number -- it meant that consumers were largely able
to control the dissemination of their contact information themselves. For many
consumers, this made their wireless phone more valuable because when it rang, it
was likely to be a call from someone to whom the subscriber had given their
Markey continued that "According to press reports, the wireless industry is
poised to change this privacy experience by implementing a national wireless
directory assistance database. This will enable callers to 411 to receive a
wireless subscriber's phone number, or be connected to a wireless subscriber --
something which today is not possible."
Markey stated that the bill "simply states that current wireless customers must be
accorded the right to decide whether they want to be part of the directory
assistance service. Wireless companies, in other words, need to ask consumers
first and get their prior, affirmative approval before including them." Also,
"New wireless customers ... must be given clear and conspicuous notice at the
See also, Rep. Markey's
release [PDF] and Rep. Pitts'
The bill would amend the Communications Act, at
47 U.S.C. 332(c), to provide
that "A provider of commercial mobile services, or any direct or
indirect affiliate or agent of such a provider, may not include the wireless
telephone number information of any current subscriber in any wireless directory
assistance service database unless (i) the mobile service provider provides a conspicuous,
separate notice to the subscriber informing the subscriber of the right not to
be listed in any wireless directory assistance service; and (ii) the mobile service
provider obtains express prior
authorization for listing from such subscriber, separate from any authorization
obtained to provide such subscriber with commercial mobile service, or any
calling plan or service associated with such commercial mobile service, and such
authorization has not been subsequently withdrawn."
The bill also provides that "A provider of commercial mobile services,
or any direct or indirect affiliate or agent of such a provider, may include the
wireless telephone number information of any new subscriber in a wireless directory
assistance service database only if the commercial mobile service provider (i)
provides a conspicuous, separate notice to the subscriber,
at the time of entering into an agreement to provide commercial mobile service,
and at least once a year thereafter, informing the subscriber of the right not
to be listed in any wireless directory assistance service database; and (ii)
provides the subscriber with convenient mechanisms by
which the subscriber may decline or refuse to participate in such database,
including mechanisms at the time of entering into an agreement to provide
commercial mobile service, in the billing of such service, and when receiving
any connected call from a wireless directory assistance service."
It also provides that "A provider of commercial mobile services, or any direct or
indirect affiliate or agent of such provider, may connect a calling party from a
wireless directory assistance service to a commercial mobile service subscriber
only if (i) such subscriber is provided prior notice of the calling party’s
identity and is permitted to accept or reject the incoming call on a per-call
basis; (ii) such subscriber’s wireless telephone number information is not
disclosed to the calling party; and (iii) such subscriber is not an unlisted
commercial mobile service subscriber."
Finally, the bill would ban the publication of directories. It
would provide that "A provider of commercial mobile services, or any direct or
indirect affiliate or agent of such a provider, may not publish, in printed,
electronic, or other form, the contents of any wireless directory assistance
service database, or any portion or segment thereof."
Steve Largent, P/CEO of the Cellular
Telecommunications and Internet Association
(CTIA) stated in a release,
"Why now? Wireless directory assistance is still on the drawing board ... We
are working aggressively to include strong consumer privacy protections as we
continue to define a wireless directory assistance offering. The wireless
industry has a long history of protecting consumers’ privacy and we look forward
to working with all members of Congress as we move forward."
|Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
|Friday, November 21
The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business.
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC)
National Institute of Standards and Technology's
(NIST), Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award will hold
the fourth day of a four day closed meeting. See,
notice in the Federal Register, October 27, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 207, at
Pages 61189 - 61190. Location: NIST, Building 222, Red Training Room,
1:00 PM. The Peter Neumann of the National Committee
on Voter Integrity (NCVI) will hold a press conference by conference call regarding
the reliability and integrity of electronic voting systems. To participate, call
1 512 225-3050 and enter passcode 65889#. For more information, contact Emily
Cadei at 202 483-1140 X 119 or email@example.com.
TIME? The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will
hold a business meeting to consider the nomination of
James Loy to be Deputy Secretary of Homeland
Security. Location: Room S-214, Capitol Building.
2:00 PM. The Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) International
Bureau (IB) will host a public meeting "to officially kick off the design
phase for planned enhancements to its electronic filing system, IBFS".
Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room, Room CYB418/511.
Deadline to submit comments to the Department of Commerce's
Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
regarding its foreign policy-based export controls. This category includes
high performance computers, encryption items, as well as chemical and
biological agents, missiles, and "implements of torture". See,
notice in the Federal Register, October 21, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 203, at
of State's (DOS) United States International Telecommunication Advisory Committee,
Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITAC-T), will meet electronically
from November 21 through November 26, 2003 to comment on and approve normal
contributions to the ITU-T Study Group 13 meeting, which will be held February
3-13, 2004. See,
notice in the Federal Register, October 31, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 211, at
|Monday, November 24
The Federal Communications Commission's
(FCC) number portability rules are scheduled to go into effect.
9:30 AM. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in National Association
of State Utility Consumer Advocates v. FCC, No. 02-1261. Judges Ginsburg,
Edwards and Rogers will preside. Location: 333 Constitution Ave. NW.
10:00 AM. The
Senate Judiciary Committee may
hold an executive business meeting. Press
contact: Margarita Tapia (Hatch) at 202 224-5225 or David Carle (Leahy) at 202
224-4242. Location: Room 226, Dirsksen Building.
2:00 -3:30 PM. The Center
for Democracy and
Technology (CDT), the Council for Excellence in Government (CEG) and the
American Council for Technology (ACT) will host a public meeting regarding
agency drafting of reports on privacy activities under the E-Government Act.
The participants will be Eva Kleederman (Office of Management and Budget),
Dan Costello (OMB), Frank Reeder (Center for Excellence), Ari Schwartz (CDT),
Charlene Thomas (IRS). RSVP to Danielle Wiblemo at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Location: Willard Hotel,
1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004, Pierce Room.
Deadline to submit initial comments to the
Copyright Office (CO) in response
to its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding notice and recordkeeping for use of
sound recordings under statutory license. The CO published a
notice in the Federal Register stating that it "is requesting public
comment on the adoption of regulations for records of use of sound recordings
performed pursuant to the statutory license for public performances of sound
recordings by means of digital audio transmissions between October 28, 1998,
and the effective date of soon-to-be-announced interim regulations." See,
Federal Register: October 8, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 195, at Page 58054.
Deadline to submit comments to the Department of Commerce's (DOC)
Bureau of Industry and Standards (BIS),
which is also known as the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) regarding its
proposal to amend its rules to "expand the availability of license exceptions
for exports and reexports of computer technology and software, and
microprocessor technology on the Commerce Control List (CCL) of the Export
Administration Regulations (EAR) under Export Classification Control Numbers (ECCNs)
3E002, 4D001 and 4E001. These ECCNs control technology and software that can
be used for the development, production, or use of computers, and development
and production of microprocessors." Comments are due by November 24, 2003.
notice in the Federal Register, October 24, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 206, at
Deadline to submit comments to the Department of Commerce's
National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA) regarding the adequacy of its preparation process for the
International Telecommunications Union's (ITU)
World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC). The next WRC is in 2007. See,
in the Federal Register, October 23, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 205, at Pages 60646-60648.
|Tuesday, November 25
Deadline to submit comments to the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed
rulemaking (NPRM) regarding digital low power television and television
translator stations. This is FCC 03-198, in MB Docket No. 03-185. See,
notice in the Federal Register, September 26, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 187, at
Pages 55566 - 55573.
|Wednesday, November 26
Deadline to submit nominations to the
Department of Commerce's (DOC)
Technology Administration (TA) of
individuals for appointment to the National Medal of Technology Nomination
Evaluation Committee (NMTNEC). The TA states that "Typically, Committee
members are present or former Chief Executive Officers, former winners of the
National Medal of Technology; presidents or distinguished faculty of universities;
or senior executives of non-profit organizations." See,
notice in the Federal Register, October 27, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 207, at
Deadline for the Federal
Communications Commission's (FCC) Media
Security and Reliability Council (MRSC) to complete voting on recommendations
regarding prevention and restoration measures to ensure the continued operation and
security of media facilities in the face of a national emergency. These recommendations
were presented at the biannual meeting of the MRSC on November 6, 2003. See, FCC
|Thursday, November 27
|Friday, November 28
Deadline to submit comments to the National
Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council (NIPLECC) regarding
the agenda and mission of the NIPLECC. See,
notice in the Federal Register, October 28, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 208, at
|DOJ/FTC to Release
Herfindahl-Hirshman Index Data
11/18. Hewitt Pate,
Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's (DOJ)
Antitrust Division, gave a
Washington DC on November 18.
He said that in "early December" the DOJ and
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will release data relating to the Herfindahl-Hirschman
Index is a quantitative measure of market concentration. The DOJ states that
"It is calculated by squaring the market share of each firm competing in the
market and then summing the resulting numbers."
stated that the DOJ and FTC "jointly are conducting a review of their recent
past horizontal merger enforcement efforts. The Agencies will soon release data
generated through a review of those efforts taken during the past five years.
The data to be released will focus on the level of the post-merger Herfindahl-Hirschman
Index (HHI) of market concentration and the change in the HHI level for mergers
to which the Department or the Commission indicated opposition in a public way.
For the Department, this means either that a complaint was filed or that a press
release was issued indicating that the deal was abandoned or restructured as a
result of our opposition."
Pate also stated that "Both Agencies will also be examining whether, and if
so what, other data might usefully be disseminated."
He added that "we at the Antitrust Division have concluded that it would be helpful in a
variety of ways to maintain a more comprehensive data base on our
investigations. Thus, I have asked Antitrust Division staff to begin the process
of determining the types of information we would ideally like to have on all
horizontal merger matters we evaluate. Then we will work to collect such
information and preserve it so future retrospectives of merger enforcement can
be more robust."
See also, DOJ
11/20. The Department of Justice (DOJ)
hosted a publicity event regarding the investigation and prosecution of computer
related crimes, including internet fraud, investment fraud, identity theft, and
software piracy, by the DOJ and other government entities. See, DOJ
speech by Attorney General John Ashcroft. See also,
list of cases
brought in the months of October and November.
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