|Commerce Department Releases Report on TeleHealth
2/26. The Department of Commerce
report [118 pages in PDF] titled "Innovation,
Demand, and Investment in Telehealth".
The report states that "Tens of thousands of Americans are
accessing healthcare remotely from medically underserved areas such as Arctic
villages, Native American reservations, prisons, and rural communities. Many
more are being diagnosed, treated and monitored from ships at sea, battlefields,
urban centers, and homes. However, only a fraction of the potential for
technology to increase access to, improve quality of, and reduce the cost of the
nation’s healthcare has been realized to date."
The report states that "The market for telehealth technology (products and services) is
relatively small and has historically been considered a technical specialty
separate from traditional medicine. One of the most important challenges to (and
opportunities for) telehealth providers is the integration of technology with
clinical medicine." (Parentheses in original.)
The report finds that "Telehealth innovation, adoption and
deployment have been impeded by legal, financial and regulatory barriers."
It also finds that "progress in addressing public policy issues is often
limited by insufficient coordination among stakeholder groups and organizations."
The report identifies some of these barriers. For example, it
states that "The issue of state licensure continues
to play a role in limiting a national market for and in dampening user
acceptance of telehealth technologies, with some suggesting it is less
restrictive to sell technologies and services into foreign markets than into a
The report elaborates that "Providers practicing in the field of
medicine have traditionally been subject to licensure by state medical and
nursing "boards" in the state or other jurisdiction in which the provider’s
practice is located. Each state, territory, and the District of Columbia
independently determines its own requirements for health care providers to
practice in their jurisdiction. Executives interviewed for this report suggested
that telehealth has been an enigma to the boards because it extends the practice
of medicine into a different jurisdiction. State boards have restricted the
practice by out-of-state telehealth providers in a variety of ways, from
prohibition to permitting reciprocity to declining to take a position at
The report also identifies liability issues. It states that "Issues
such as protection of healthcare and telecommunications entities from undue
liability arising out of the use of telehealth have not yet been addressed."
The report also addressed intellectual property rights. It finds that
"Additional innovation may be stimulated through
greater use of ``fast track´´ protection of intellectual property." That is
"Additional innovation may be stimulated through "fast track" protection of
intellectual property. A good portion of innovation in telehealth occurs locally
as a result of improvements in currently operating programs and lessons learned.
Innovators in this field, however, tend to be small companies or individuals
that often choose not to pursue intellectual property protection for financial
reasons, among them the time and possible expense of seeking exclusive rights.
As a result, the disclosure of significant advancements in tele health may be
delayed. Reducing the time for granting patents by encouraging inventors to use
existing ``fast track´´ processes would allow innovative technologies to reach the
marketplace and healthcare consumer sooner."
The primary authors of the report are David Brantley and Karen
Cummings of the DOC's Technology Administration's
Office of Technology
Competitiveness, and Richard Spivack of the
National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology
Phil Bond, the Under
Secretary of Commerce for Technology, presented the report at an event on
Capitol Hill hosted by the Steering Committee on Telehealth and Healthcare
|Rep. DeLauro and Rep. Dingell Introduce
Outsourcing Protectionism Bill
2/24. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI)
3820, the "United States Workers Protection Act of 2004". The bill would
amend the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act, which is codified at
U.S.C. § 403 et seq., to bar most outsourcing by the
(at right) stated in a
release that "Outsourcing these jobs is wrong and should not even be an
option for the federal government".
The bill provides that "An activity or function of an executive
agency that is converted to
contractor performance under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 may
not be performed by the contractor or any subcontractor at a location outside
the United States except to the extent that such activity or function was
previously performed by Federal Government employees outside the United States."
The bill also provides, that subject to certain exceptions, "A contract for
the procurement of goods or services that is entered into by the head of an
executive agency may not be performed outside the United States except to meet a
requirement of the executive agency for goods or services specifically at a
location outside the United States."
The bill was referred to the House
Committee on Government Reform.
|Panitchpakdi Addresses Doha Round,
Multilateralism and Outsourcing
2/26. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Director General of the
World Trade Organization (WTO), gave a
the National Press Club (NPC) in Washington DC.
He advocated free trade, multilateralism, and the Doha round of negotiations. He
also addressed the political debate in the US over outsourcing.
(at right) stated that "The United States, more than any single country, created
the world trading system. The US has never had more riding on the strength of that
system. And US leadership -- especially in the current Doha trade talks -- is
indispensable to the system's success."
"The Doha Round is a crucial test", said the Director General.
"But what is at stake in these talks is more than the economic benefits that
would flow from a successful deal. The real issue is the relevance of the
multilateral trading system."
He said that "Advancing the Doha agenda would confirm the WTO as the
focal point for global trade negotiations, and as the key forum for international
economic cooperation. The credibility of the institution would be greatly enhanced.
But if the Doha negotiations stumble, doubts may grow, not just about the WTO's
effectiveness, but about the future of multilateralism in trade."
He argued that the US has two interests in the Doha negotiation. First,
"the US is now integrated with the world economy as never before". And
second, "strengthening the world trading system is essential to America's wider
global objectives. Fighting terrorism, reducing poverty, improving health, integrating
China and other countries in the global economy -- all of these issues are
linked, in one way or another, to world trade."
He then discussed the debate in the US over outsourcing of services. He said
that "We especially need to inject some clarity -- and facts -- into the current
debate over the outsourcing of services jobs. Over the next decade, the US is
projected to create an average of more than 2 million new services jobs a year
-- compared to roughly 200,000 services jobs that will be outsourced."
He continued that "I am well aware that this issue is the source
of much anxiety in America today. Many Americans worry about the potential job losses
that might arise from foreign competition in services sectors. But it's worth remembering
that concerns about the impact of foreign competition are not new. Many of the
reservations people are expressing today are echoes of what we heard in the
1970s and 1980s."
"But people at that time didn't fully appreciate the power of American
ingenuity", said Panitchpakdi. "Remarkable advances in technology and
productivity laid the foundation for unprecedented job creation in the 1990s and there
is no reason to doubt that this country, which has shown time and again such remarkable
potential for competing in the global economy, will not soon embark again on
such a burst of job-creation."
"America's openness to service-sector trade -- combined with the high skills of
its workforce -- will lead to more growth, stronger industries, and a shift
towards higher value-added, higher-paying employment. Conversely, closing the
door to service trade is a strategy for killing jobs, not saving them. Americans
have never run from a challenge and have never been defeatist in the face of
strong competition. Part of this challenge is to create the conditions for
global growth and job creation here and around the world."
He concluded by stating that "It would be a tragic mistake if the
Doha Round, which offers the world a
once in a generation opportunity to eliminate trade distortions, to strengthen
trade rules, and open markets across the world, were allowed to founder. We need
courage and the collective political will to ensure a balanced and equitable
"What is the alternative? It is a fragmented world, with greater conflict and
uncertainty", said Panitchpakdi.
|Lamy Addresses Doha Agenda
2/26. EU Trade Commissioner
gave a speech
titled "Moving the Doha Development Agenda Forward". He spoke to the
European-American Business Council (EABC) in
Lamy (at right)
stated that "here we are in early 2004, with the Round officially coming
out of its post-Cancun swoon. And this time round, the prediction that I keep
hearing is that it is completely hopeless to try to make progress in 2004,
because, they all tell me, the US never moves on trade in an election year. Well
let me tell you, I find these kinds of statements pretty annoying. And I imagine
that Bob Zoellick
does, too. Because, if that it is true, both of us have wasted
the best part of two months flying just about everywhere to push the case for
the Doha Development Agenda [DDA], and we aren't alone in that."
"Do not assume that 2004 is a year for the dogs on the Doha Round." He
continued; "what can we achieve in 2004? Answer: significant progress
across the board. Sort of between half and two-thirds of the way to the end of
|Senators Write in Opposition to State
Taxation of Internet Access
2/24. Sen. George Allen (R-VA),
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR),
Sen. John Sununu (R-NH),
Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT),
Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), and
Sen. John Ensign
(R-NV) sent a "Dear Colleague"
letter to other
members of the Senate regarding
S 150, the
"Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act", and
S 2084, the
"Internet Tax Ban Extension and Improvement Act".
They write that S 150 "will likely be before the Senate in the very near
future. Opponents of this legislation are floating a new bill seeking your
support to tax consumers of Internet access. As Members of the Senate Committee
on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, we think that it is important to
provide context, truth and clarity to their position and proposal."
They proceed to offer criticism of S 2084, which is sponsored by
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN),
Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), and others.
They state that "Represented as a so-called ``compromise,´´ the new bill is
far from it." They state that it "is an effort to gain Federal legal protection
for the actions of several State and local revenue authorities that have used
administrative rulings to do an end-run on the moratorium on Internet access
They continue that S 2084 would "Authorize existing illegal taxes
on Internet access for high-speed broadband
connections (e.g., taxes on Digital Subscriber Lines) that some States and
localities have imposed today." (Parentheses in original.)
They also state that S 2084 would "Authorize new taxes by
narrowing the definition of Internet Access to cover
only the connection between purchaser of Internet access and the Internet
service provider. Tax collectors will merely push the taxes up the network line
and consumers will pay these taxes in one form or another."
They conclude, "Simply put, supporting this bill would mean that you support
taxing internet access".
story titled "Sen. Alexander Introduces Bill Regarding Internet Tax
Moratorium", also published in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 838, February 17,
2/26. TLJ corrects three errors in the
titled "Sen. Alexander Introduces Bill Regarding Internet Tax Moratorium" in TLJ
Daily E-Mail Alert No. 838, February 17, 2004.
First, in paragraph 27, the words "the bill" should have appeared after the
word "passed". That is, the sentence is corrected to read as follows:
"The full House passed the bill on September 17, 2003."
Second, in paragraph 35, sentence 2, the word "not" should have appeared
after the word "has". That is, the story first states that the House passed
HR 49, and the Senate Commerce Committee passed S 150. Then, the following
sentence is corrected to read as follows: "However, the full Senate has not
passed either this bill, or the House version." (Emphasis added.)
Third, the description of the grandfather language of S 150 was incorrect.
Paragraph 37 incorrectly stated that "S 150 sunsets the grandfather clause
of the 1998 ITFA after three years." This sentence is corrected to read as
follows: "S 150 expands the scope of the grandfather provision, and sunsets
it after three years". Also, in paragraph 48 (which is part of the discussion of
the grandfathering language of S 2084) the following sentence is added:
"S 150 contains similar language."
That is, the original Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) grandfathered existing
taxes that were "generally imposed and actually enforced" in 1998.
HR 49 deletes this grandfather clause. S 150 expands the scope of the
grandfather provision, but also sunsets it after three years. S 2084 also
expands the scope of the grandfather provision, with language similar to that of
S 150. However, it does not sunset it. The TLJ story was incorrect to the extent
that it did not identify that S 150, like S 2084, includes language that
expands the scope of the grandfather provision.
These errors have been corrected in the TLJ web site.
|Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
|Friday, February 27
8:25 AM - 3:00 PM. The Department of
Homeland Security's (DHS) Homeland Security Science and Technology
Advisory Committee (HSSTAC) will meet in closed session. See,
notice in the Federal Register, February 13, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 30, at
Page 7245. Location: The Bolger Center, 9600 Newbridge Drive, Potomac, MD.
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. The National Institute
of Standards and Technology's (NIST) will host an event titled "Spam
Technology Workshop". The price to attend is $70. See,
notice in the Federal Register, November 25, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 227, at
Pages 66075 - 66076. Location: NIST, Administration Building (Building 101),
Green Auditorium, Gaithersburg, MD.
The National Institute of Standards and
Technology's (NIST) Computer Security
Division (CSD) will hold a workshop on DRAFT Special Publication 800-60,
titled "Guide for Mapping Types of Information and Information Systems to Security
[PDF] and Volume II
[PDF]. This is a repeat of the February 26 workshop. The workshop is
open to government workers only. For more information, contact Elaine Frye at
Deadline to submit comments to the
National Telecommunications and
Information Administration (NTIA) in response to its
notice in the Federal Register requesting comments to assist it in developing
recommendations to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) on the use of the 3650-3700 MHz band for unlicensed devices,
such as 802.11 (WiFi) and BlueTooth. The FCC released its
Inquiry [MS Word] on December 20, 2002. This is ET Docket No. 02-380. See, Federal
Register, January 28, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 18, at Pages 4118 - 4120. See also, story
titled "FCC Announces Notice of Inquiry Re More Spectrum for Unlicensed Use" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 566, December 12, 2002, and story titled "NTIA Seeks Comments on Use
of 3650-3700 MHz Band By Unlicensed Devices" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 832,
February 9, 2004.
|Monday, March 1
10:30 AM. The
Committee's Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the proposed
budget for the Department of Defense. Location: Room 192, Dirksen
Deadline to submit comments to
the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
regarding Level 3 Communications' petition
for forbearance requesting the FCC to forbear from application of
47 U.S.C. § 251(g), the
exception clause of § 51.701(b)(1) of the FCC's rules, and § 69.5(b) of the
FCC's rules to the extent those provisions could be interpreted to permit local exchange
carrier (LECs) to impose interstate or intrastate access charges on internet protocol
(IP) traffic that originates or terminates on the public switched telephone network
(PSTN), or on PSTN-PSTN traffic that is incidental thereto. This is WC Docket No. 03-266.
notice [3 pages in PDF].
Deadline to submit reply comments to the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to update
the record concerning petitions for reconsideration of rules that the FCC adopted in
the 1997 access charge reform docket. See,
notice in the Federal Register, January 16, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 11, at
Pages 2560 - 2561.
|Tuesday, March 2
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,
Location: Room 216, Hart Building.
10:00 AM. The
Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary
will hold a hearing on the proposed budget for the
Department of Commerce (DOC). Location:
Room S-146, Capitol Building.
10:00 AM. The
Committee's Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on the
proposed budget for science and technology programs, information analysis, and
infrastructure protection. Location: Room 124, Dirksen Building.
10:00 - 11:30 AM. The Federal Communications
Commission's (FCC) Media Security and Reliability Council will
notice in the Federal Register, October 21, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 203, at
Page 60104. For more information, contact Barbara Kreisman at 202 418-1600 or
Susan Mort 202 418-1043. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, TW-C305, 445
12th Street, SW.
4:00 PM. Gretchen Ann Bender
(University of Dayton School of Law) will
present a paper titled "The Return to Core Values: Intellectual Property as
a Commercialization Tool" in which she argues that intellectual property
is simply a tool by which the U.S. distributes, spreads, and commercializes
human creativity. For more information,
contact Robert Brauneis
at 202 994-6138 or email@example.com. Location:
George Washington University Law School, Faculty
Conference Center, Burns Building, 5th Floor, 716 20th Street, NW.
|Wednesday, March 3
10:00 AM. The
House Financial Services
Committee will hold a hearing on Hearing on
the "Stock Option Accounting Reform Act". Location: Room 2128, Rayburn
Deadline to submit comments to the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in
response to its
Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding modifying it frequency coordination
rules to promote sharing between non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) and
geostationary satellite orbit (GSO) fixed-satellite service (FSS) operations
and various terrestrial services operating in several frequency bands. This
NPRM considers a joint proposal submitted by SkyBridge and the Fixed Wireless
Communications Coalition (Growth Zone Proposal). This is ET Docket No. 03-254.
|Thursday, March 4
12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The
Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) will
host a luncheon. The speakers will include Charlie Ergen, Ch/CEO of EchoStar
Communications. RSVP to Brooke Emmerick at 202 289-8928 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. The PFF
also states that "Members of the media should contact David Fish at
202-289-8928 or email@example.com." Location:
Rotunda Room, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300
Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
10:00 AM. The
House Appropriations Committee's
Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on the proposed budget for
the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Ridge is scheduled to testify. Location: Room 2359, Rayburn Building.
1:00 PM. The
House Appropriations Committee's
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies will
hold a hearing on the proposed budget for the
Department of Justice (DOJ). Location:
Room H-309, Capitol Building.
|Friday, March 5
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Wireless Practice Committee will host
a luncheon. The topic will be "Meet CTIA's New Federal Regulatory and
Congressional Affairs Senior Team". The price to attend is $15. RSVP by
5:00 PM on March 3 to Wendy Parish at
firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information
contact Laura Phillips at 202 842-8891. Location: Sidley Austin, 1501 K
Street, NW, 6th Floor.
|CBO Issues Report on FTS/ETI Replacement
2/24. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
wrote a report [17
pages in PDF] titled "An Economic Analysis of Alternatives to Tax Reductions in
S. 1637". This is a broad bill that includes replacement legislation for the FSC/ETI
S 1637, the
"Jumpstart Our Business Strength Act", sponsored by
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA),
includes replacement legislation for the Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) and
Extraterritorial Income (ETI) tax regimes, which the
World Trade Organization (WTO) held to be
illegal export subsidies. S 1637 would repeal the current ETI regime
and replace it with a tax cut for all manufacturers, including family-held S
corporations and partnerships that produce goods within the U.S.
Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK),
who requested the CBO report, and Sen. Jon Kyl
(R-AZ), have proposed a 2 percentage point cut in the corporate tax rate. The CBO
report provides an economic analysis, including the impact on growth, efficiency,
jobs, and the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, of these proposals.
The CBO summarized the findings in a cover letter. It stated that "First,
an across-the board reduction in the corporate tax
rate would improve economic efficiency in all three of the contexts specified.
Second, both that cut and one targeted solely toward manufacturing would produce
a relatively minor increase in long-term growth compared with the current tax
regime and the provisions of S. 1637. Third, none of the alternatives considered
would have any significant short-term effect on employment. And fourth, a
corporate rate cut would improve the country’s international economic position
compared with the current tax regime, but it would have roughly the same effects
as the tax cuts embodied in S. 1637 or as a rate cut targeted solely toward
Sen. Grassley also released a
memorandum [2 pages in PDF] that responds to the CBO report.
|More Trade News
2/25. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)
introduced HR 3827,
the "Job Protection Act of 2004", a bill that includes replacement legislation
for the FSC/ETI tax regime. The bill was referred to the
House Ways and Means Committee, of
which Rep. Rangel is the ranking Democrat.
2/24. Rep. Marcy Kaptur
It is a long and rambling list of charges against international trade, free markets,
and investment. It states that it seeks to advance "the common good",
"the Earth's natural environment", "the most vulnerable
stakeholders", "the integrity of creation, and our common humanity".
|Japanese FTC Investigates Microsoft
2/26. Microsoft stated in a
release that "The Japanese
Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) sent officers to Microsoft's offices in Tokyo today
to collect information regarding a patent-related provision in Microsoft's Windows
and WinCE OEM contracts with PC and device manufacturers."
Microsoft described the provision under review. "This patent-related
provision provided that OEMs who took a license to Microsoft's Windows operating
system products, including Microsoft's patents on Windows, should not later sue
each other, or Microsoft, on claims that Windows violates their patents."
The Computer & Communications Industry
Association (CCIA), a Washington DC based interest group that is devoted in
significant part to complaining about Microsoft's business practices, offered an
alternative description. It wrote in a release that "Japan is currently
investigating the ``non-assertion´´ clauses Microsoft employs against computer
manufactures. If a computer manufacturer wants to license Microsoft's Windows, they
are forced into agreeing they will not assert any patent license fees against
Microsoft further stated that "This specific provision was reviewed and
passed muster under a competition law assessment conducted by the European
Commission in 2001. The U.S. Department of Justice reviewed the provision in the
mid-1990s. More recently, information concerning the provision was presented to
the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia in connection with the
remedies phase of the antitrust lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of
Justice and various states."
The CCIA further stated that "For a monopolist to withhold its
monopoly product in order to coerce compliance is unconscionable."
|More Capitol Hill News
2/26. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the
new Chairman of the House
Commerce Committee, scheduled, and then cancelled an event to announce a
new Committee structure. He stated in a short release that "I will have
additional announcements as to new committee structure and placements next week,
and look forward to continuing an active agenda."
2/26. The House Financial
Services Committee's Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and
Government Sponsored Enterprises scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, March 3 on
the "Stock Option Accounting Reform Act", sponsored by
Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA),
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA),
Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), and 43
others. This is the House companion bill to
sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY),
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and others. These
bills would require the expensing of stock options, but only for the top
executives of companies, with exemptions for small businesses and start ups.
|Computers as Nuisances
2/25. The U.S. Court of
Appeals (10thCir) issued its
opinion in Santana v. Tulsa, a constitutional challenge to a
municipality's enforcement of its nuisance ordinance. One Eddie Santana filed a
pro se complaint in U.S. District Court (NDOkla)
against the City of Tulsa, where he lives, after it had seized and removed some
items from the back yard of his house. The City argued that it had legitimately
seized junk pursuant to the city ordinance banning nuisances. The City prevailed
below, and Santana brought the present appeal. The Appeals Court
affirmed. What is notable about this case is that it did not involve junk autos
sitting atop cinderblocks, rusting refrigerators, or such other typical yard
junk. The City of Tulsa seized computer parts. This case is Eddie Santana v.
City of Tulsa, App. Ct. No. 03-5056, and D.C. No. 02-CV-577-H.
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