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February 10, 2004, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 833.
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Powell Opposes Regulations to Impose Broadband Network Neutrality

2/8. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell gave a speech [PDF] titled "Preserving Internet Freedom: Guiding Principles for the Industry" at the Silicon Flatirons Symposium at the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder, Colorado.

He argued for a concept that he called "Net Freedom" -- the concept that consumers should be able to use their broadband connections to "use the content, applications and devices they want", without restrictions imposed by their broadband service providers.

Michael PowellPowell (at right) argued that at this time "the case for government imposed regulations regarding the use or provision of broadband content, applications and devices is unconvincing and speculative". However, he outlined a voluntary "road map" of rules to be followed by broadband service providers.

Powell argued that this "Net Freedom" includes the principles that "consumers should have access to their choice of legal content", "consumers should be able to run applications of their choice", and "consumers should be permitted to attach any devices they choose to the connection in their homes".

Powell's speech responded to, but did not cite, the various comments that have been submitted to the FCC, and published in other fora, urging the FCC to write rules that impose "network neutrality" or "nondiscrimination" upon broadband service provides.

For example, the Coalition of Broadband Users and Innovators (CBUI) has filed numerous comments with the FCC urging that it write a nondiscrimination rule. See especially, comment [3 pages in PDF] filed on November 18, 2002, and comment [23 pages in PDF] filed on July 17, 2003. See also comment [17 pages in PDF] submitted by law professors Lawrence Lessig (Stanford) and Timothy Wu (University of Virginia) on August 22, 2003 urging that the FCC adopt a network neutrality rule. See also, story on this subject titled "Cato Study Opposes FCC Imposition of Network Neutrality", January 12, 2004, also published in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 816, January 15, 2004.

Powell stated in his Silicon Flatirons speech that "We must ensure that the various capabilities of these technologies are not used in a way that could stunt the growth of the economy, innovation and consumer empowerment. Thus, we must expand our focus beyond broadband networks -- the so-called ``physical layer创 of the Internet抯 layered architecture."

"Personal computing devices are at the leading edge of this revolution in consumer empowerment", said Powell. "But the possibilities for consumer empowerment extend beyond devices. These possibilities arise from the Internet's open architecture, which allows consumers to freely interact with anyone around the globe."

"Companies are eager to feed consumer hunger for these Internet-related goodies. Many are racing to develop content, applications and devices they hope will entice more and more consumers to abandon dial-up and slower broadband Internet access in favor of faster broadband. But first, these companies must be able to reach broadband consumers", said Powell.

"This is why ensuring that consumers can obtain and use the content, applications and devices they want -- is critical to unlocking the vast potential of the broadband Internet. Today, broadband consumers generally enjoy such internet freedom. They can access and use the content, applications and devices of their choice."

He added that "we must keep a sharp eye on market practices that will continue to evolve rapidly. And we must do so while safeguarding Congress' intent that the Internet remains free of unnecessary regulation that might distort or slow its growth."

Powell discussed a study by professors Joseph Farrell and Philip Weiser. He stated that they "acknowledge the strong incentives that network owners have to ensure that broadband platforms remain open", but also concluded that "a network owner might face incentives to begin restricting some uses of their platforms in certain cases: if regulators set prices for using the platform too low, if bargaining among networks owners and other companies breaks down, or if companies are just unable to recognize their own self-interest in maintaining the freedom broadband consumers want and expect."

See, paper [56 pages in PDF] titled "Modularity, Vertical Integration, and Open Access Policies: Towards a Convergence of Antitrust and Regulation in the Internet Age".

Powell noted that "This may not be mere academic speculation. A few troubling restrictions have appeared in broadband service plan agreements."

But, Powell concluded that regulation is not appropriate at this time. He said that "Based on what we currently know, the case for government imposed regulations regarding the use or provision of broadband content, applications and devices is unconvincing and speculative. Government regulation of the terms and conditions of private contracts is the most fundamental intrusion on free markets and potentially destructive, particularly where innovation and experimentation are hallmarks of an emerging market. Such interference should be undertaken only where there is weighty and extensive evidence of abuse."

Instead, he urged voluntary compliance with certain principles by industry, and consumers' assertion of their interests.

Powell elaborated that "it is time to give the private sector a clear road map by which it can avoid future regulation on this issue by embracing unparalleled openness and consumer choice."

He said, "I challenge the broadband network industry to preserve the following ``Internet Freedoms:创 ... "First, consumers should have access to their choice of legal content. ... Second, consumers should be able to run applications of their choice. ... Third, consumers should be permitted to attach any devices they choose to the connection in their homes." However, Powell added the caveat, "so long as the devices operate within service plan limitations and do not harm the provider抯 network or enable theft of service." And finally, he said that "consumers should receive meaningful information regarding their service plans."

US and Australia Conclude FTA with Extensive Info Tech Provisions

2/9. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a release [4 pages in PDF] that states that the US and Australia "concluded" a free trade agreement (FTA). The USTR did not release the text of this FTA. However, the USTR's summary of the FTA enumerates numerous provisions relating to information technologies, electronic commerce and intellectual property rights protection.

The FTA still requires approval. In the US, under trade promotion authority, the House and Senate must pass legislation approving the FTA. However, the Congress cannot amend the FTA.

Robert ZoellickUSTR Robert Zoellick (at right) stated in the USTR release that "This is the most significant immediate cut in industrial tariffs ever achieved in a U.S. free trade agreement, and manufacturers are the big winners."

This release states in summary that "U.S. and Australian authors, performers, inventors, and other producers of creative material will benefit from the higher and extended standards the FTA requires for protecting intellectual property rights such as copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets and enhanced means for enforcing those rights. The agreement calls for each government to adopt state-of-the-art protection for digital products such as software, music, text, and videos, and encourages adoption of measures to promote trade through electronic commerce."

The USTR also released a more detailed summary [8 pages in PDF] of the FTA. It states that "More than 99 percent of U.S. exports of manufactured goods to Australia will become duty-free immediately upon entry into force of the Agreement."

But, the FTA also contains numerous provisions relating to electronic commerce and intellectual property protections, particularly in the context of digital and online works.

E-Commerce. The USTR's summary states that "Digital products will receive non-discriminatory treatment and will not be subject to customs duties." It also states that "First-time commitments will facilitate the ability of businesses to use electronic means to authenticate a business transaction (e.g., digital signatures) in both markets." (Parentheses in original.)

It also states that "The United States and Australia will be cooperating on other e-commerce issues including on work towards mutual recognition of digital certificates used for electronic transactions with each other抯 government (e.g., in government procurement)." (Parentheses in original.)

Trademarks. The summary states that the FTA "Requires a system to resolve disputes about trademarks used in Internet domain names, which is important to prevent ``cyber-squatting创 with respect to high-value domain names."

It adds that the FTA "Applies principle of ``first-in-time, first-in-right创 to trademarks and geographical indications, so that the first person who acquires a right to a trademark or geographical indication is the person who has the right to use it."

Copyright. The summary states that under this FTA, "Copyright owners maintain rights over temporary copies of their works on computers, which is important in protecting music, videos, software and text from widespread unauthorized sharing via the Internet."

It further states that the FTA "Establishes that only authors, composers and other copyright owners have the right to make their work available on-line."

The FTA "Ensures extended terms of protection (e.g., life of the author plus seventy years) for copyrighted works, including phonograms, consistent with emerging international trends." (Parentheses in original.)

It also "Establishes strong anti-circumvention provisions to prohibit tampering with technologies (like embedded codes on discs) that are designed to prevent piracy and unauthorized distribution over the Internet." (Parentheses in original.)

The summary also states that the FTA "Requires rules to prohibit the unauthorized receipt or distribution of encrypted satellite signals, thus preventing piracy of satellite television programming", and "Provides rules for the liability of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for copyright infringement, reflecting the balance struck in the U.S. Millennium Copyright Act between legitimate ISP activity and the infringement of copyrights."

Patents & Trade Secrets. The USTR's summary of the FTA states that it "Provides for the extension of patent terms to compensate for delays in granting the original patent, consistent with U.S. practice", and "Limits the grounds for revoking a patent, thus protecting against arbitrary revocation."

It also states that the FTA "Clarifies that test data and trade secrets submitted to a government for the purpose of product approval will be protected against unfair commercial use for a period of 5 years for pharmaceuticals and 10 years for agricultural chemicals. Closes potential loopholes to these provisions."

Piracy and Counterfeiting. The FTA also "Criminalizes end-user piracy, providing strong deterrence against piracy and counterfeiting."

It also "Requires both Parties to authorize the seizure, forfeiture, and destruction of counterfeit and pirated goods and the equipment used to produce them. Also provides for enforcement against goods-in-transit, to deter violators from using ports or free trade zones to traffic in pirated products. Ex officio action may be taken in border and criminal cases, thus providing more effective enforcement."

Broadcasting. The USTR summary also states that "In the area of broadcasting and audiovisual services, the FTA contains important and unprecedented provisions to improve market access for U.S. films and television programs over a variety of media including cable, satellite, and the Internet."

Reaction. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, stated in a release that "I'm pleased that we were able to conclude a trade agreement with Australia."

However, he added that he is "disappointed by several aspects of the agreement. First, the agreement could establish a dangerous precedent because it completely excludes a product from the agreement."

The agreement exempts sugar. The American Sugar Alliance "applauded" the FTA.

"Second", wrote Sen. Grassley, "the agreement doesn't include an investor-state dispute resolution mechanism. That seems inconsistent with the negotiating objectives spelled out under Trade Promotion Authority. And third, I was surprised to learn the agreement contains an apparent ban on the reimportation of pharmaceuticals. This is an important issue that Congress is currently debating. Given the importance of this issue, I don't understand why it wasn't raised earlier in the negotiations. I'll be reviewing the effect of this provision closely over the next few weeks."

On January 28, 2004, Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, wrote a letter to President Bush about this FTA. He wrote that "I expect that all future agreements that we will consider, including the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement, will reflect your established practice of completely liberalizing all sectors and products and that you will resist any pressure to exclude any sector or product from liberalization."

Rep. Thomas argued that "If we exclude one industry, we will be under enormous pressure to exclude others." He also argued that "if we shelter particular industries by taking products off the table, we signal to our negotiating partners that they are free to do the same. Many U.S. export oriented sectors are sensitive for our prospective trading partners, who will seek to exclude these sectors if we exclude our sensitive products. Ultimately, negotiations will unravel ..."

Similarly, on February 4, Thomas Donohue, P/CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, stated in a release that "We should aim for a comprehensive agreement with Australia and resist demands for special treatment for certain industries or products ... Let's not lose sight of the significant benefits of the agreement by listening to the narrow demands of special interest groups."

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) issued a release praising the agreement.

PPI Proposes Replacing Agriculture Subsidies with Investment in Rural Communities

2/6. The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), a new Democrat think tank based in Washington DC, released a report [23 pages in PDF] titled "Reversing Rural America's Economic Decline: The Case for a National Balanced Growth Strategy".

The report, written by the PPI's Robert Atkinson, proposes replacing crop subsidies with a program of government investment in rural communities that includes increasing broadband deployment, establishing more points of presence to access fiber backbone in rural areas, and funding rural technology research and development.

The report opens with the assessment that "Fundamental structural changes in technology, markets, and organizations are redrawing our nation抯 economic map and leaving many rural areas behind. Yet our de-facto federal rural policy -- providing massive subsidies to a shrinking number of farmers -- does little to help develop competitive rural economies or boost opportunity for rural residents."

It proposes that the US "should press for serious negotiations with other developed nations and the World Trade Organization to mutually agree to phase down farm subsidies. Second, here at home we should gradually shift agricultural subsidies toward a 15-year effort to help rural America develop a new competitive economic base and to help the nation as a whole develop a better balance between its metropolitan and rural economies. The savings from reduced crop subsidies should be reinvested in a new Rural Prosperity Corporation that co-invests with states to boost the long-term competitive position of targeted rural economies." The report adds that "we do not propose unilaterally disarming when it comes to farm subsidies."

The report addressed the relationship between new information technologies and rural economies. It states that "As more of the economy processes information digitally, more firms are able to locate anywhere with skilled workers and advanced telecom infrastructures." However, "rural areas are not just competing with urban areas for these jobs. IT is sending these jobs not just to rural areas, but also overseas to low-cost places like India and China. Still, not all these IT-enabled service jobs will go offshore, and rural areas are in a position to capture some of this market, especially if rural areas focus on growth centers".

The report continues that "While the digital economy makes activities more footloose, it doesn抰 liberate them from all locational constraints. First, and most obviously, digital economic activities can't locate in a place unless it has access to advanced telecommunications infrastructure." It adds that a pool of skilled workers is necessary, and airport access is important."

It recommends that "Access to high-speed ``broadband创 telecommunications is critical if a region wants to grow and attract a wide variety of businesses. While advanced telecommunication services are not the single factor required for growth, they are necessary." Hence, the report recommends the the US establish a Rural Prosperity Corporation (RPC) that "should work with states to help them make concerted efforts ensuring most regions have high-speed broadband connections, particularly businesses in designated growth poles."

The report adds that "States can do several things to help facilitate the rollout of broadband, including reducing rights-of-way charges and the taxes they levy on providers."

It also states that "another way to gain access to high-speed telecommunications is to help rural areas access an interstate fiber backbone" by providing more points of presense, or POPs. And finally, the RPC "should fund a rural technology R&D program."

CFA and CU Release Report Critical of Cable Industry

2/9. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Consumers Union (CU) published a report [39 pages in PDF] titled "The Continuing Abuse of Market Power by the Cable Industry: Rising Prices, Denial of Consumer Choice, and Discriminatory Access to Content".

It follows the report [146 pages in PDF] to Congress on the status of competition in the market for the delivery of video programming released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on January 28, 2004.

The FCC found that "Overall, due, in part, to Congressional efforts made over the past decade, technological advances and investment in new platforms for delivering video programming, the vast majority of Americans enjoy more choice, more programming and more services than any time in history. In addition to an increase in the number of video channels, cable operators and other MVPDs also now offer advanced video services and many non-video advanced services. Cable television, however, remains the predominant technology for the delivery of video programming. Ten years ago, cable operators served almost 100% of the nation抯 subscribers. Today, cable抯 share has fallen to approximately 75% of all MVPD subscribers."

The CFA/CU, which are perennial critics of the cable industry, asserted that "cable operators still possess market power in the multichannel video market. The result is price increases that far exceed the rate of inflation -- almost three times faster than inflation in recent years -- and the continued restriction of consumer choice to a small number of ever larger, ever more expensive bundles."

They added that "Direct Broadcast Satellite does not have a significant or substantial ability to discipline cable pricing abuse."

In the area of broadband service, the CFA/CU wrote that "Satellite lacks the ability to offer a bundle of video and high-speed Internet to compete effectively with cable. Cable recognizes this and is aggressively bundling high-speed Internet with basic cable service -- offering a 25 percent discount on a bundle of basic cable and Internet compared to stand alone Internet service."

The report states that "Cable operators discriminate against unaffiliated service providers in both the video and the high-speed Internet product space."

The CFA/CU report also complains that "Cable has foreclosed competition for Internet access service over its platform", and that "Discrimination was even more brutal in the Internet space as cable operators applied their business model to high-speed Internet access."

Brian Dietz of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) responded in a release that "The Consumer Federation continues to show its lack of understanding of the competitive video marketplace that exists today and the fact that most consumers have the choice of at least three multi-channel video providers, including their local cable operator. The FCC's recent video competition report on video competition highlighted the sweeping competitive changes that have taken place in the video marketplace over the past ten years, including the emergence of two nationwide DBS competitors who now serve more than 21 percent of multichannel video households, leading to the FCC to conclude that, ``the vast majority of Americans enjoy more choice, more programming and more services than any time in history.创"

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Tuesday, February 10

The House will meet at 12:30 PM for morning hour, and at 2:00 PM for legislative business. The House will consider several non technology related items under suspension of the rules. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 PM. See, Republican Whip notice.

7:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Day one of a two day conference hosted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) titled "Public Safety Spectrum Management Forum". Michael Gallagher (acting head of the NTIA), Sam Bodman (Deputy Secretary of Commerce), and Kathleen Abernathy (FCC Commissioner) will speak between 8:00 AM and 8:30 AM. See, agenda. Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW.

9:30 AM. The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on President Bush's defense authorization request for FY 2005 and the future years defense program. See, notice. Location: Room 325, Russell Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Samuel Bodman to be Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on President Bush's budget proposals for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY 2005. Location: Room 106, Dirksen Building.

? 3:00 PM. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law will hold a hearing titled "Privacy in the Hands of the Government: The Privacy Officer for the Department of Homeland Security". The witnesses will include Nuala Kelly (Chief Privacy Officer of the Department of Homeland Security). The hearing will be immediately followed by markup of HR 338, the "Defense of Privacy Act". Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202 225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

2:00 PM. Deadline to submit to the House Rules Committee proposed amendments to HR 1561, the "United States Patent and Trademark Fee Modernization Act of 2003". This bill would, among other things, end the practice of USPTO fee diversion. See, Rules Committee notice.

5:00 PM. The House Rules Committee will meet to adopt a rule for consideration of HR 1561, the "United States Patent and Trademark Fee Modernization Act of 2003". This bill would, among other things, end the practice of USPTO fee diversion. Location: Room H312, Capitol Building.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding "Changes to Representation of Others Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office". See, notice in the Federal Register, December 12, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 239, at Pages 69441-69562. See also, USPTO release.

Day two of a two day conference hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) titled "Knowledge Based Authentication: Is it Quantifiable?". See, notice and event web site. Location: NIST, Administration Building, Green Auditorium, Gaithersburg, MD.

Deadline to submit comments regarding the workshop to be hosted by the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on application of the Horizontal Merger Guidelines on February 17-19. See, notice.

Wednesday, February 11

The House will meet at 10:00 AM. It will take up HR 1561, the "United States Patent and Trademark Fee Modernization Act of 2003", subject to a rule. See, Republican Whip notice.

7:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Day two of a two day conference hosted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) titled "Public Safety Spectrum Management Forum". See, notice. Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW.

9:30 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing on HR 3717, the "Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004". The hearing will be webcast. See, notice. The witnesses will be Mel Karmazin (P/COO of Viacom), Paul Tagliabue (Commissioner of the National Football League), Michael Powell (FCC Chairman), Kathleen Abernathy (FCC Commissioner), Jonathan Adelstein (FCC Commissioner), Michael Copps (FCC Commissioner), Kevin Martin (FCC Commissioner), and Harry Pappas (Ch/CEO of Pappas Telecasting Companies). Press contact: Ken Johnson or Jon Tripp at 202 225-5735. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled "Protecting Children from Violent and Indecent Programming". The witnesses will be Michael Powell (FCC Chairman), Kathleen Abernathy (FCC Commissioner), Jonathan Adelstein (FCC Commissioner), Michael Copps (FCC Commissioner), and Kevin Martin (FCC Commissioner). The hearing will be webcast. Press contact: Rebecca Hanks (McCain) at 202 224-2670 or Andy Davis (Hollings) at 202 224-6654. See, notice. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

9:30 AM. The U.S. District Court (DC) will hold a motion hearing in InterTrust v. Microsoft, D.C. No. 2003 mc 2618. Location: Courtroom 9, Prettyman Courthhouse, 333 Constitution Ave., NW.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights will hold a hearing on cable industry competition. The witnesses will include Michael Willner (VCh/P/CEO of Insight Communications), Robert Sachs (P/CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association), Mark Cooper (Consumer Federation of America), Scott Cleland (CEO of Precursor), Rodger Johnson (CEO of Knology), and Coralie Wilson (National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors). See, notice. Press contact: Josh Benoit (DeWine) at 202 224-2315. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) will hold an event titled "Presentation for New ULS Online Services, MDS and ITFS". Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 3-B516 (3rd Floor South Conference Room).

TIME CHANGE. 11:00 AM. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan will deliver the Federal Reserve's semiannual report on monetary policy to the House Financial Services Committee. Location: Room 2128, Rayburn Building.

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The House Science Committee will hold a hearing titled "An Overview of the Federal R&D Budget for Fiscal Year 2005". The hearing will be webcast. The witnesses will include John Marburger (Director of the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy), Rita Colwell (Director of the National Science Foundation), Charles McQueary (Under Secretary for Science and Technology, Department of Homeland Security), Phillip Bond (Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology, Department of Commerce), and Raymond Orbach (Director, Office of Science, Department of Energy). Press contract: Heidi Tringe at 202 225-4275. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.

11:00 AM. The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on President Bush's FY 2005 budget proposal. The witness will be from the Treasury Department. Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.

12:00 NOON - 1:00 PM. The New America Foundation (NAF) will host a brown bag lunch. The speaker will be David Dorman (Ch/CEO of AT&T). The topic will be "Making the Right Choices about the Future of Communications". See, notice. Location: NAF, 7th Floor, 1630 Connecticut Ave., NW.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Online Communications Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "Legislative and Regulatory Update on Internet and E-Commerce Privacy Issues". The speakers will be Chris Hoofnagel (EPIC) and Heidi Salow (Nextel). For more information, contact Vincent Paladini, Karlyn Stanley (CRB, 202 828-9835), or Amy Wolverton. Location: Cole Raywid & Braverman, 1919 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 200.

2:00 PM. The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on President Bush's FY 2005 budget proposal. The witness will be Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Joshua Bolten. Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.

2:00 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee may hold a hearing on pending judicial nominations. The agenda includes Diane Sykes (nominated to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit), James Robart (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington), and Juan Sanchez (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania). See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

3:00 PM. The House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities will hold a hearing titled "Department of Defense Information Systems Architecture: Are we on the Right Path to Achieving Net-Centricity and Ensuring  Interoperability?" The witnesses will include Linton Wells (Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Spectrum, Space, Sensors, and Command, Control and Communications), John Stenbit (Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration), Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle (U.S. Army, CIO), Maj. Gen. Marilyn Quagliotti (U.S. Army, Defense Information Systems Agency), Rear Adm. Thomas Zelibor (U.S. Navy, Deputy for C4 Integration and Policy), David Tillotson (Director, C41, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Architecture and Assessment, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Warfighting Integration), Brig. Gen. John Thomas (U.S. Marine Corps, Director Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4)). Location: Room 2118, Rayburn Building.

5:00 - 7:00 PM. The Congressional Internet Caucus's Advisory Committee will host a reception and technology fair. For more information contact Megan Kinnaird at 202 638-4370. See, notice. Location: Room 902, Hart Building.

Thursday, February 12

The House will meet at 10:00 AM. See, Republican Whip notice.

Lincoln's Birthday.

7:45 - 9:00 AM. National Emergency Management Association's (NEMA) conference titled "Assessing & Protecting the Nation's Critical Infrastructure" will include at series of speeches titled "Session on Emergency Management And Homeland Security Issues". Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee (HHSC), will speak at 7:45 AM. Rep. Jim Turner (D-TX), the ranking Democrat on the HHSC, will speak at 8:05 AM. Jim Morhard, Majority Staff Director of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will speak at 8:30 AM. Location: Capitol Hilton Hotel, Presidential Ballroom, 16th & K Streets NW.

8:30 AM - 5:45 PM. Day one of a two day conference hosted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) titled "Forum on Spectrum Management Policy Reform". See, agenda [PDF]. To register, contact Margaret Huynh at mhuynh@nas.edu. Location: Lecture Room, National Academy of Sciences Building, 2100 C Street, NW.

9:00 AM. The House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on "IRS Efforts to Modernize its Computer Systems". See, notice. Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.

9:30 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will meet to mark up HR 3717, the "Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004". The event will be webcast. See, notice. Press contact: Ken Johnson or Jon Tripp at 202 225-5735. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

9:30 AM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold a meeting. The event will be webcast. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C05 (Commission Meeting Room).

TO BE DECIDED WITHOUT ORAL ARGUMENT. 9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in NCTA v. FCC, No. 03-1140. Judges Edwards, Roberts and Silberman. Location: Location: 333 Constitution Ave. NW.

10:00 AM. The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing to examine President Bush's FY 2005 budget proposals. Location: Room 608, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee may hold a hearing an executive business meeting. See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on the President's budget proposals for FY 2005. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge will testify. Location: TBA.

10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property will hold a hearing on HR 3632, the "Anticounterfeiting Amendments of 2003." The hearing will be webcast. Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202 225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

11:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel discussion titled "Federalism and the Internet Tax: A Conflict of Two Conservative Principles?" The speakers will be Sen. George Allen (R-VA), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Edward Fuelner (Heritage), and James Gattuso (Heritage). See, notice. Location: Heritage, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE.

2:00 PM. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the revenue provisions of the President's proposed budget for FY 2005. Secretary of the Treasury John Snow will testify. Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.

Extended deadline to submit comments to the Department of Commerce's (DOC) Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which is also known as the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA), regarding its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement a revised version of the BIS's Simplified Network Application Processing (SNAP+) system. This proposed rule also would mandate use of SNAP+ for all filings of Export License applications (except Special Comprehensive Licenses), Reexport Authorization requests, Classification requests, Encryption Review requests, and License Exception AGR notifications, unless the BIS authorizes paper filing for a particular user or transaction. See, notice in the Federal Register, November 12, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 218, at Pages 64009-64023 (setting January 12, 2003 deadline), and notice in the Federal Register January 12, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 7, at Page 1685 (extending deadline to February 12) .

Friday, February 13

8:30 AM - 5:45 PM. Day two of a two day conference hosted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) titled "Forum on Spectrum Management Policy Reform". See, agenda [PDF]. To register, contact Margaret Huynh at mhuynh@nas.edu. Location: Lecture Room, National Academy of Sciences Building, 2100 C Street, NW.

11:00 AM. Frank Libutti (Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security) will speak to the National Emergency Management Association's (NEMA) conference titled "Assessing & Protecting the Nation's Critical Infrastructure". Location: Capitol Hilton Hotel, Presidential Ballroom, 16th & K Streets NW.

12:00 NOON. Deadline to submit comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) regarding foreign countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection. The USTR is required under Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, codified at 19 U.S.C. 2242, to identify which countries should be identified as Priority Foreign Countries. This section is also know as "Special 301".  See, notice in the Federal Register, January 6, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 3, at Pages 718 - 719.

Extended deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Report and Order Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [72 pages in PDF] in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Digital Broadcast Content Protection". This item is FCC 03-273 in MB Docket 02-230. This FNPRM seeks comment regarding a permanent approval mechanism for content protection and recording technologies to be used in conjunction with device outputs. For more information, contact Rick Chessen rchessen@fcc.gov or Susan Mort at smort@fcc.gov or 202-418-7200. See, notice [PDF] extending deadlines.

Extended deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding digital plug and play compatibility. The FCC announced its Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its September 10, 2003 meeting. See, story titled "FCC Adopts Digital Plug and Play Cable Compatibility Rules" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 737, September 11, 2003. The notice in the Federal Register states that the NPRM seeks public comments "on the mechanisms and standards by which new connectors and associated content protection technologies can be approved for use with unidirectional digital cable products". It further seeks comments on "the potential extension of digital cable system transmission requirements to digital cable systems with an activated channel capacity of 550 MHz or higher; whether it is necessary to require consumer electronics manufacturers to provide pre-sale information to consumers regarding the functionalities of unidirectional digital cable televisions; and whether the Commission should ban or permit the down-resolution of non-broadcast MVPD programming." This item is FCC 03-225 in CS Docket 97-80 and PP Docket 00-67. See, notice in the Federal Register, November 28, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 229, at Pages 66776 - 66781. See also, notice [PDF] extending deadlines.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding revisions to the FCC's high cost universal service support mechanism. This is FCC 03-249 in CC Docket No. 96-45. This is also known as the "10th Circuit Remand". See, notice in the Federal Register, December 15, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 240, at Pages 69641 - 69647. See also, stories titled "FCC Announces Order on Remand Regarding High Cost Universal Service Support Mechanism" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 761, October 20, 2003, and "FCC Publishes Notices Regarding 10th Circuit Universal Service Remand" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 800, December 16, 2003.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regarding it proposal to dispose of 27,866 magnetic tape cartridges containing copies of e-mail records of the Clinton administration created from July 15, 1994 through December 1999. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 30, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 249, at Pages 75286 - 75287.

Sunday, February 15

Deadline for the General Accounting Office (GAO) to submit its report to Congress, pursuant to Section 519 of HR 2555, the "Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2004". President Bush signed this bill on October 1, 2003. This report pertains to the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II). See, story titled "Homeland Security Appropriations Bill Purports to Restrict Use of Funds for CAPPS II" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 751, October 2, 2003.

Deadline for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Department of Defense (DOC) to submit a report to the Congress regarding the vulnerability of intelligence related computer systems. This report is required by Section 351 of HR 2417, the "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004". See, story titled "Bush Signs Intelligence Authorization Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 799, December 15, 2003.

Deadline for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to submit a report to the Congress regarding the dependence on foreign made computers and software. This report is required by Section 356 of HR 2417, the "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004". See, story titled "Bush Signs Intelligence Authorization Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 799, December 15, 2003.

Monday, February 16

Presidents Day. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other federal agencies will be closed.

The House and Senate will be in recess from February 16 through February 20 for the Presidents Day recess.

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