|Europeans Agree to Transfer of Airline
Passenger Data to DHS
12/16. The Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) issued a release that states that Secretary of Homeland Security "Tom Ridge
and European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein have reached an agreement regarding
the legal transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to Homeland Security. The
agreement finds that Homeland Security’s handling of the PNR data is sufficient
for an ``adequacy finding.´´"
The agreement does not require passengers consent to release of their personal
The DHS release continues that "This finding by the European Commission
affirms under European law that protections to be implemented by Homeland Security are
appropriate to guard passenger privacy. By using 34 key elements of PNR data at
borders and ports of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers
will be able to better screen passengers for the purposes of preventing and
combating terrorism and transnational crimes. The PNR data will be generally
retained for no longer than three and one-half years."
Also on December 16,
Bolkestein, the member of the European Commission in charge of the Internal
Market, Taxation and Customs, gave a
speech in Strasbourg, France regarding airline passenger data.
(at right) spoke to the European Parliament Committees on
Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs and Legal Affairs and
the Internal Market.
He called this agreement a "political judgement".
The DHS release states that the DHS "will continue to negotiate with the
European Commission to reach a permanent agreement for the transfer of PNR data to the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for operational use by the Computer
Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II (CAPPS II), which will identify high-risk
passengers for additional screening."
Bolkestein stated that "the arrangement
will not cover the US Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening System (CAPPS
II). The latter will only be considered in a second round of discussions yet to
come. In any case, such discussions can only conclude once Congress' privacy
concerns have been met, and so far they have not."
|FCC Receives Comments on Regulation of VOIP
12/16. The Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) has not yet initiated a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) or
notice of inquiry (NOI) proceeding regarding voice over internet protocol (VOIP)
services. However, the FCC held a one day roundtable
meeting on VOIP issues on December 1, 2003.
At that event the FCC asked that brief public comments be submitted within
"two weeks". See, story titled "FCC Holds VOIP
Forum" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 790, December 2, 2003.
On December 16, Marc
Rotenberg and Chris Hoofnagle
of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
wrote a letter
to the FCC
Chairman Michael Powell
urging the FCC to extend privacy protections to users of VOIP services, but not to
apply Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requirements to VOIP
They argued that "a central requirement of a functional and trustworthy
communications network is the assurance of privacy protection for users of the
network" and that the FCC "must take affirmative steps to ensure strong privacy
protections for users of VoIP service".
They also wrote that the "EPIC maintains our strong reservations
regarding the application of the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act
(CALEA) requirements to this service. It is simply not coherent to argue that VOIP
services should be free of government regulation and then for the government to
require that communication service providers, hardware manufacturers, and network
developers incorporate the most extreme communications surveillance requirements of
the Federal Bureau of Investigation. CALEA, if applied to VOIP, would establish
unprecedented regulation for new communications services."
In contrast, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI), Department of Justice
(DOJ) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) submitted a
comment [9 pages in PDF] in which they argued that "As the Commission drafts
its VoIP notice of proposed rulemaking, Law Enforcement strongly urges the
Commission to require VoIP providers to comply with CALEA to ensure that no new
loophole is created that allows criminals, terrorists, and spies to use VoIP
services to avoid lawfully authorized surveillance."
This is not the FBI's first communication to the FCC on this matter. It has
made a number of ex parte presentations. See, story titled "FBI Wants Broadband
Internet Access Classified As A Telecommunications Service So That CALEA Will
Apply", in TLJ
Daily E-Mail Alert No. 707, July 30, 2003.
There are currently three petitions pending at the FCC pertaining to VOIP: an
AT&T petition, a Pulver.com petition (WC Docket No. 03-34), and a Vonage
petition (WC Docket No. 03-211).
On December 11, 2003, Cisco Systems
comment [PDF] regarding Pulver.com's petition pertaining to its Free World
Dialup (FWD) service. Cisco wrote that the FWD is neither "telecommunications"
nor a telecommunications service", and that it is "interstate". The gist of
Cisco's argument is that FWD should not be subject to state by state regulation.
On December 10, Vonage submitted a
comment [PDF] comparing its VOIP service to that of Pulver.com. It argues
that it should not be subject to state regulation.
Vonage already has won one court case on this issue. On October 16, 2003, the
U.S. District Court (DMinn) issued its
Memorandum and Order [PDF] in Vonage v. Minnesota Public Utilities
Commission, holding that Vonage is an information service provider, and that
the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) cannot apply state laws that
regulate telecommunications carriers to Vonage. The Court wrote that "State
regulation would effectively decimate Congress's mandate that the Internet
remain unfettered by regulation." See also, story titled "District Court Holds
that Vonage's VOIP is an Information Service" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 760, October 17, 2003.
|OMB Issues Memorandum on E-Authentication
Bolten, Director of the
Office of Management and Budget
(OMB), wrote a
memorandum [17 pages in PDF] to the heads of all executive departments and
agencies titled "E-Authentication Guidance for Federal Agencies".
Bolten wrote that "This guidance takes in
account current practices in the area of authentication (or e-authentication)
for access to certain electronic transactions and a need for government-wide
standards and will assist agencies in determining their authentication needs for
electronic transactions. This guidance directs agencies to conduct
"e-authentication risk assessments" on electronic transactions to ensure that
there is a consistent approach across government."
He added that "It also provides the public with
clearly understood criteria for access to Federal government services online.
Attachment B summarizes the public comments received on an earlier version of
This memorandum is numbered M-04-04.
|Bush Signs Spam Bill
12/16. President Bush signed
the "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pormography and Marketing Act of
2003", also known as the "CAN-SPAM Act of 2003". See, White House
|Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
|Wednesday, December 17
The House is in adjournment.
The Senate is in adjournment. (It will convene on January 20, 2004.)
Supreme Court is in recess. (It will return on January
8:30 AM - 3:00 PM. The
National Institute of Standards and Technology's
(NIST) Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award will
hold a meeting. The deadline to register to attend is December 15. Contact
Virginia Davis at email@example.com
or 301 975-2361. See,
notice in the Federal Register, November 25, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 227, at
Page 66075. Location: NIST, Administration Building, Lecture Room A, Gaithersburg,
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. Day one of a two day meeting of the
National Institute of Standards and Technology's
(NIST) Information Security and Privacy
Advisory Board (ISPAB). The agenda includes "Overview of Program
Activities of the NIST Information Technology Laboratory's Computer Security
Division", "Update by OMB on
Privacy and Security Issues", and "Briefing by
Department of Homeland Security Office Privacy Officer
notice in the Federal Register, November 21, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 225, at
Page 65681. Location: Gaithersburg Hilton Hotel, 620 Perry Parkway,
9:30 AM. The Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) will hold a meeting. See,
agenda [PDF]. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW,
Room TW-C05 (Commission Meeting Room).
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The
American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a
panel discussion titled "Civil Liberties and the War on Terror". The
speakers will be Michael Chertoff, David Cole, Patricia Wald, Ruth Wedgwood, and John
Yoo. See, notice. Location: Twelfth
floor, 1150 17th St., NW.
12:15 - 1:30 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Wireless Committee will host a luncheon
panel discussion titled "Wireless Telecommunications Bureau: Current Topics
and Vision for the Future". The speakers will include John Muleta,
Chief of the WTB. The price to attend is $15. For more
information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
RSVP to email@example.com. Location: Sidley
Austin, 1501 K Street, NW, 6th Floor.
|Friday, December 19
9:00 - 11:30 AM. The
Executive Office of the President's (EOP)
Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP)
National Science and
Technology Council's (NSTC) Committee on Technology and Physical
Infrastructure Working Group (formerly named the Subcommittee on Construction
and Building) will hold a meeting that is closed to the public. For more
information, contact Paul Domich at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 301 975-5624. Location: White House Conference Center,
Jackson Room, 726 Jackson Place, NW.
12:00 NOON. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) International Telecommunications
Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "The United Nations World Summit
on Information Society (WSIS): Geneva 2003 and the Road to Tunisia 2005".
The speaker will be David Gross, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International
Communications and Information Policy, Department of State. RSVP to
Wiley Rein & Fielding, 1750 K Street, NW.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding
Northland Networks' petition
pursuant to 47 U.S.C. §
252(e)(5) requesting that the FCC preempt the jurisdiction of the
New York Public Service Commission to resolve
a dispute between Northland and Verizon regarding
reciprocal compensation and change of law provisions of their interconnection agreements.
This is WC Docket No. 03-242. See, FCC
|Saturday, December 20
|Monday, December 22
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.
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