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March 24, 2004, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 862.
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Senate Communications Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Spyware Bill

3/23. The Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications held a hearing on spyware and S 2145, the "Software Principles Yielding Better Levels of Consumer Knowledge Act", or "SPY BLOCK Act".

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) introduced S 2145 on February 27, 2004. See, story titled "Senators Introduce Anti-Spyware Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 847, March 2, 2004.

The two original cosponsors are Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Sen. Burns is also the Chairman of the Subcommittee. Sen. Wyden and Sen. Boxer are also members the Subcommittee. These three participated in the hearing, as did Sen. George Allen (R-VA), who is not a cosponsor of the bill.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has also added her name as a cosponsor of the bill. Sen. Burns and Sen. Clinton have also worked together on other bills, such as S 1250, the "Enhanced 911 Emergency Communications Act of 2003".

Sen. Conrad BurnsSen. Burns (at right) stated at the outset of the hearing that "we may be a little bit ahead of the curve whenever we start talking about the subject" of this hearing. But, he said, "I am convinced that sypware is potentially an even greater concern than junk e-mail, given its invasive nature."

He defined spyware as software programs "that are downloaded onto users' computers without their knowledge or consent. It is a sneaky way, of software, that is often used to track the movements of consumers online, and even steal passwords. The porous gaps of spyware creates in a computer security may be difficult to close. For example, one popular peer to peer file sharing network routinely installs spyware to track users' information, and retrieve targeted banner ads and pop ups."

He added that "uninstalling it may prove to be difficult". He elaborated that "some spyware includes tricklers. Now we got a new word in our vocabulary now -- tricklers, which reinstall the files as you delete them. Users may think that they are getting rid of the problem, but the reality of the situation is far different. So creators of spyware have engineered the technology so that once it is installed on a computer it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to remove, and in some cases requires entire hard drive to be erased to get rid of the poisonous product."

He then summarized his bill. He said that it requires clear and conspicuous notice, consent, and reasonable uninstall procedures.

Sen. Wyden stated that "snoops and spies are trying to set up base camps in millions of computers across the country" and that consumers ought to be able to control what is on their computers.

Sen. Boxer stated that "this is a pro consumer bill", but that it is also "pro business", because if people think they are being spied on, they will use their computers less.

Sen. Allen stated that "under no circumstances is it acceptable for someone to secretly or deceptively monitor a consumer's activities online without that consumer's knowledge or consent, and any sort of misleading or false practices associated with spyware -- in my view, it threatens consumer confidence, I think it ruins, it harms, the internet's viable and usefulness, whether it is for commerce or for access to information. And in that sense, I thank you Senator Burns and Senator Wyden, for identifying this problem with you measure."

However, he continued that "I think we ought to consider all of the different options." He stated that he "would like to see a market driven approach", and one that does not dictate technologies. He also pointed out that there are existing laws, such as those against identity theft, fraud, and deceptive marketing practices, that already apply to spyware and adware.

Summary of S 2145. The bill contains three prohibitions. First, Section 2(a) of the bill provides that "It is unlawful for any person who is not the user of a protected computer to install computer software on that computer, or to authorize, permit, or cause the installation of computer software on that computer, unless ... the user of the computer has received notice ... the user of the computer has granted consent ... and ... the computer software's uninstall procedures satisfy the requirements" of the bill.

The bill also elaborates on the requirements for notice, consent and uninstall procedures.

Second, Section 2(b) provides that "It is unlawful for any person who is not the user of a protected computer to install computer software on that computer, or to authorize, permit, or cause the installation of computer software on that computer, if the design or operation of the computer software is intended, or may reasonably be expected, to confuse or mislead the user of the computer concerning the identity of the person or service responsible for the functions performed or content displayed by such computer software." The bill refers to this as the "red herring" prohibition.

Third, the Section 4 provides that "It is unlawful for any person who is not the user of a protected computer to use an information collection, advertising, distributed computing, or settings modification feature of computer software installed on that computer, if ... the computer software was installed in violation of section 2 ... the use in question falls outside the scope of what was described to the user of the computer in the notice provided ... or ... in the case of an information collection feature, the person using the feature fails to establish and maintain reasonable procedures to protect the security and integrity of personal information so collected."

The bill contains several exceptions pertaining to pre-installed software, software resident in temporary memory, and other software. The bill also contains a subsection providing immunity from liability for passive transmission, web hosting, and hyperlinking.

Finally, the bill addresses enforcement and remedies. There is no private right of action under this bill. Enforcement would be left to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), other federal agencies, and the states.

Witness Testimony. The panel of witnesses was not enthusiastic about the bill as introduced.

Robert Holleyman (P/CEO of the Business Software Alliance) argued in his prepared testimony that "the problem is with bad behavior, not bad software tools or products". Hence, "for that reason Congress should continue to ban the behavior not the technology. The problem is with abuse, not use, of technology." He added that "the bills as introduced can be improved by focusing more directly on punishing the behavior rather than the means by which it is accomplished. Such an approach enables Congress to avoid having to make very difficult decisions about the design and operation of technology."

He also stated that "Congress has wisely avoided technology mandates" in previous legislation, and should avoid technology mandates in any spyware legislation.

Holleyman also argued that the essential problem with spyware is the capture and distribution of information, and not pop up advertising.

He testified that "We suggest that Congress simply prohibit the distribution in interstate commerce of user information obtained electronically from an individual's computer, unless the person seeking to sell the information can show that it was collected with user's explicit permission or that it was obtained from an unaffiliated entity that represents it had collected the information with such permission."

He added that "We also believe that what the bill calls advertising, distributed computing, and settings modification features should not be included in this legislation."

Avi Naider, the P/CEO of Inc., testified about his advertising company. He described it as a software based online contextual marketing company. He did not describe his company's software as either "spyware" or "adware". He said that his company provides notice to consumers that its software is being installed on consumer's computers, and that it makes it easy for consumers to uninstall the software. However, he conceded that his company's software comes bundled with other software. He argued that companies like his benefit consumers.

He argued in his prepared testimony [PDF] that any legislation should be "nuanced" to distinguish between "legitimate" and "nefarious" software. However, he did not provide explanatory definitions, or proposed statutory language, in either his written or oral testimony.

Jerry Berman, President of the Center for Democracy and Technology, wrote in his prepared testimony [9 pages in PDF] that "proliferation of invasive software referred to as ``spyware´´ is a large and rapidly growing concern", and that it should be addressed by federal legislation.

However, he advocated legislation that addresses online privacy generally, not spyware specific legislation. Sen. Boxer responded that "I have no disagreement with anything that you just said, but I am also a practical legislator. And I can tell you now ... sometimes you can't get that overall."

The CDT also released a report [14 pages in PDF] back on November 18, 2003 titled "Ghosts in Our Machines: Background and Policy Proposals on the ``Spyware´´ Problem". See, story titled "CDT Releases Report on Spyware" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 782, November 19, 2003.

The final witness was John Levine, the P/CEO of Taughannock Networks. See, prepared testimony [PDF].

Related Bills. On July 25, 2003 Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) introduced HR 2929, the "Safeguard Against Privacy Invasions Act" introduced . This bill would prohibit the distribution of certain spyware programs over the internet without notice and consent. See, story titled "Rep. Bono Introduces Spyware Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 706, July 29, 2003.

Also, in the 107th Congress, Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) and Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) introduced S 197 (107th), the "Spyware Control and Privacy Protection Act of 2000".

There are also bills that are pending in state legislatures pertaining to spyware.

GAO Finds That FBI's IT Transformation is Over Budget and Behind Schedule

3/23. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary  held a hearing on the transformation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) information technology (IT). The Congress's General Accounting Office (GAO) testified that the FBI's Trilogy project to modernize its IT is $120 Million over budget, and 21 months behind schedule. Nevertheless, the GAO also found that the "FBI has made substantial progress".

Laurie Ekstrand and Randolph Hite of the GAO wrote in their prepared testimony [40 pages in PDF] that the "FBI's longstanding approach to managing IT is not fully consistent with the structures and practices of leading organizations. A prime example of the consequences of not employing these structures and practices is the cost and schedule shortfalls being experienced on Trilogy, the centerpiece project to modernize infrastructure and case management applications."

They elaborated that "To date, the FBI's management of Trilogy has resulted in multiple cost overruns and schedule delays." Specifically, they found that "the project's components have collectively experienced cost overruns and schedule delays totaling about $120 million and at least 21 months, respectively."

They also explained that the Trilogy project is the FBI's "centerpiece project to (1) replace its system infrastructure (e.g., wide area network) and (2) consolidate and modernize key investigative case management applications. The goals of Trilogy include speeding the transmission of data, linking multiple databases for quick searching, and improving operational efficiency by replacing paper with electronic files." (Parentheses in original.)

They further found that "Over the last several years, the FBI has not sustained IT management leadership. Specifically, the bureau's key leadership and management positions, including the CIO, have experienced frequent turnover. For instance, the CIO has changed five times in the past 24 months."

"In addition, the FBI has not provided its CIO with bureauwide IT management authority and responsibility. Rather, the authority and responsibility for managing IT is diffused across and vested in the bureau's divisions. As our research and work at other agencies has shown, managing IT in this manner results in disparate, stove-piped environments that are unnecessarily expensive to operate and maintain", wrote Ekstrand and Hite.

NCTA's Sachs Addresses Cable Programming, Decency, and Parental Controls

3/23. Robert Sachs, P/CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), gave a speech in Washington DC titled "Cable Puts You in Control".

"Congress, the FCC, and the American public are revaluating what Americans are watching on TV and seeing and hearing in the media", said Sachs. "They've put media companies under the spotlight, to examine the value and impact of TV content, and to size up our efforts to help consumers manage the tremendous flow of entertainment and information into their homes."

But, he stated that cable is "a medium that offers parents and caregivers control over the TV programming that flows into their homes. Through parental controls, channel blocking devices, the V-chip, and the TV ratings system, cable households, unlike broadcast only households, can enjoy enriching family entertainment while screening or otherwise blocking out programming they may not want to see."

He added that "we're a medium that educates our customers and viewers about their viewing options."

Another proposal for providing parents more control is to require cable and direct broadcast satellite companies to offer their customers the option of purchasing only those channels that they want. Proponents of this call it "a la carte". However, neither the cable nor the DBS industry provide this option. Proponents also tout this as a means giving consumers more control over their monthly bills.

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday, March 25, at 9:30 AM on cable pricing. Gene Kimmelman of the Consumers Union will testify. He is a leading proponent of cable a la carte.

Kimmelman wrote in his prepared testimony [PDF] for a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on May 6, 2003 that "Congress should require cable and satellite operators to offer consumers the right to select the channels they want to receive at a fair price – in other words, require an a la carte program offering from all video distributors. Since the average household watches only about a dozen channels of video programming, this requirement could empower consumers to help discipline excesses in cable (or satellite) pricing, and could possibly spur more competition." (Parentheses in original.)

On March 8, 2004, he wrote a letter to Senators while the Senate Commerce Committee was considering S 2056, the "Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act". He argued that "As the Senate Commerce Committee looks for solutions to stem the increase of violence, indecency and obscenity on television ... we ask that you consider a range of amendments that would give communities and consumers the most effective means of controlling the programming that comes into their homes." One of his recommendations was "give consumers the ability to select and pay for only those cable channels they want in their homes via an ``a la carte´´ option".

The NCTA's Sachs also addressed legislative activity. He stated in his March 23 speech that "Legislation to significantly increase the fines for indecency violations by free over-the-air broadcasters has been approved by the House. A similar, but not identical, bill emerged two weeks ago from the Senate Commerce Committee and could be taken up by the full Senate within several weeks. An amendment to give the FCC authority to impose comparable fines on cable and DBS was just narrowly rejected. Meanwhile Senate Commerce Chairman John McCain is considering introducing legislation to require a la carte pricing for all basic cable networks."

Sachs is not scheduled to testify at the March 25 hearing. However, James Robbins, P/CEO of Cox Communications, is scheduled to testify.

E-Mail Threatens Financial Viability of USPS

3/23. House Government Reform Committee and the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee held a joint hearing on U.S. Postal Service (USPS) reform issues. Witnesses stated that the USPS's financial viability is in jeopardy, in part because paper mail is being replaced by electronic mail.

David Walker of the General Accounting Office (GAO) wrote in his prepared testimony [PDF] that "Comprehensive postal reform is urgently needed. The Postal Service's financial viability is at risk because its business model -- which relies on mail volume growth to cover the costs of its expanding delivery network -- is not aligned with 21st century realities. Financial, operational, governance, and human capital challenges threaten the Service's ability to remain self-supporting while providing affordable, high-quality, and universal postal service."

Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), the Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, wrote in a prepared statement that "the current legal framework under which the Postal Service operates is outdated and unsuited for today's economy."

John Snow, the Secretary of the Treasury, wrote in his prepared testimony [6 pages in PDF] that "It is widely acknowledged that the current business model of the Postal Service is not sustainable going into the 21st century. Electronic diversion of mail volumes has caused a substantial and likely irreplaceable decline in first class mail. This trend is expected to continue."

John Potter, Postmaster General of the USPS, wrote in his prepared testimony [PDF] that "Mail volume has declined in each of the last three years, dropping more than five billion pieces from its peak in 2000, representing $4.5 billion less in revenue. During the same three-year period, the number of addresses we served increased by 5.4 million. This combination of factors -- declining mail volume contrasted with the costs of a still-growing service network, resulted in a net loss in three of the last four years.

"Electronic communications are increasingly being used for transactions that, in the past, have almost universally taken place through the mail", said Potter. "But electronic diversion will continue to occur -- and at a more rapid rate than we are experiencing today. Even the most carefully constructed price cap will result in rate increases that will accelerate the decline in overall mail volume."

David Fineman, Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, wrote in his prepared testimony [12 pages in PDF] that "the Postal Service faces a major structural change in the way Americans conduct business. Electronic alternatives to hard copy mail are becoming increasingly acceptable to the public and will continue to divert significant portions of the mail stream away from the Postal Service and onto the Internet. Significant amounts of business correspondence have been diverted from the mail stream, and the bills, payments and other financial transactions that constitute the bulk of First-Class Mail volume remain vulnerable to further diversion."

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Wednesday, March 24

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. The House will take up several items under suspension of the rules. On Wednesday or Thursday, the House is scheduled to take up HR 1768, the "Multidistrict Litigation Restoration Act of 2004". See, Republican Whip Notice.

9:30 AM. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on intellectual property piracy issues. Location: Room 419, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled "The State of U.S. Industry". Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans will testify. The hearing will be webcast. Press contact: Larry Neal or Jon Tripp at 202 225-5735. See, notice. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Paul Diamond to be Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) Technology Administration (TA) will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be "United States-Israel Biotechnology Seminar with Industry Leaders". The speakers will be Under Secretary for Technology Phillip Bond, Michael Werner (Biotechnology Industry Organization), and Robin Blatt (U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Commission). Location: Room 4813, DOC, 14th and Constitution Ave., NW.

2:30 PM. The House Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census will hold a hearing titled "Electronic Government: A Progress Report on the Successes and Challenges of Government-wide Information Technology Solutions". The witnesses will include Karen Evans (Office of Management and Budget), Linda Koontz (General Accounting Office), Martin Wagner (General Services Administration), Norman Enger (Office of Personnel Management), Kim Nelson (Environmental Protection Agency), George Strawn (National Science Foundation), and M. J. Jameson (GSA). Location: Room 2154, Rayburn Building.

Deadline to submit comments to the Copyright Office (CO) regarding its proposed rules governing the service of complaints, summonses, subpoenas and other legal process on the CO and its employees in their official capacities. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 23, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 35, at Pages 8120 - 8126.

Thursday, March 25

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. The House will take up several items under suspension of the rules. On Wednesday or Thursday, the House is scheduled to take up HR 1768, the "Multidistrict Litigation Restoration Act of 2004". See, Republican Whip Notice.

8:00 - 9:30 AM. The Republican Technology Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host a panel discussion titled "Global Competitiveness: Countering Economic Isolationism". The speakers will include Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Robert Goodman (Kentron Technologies). RSVP by March 23 to 202 467-4424 or See, notice. Location: American Gas Association, 400 North Capital Street.

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will host a meeting title "Emergency Communications and Homeland Security -- Working with the Disability Community". See, notice [PDF]. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW.

9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled "Escalating Cable Rates: Causes and Solutions". The witnesses will be Mark Goldstein (General Accounting Office), James Robbins (P/CEO of Cox Communications), George Bodenheimer (President of ESPN and ABC Sports), Gene Kimmelman (Director of the Consumers Union), and Rodger Johnson (P/CEO of Knology). The hearing will be webcast by the Committee. See, notice. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a hearing on HRes 568, which expressing the sense of the House that judicial determinations regarding the meaning of the laws of the U.S. should not be based on judgments, laws, or pronouncements of foreign institutions. The hearing will be webcast by the HJC. Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202 225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

12:00 NOON. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) will host a debate between Stanford Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig and PFF Fellow James DeLong. Lessig will also release his latest book, titled Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity [Amazon order page]. The PFF notice states that "Those interested in attending should register by contacting Brooke Emmerick at 202-289-8928 or Members of the media should contact David Fish at 202 289-8928 or Location: First Amendment Lounge, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Common Carrier Practice Committee will host a brown bag luncheon titled "Distribution of Universal Service Support to High Cost Areas: Reflections on the Joint Board 'Portability' Proceeding". The speakers will be Matthew Brill (Senior Legal Advisor to Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy), Karen Brinkmann (Latham & Watkins), Joel Lubin (AT&T), David Sieradzki (Hogan & Hartson). RSVP to Cecelia Burnett at 202-637-8312 or Location: Hogan & Hartson, 555 13th St., NW, Lower Level.

2:00 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 U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). USTR Robert Zoellick is scheduled to testify. Location: Room H-309, Capitol Building.

2:00 PM. The House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities will hold a hearing on the President's FY 2005 budget request for Department of Defense science and technology policy programs. The witnesses will be Ronald Sega (Director, Defense Research and Engineering), Anthony Tether (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Thomas Killion (Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology), Rear Admiral Jay Cohen (Chief of Naval Research), and James Engle (Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering). Location: Room 2212, Rayburn Building.

2:00 PM. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, and the House Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, will hold a joint hearing titled "Progress in Consolidating Terrorist Watchlists -- The Terrorist Screening Center (TSC)". The hearing will be webcast by the HJC. Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202 225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

4:00 PM. Joseph Scott Miller (Lewis and Clark Law School) will present a paper titled "Roles and Rules for Dictionaries in the Patent Office and the Courts". For more information, contact Robert Brauneis at 202 994-6138 or Location: George Washington University Law School, Faculty Conference Center, Burns Building, 5th Floor, 716 20th Street, NW.

Friday, March 26

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Consumer Advisory Committee will hold a meeting. See, agenda [PDF]. Location: FCC, Room TW-C305, 445 12th Street, SW.

9:30 AM. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) will host an event titled "Network Neutrality for the Broadband Internet". The speakers will include Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael Copps, Lawrence Lessig (Stanford University), Vinton Cerf (MCI WorldCom), and Timothy Wu (University of Virginia Law School), Andrew McLaughlin (Google), and Earl Comstock. To attend, contact Mark Cooper (CFA) at or 301 384-2204. Location: Room 628, Dirksen Building, Capitol Hill.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee will host a brown bag lunch regarding emerging technologies. The speakers will be Jeff Campbell (Cisco), Mark Murphy (Ericsson), Bill Lane (FCC Office of Strategic Planning), Kenneth Carter (FCC Office of Strategic Planning). For more information, contact Ken Carter at or Pam Slipakoff at Location: Willkie Farr & Gallagher, 1875 K Street, NW.

Monday, March 29

8:30 AM - 4:15 PM. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) will host its event titled "HDTV Summit: Partnership, Policy and Profits". Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, will be the keynote speaker at 9:40 AM. Prices vary. See, CEA notice. Location: Washington DC Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW.

9:30 AM. The U.S. Court Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in SBC Communications v. FCC, No. 03-1118. Judges Sentelle, Rogers and Tatel will preside. Location: 333 Constitution Ave.

Deadline to submit comments to various federal agencies regarding whether these agencies agencies should consider amending existing regulations that implement sections 502 and 503 of the Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLB) to allow or require financial institutions to provide alternative types of privacy notices. The agencies are the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). See, notice in the Federal Register, December 30, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 249, at Pages 75164 - 75174.

Tuesday, March 30

9:00 AM. The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will hold a meeting. The agenda includes "(1) Discuss a draft report from its workforce-education subcommittee; and (2) continue its discussion of nanotechnology and its review of the federal National Nanotechnology Initiative ... " See, notice in the Federal Register, March 17, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 52, at Page 12694. Location: Crystal Ballroom, St. Regis Hotel, 923 16th Street, NW.

10:00 AM. The House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on the proposed budget for the Science and Technology directorate at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Charles McQueary, Under Secretary for Science and Technology, is scheduled to testify. Location: Room B-308, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Network Reliability and Interoperability Council will meet. See, notice [PDF] and agenda [PDF]. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room (TW-C305), 445 12th Street, SW.

11:00 AM. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel discussion titled "Leveraging Cutting-Edge Commercial Technology For Defense". Joseph Mait (Center for Technology and National Security Policy), Stephen Prior (Potomac Institute for Policy Studies), Robert Bott (Boeing Company), James Jay Carafano (Heritage), and Jack Spencer (Heritage). See, notice. Location: Heritage, Lehrman Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE.

12:00 NOON. Deadline to submit written comments to the U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) regarding negotiating objectives for the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the U.S. and four Andean countries (Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia). See, notice in the Federal Register, February 17, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 31, at Pages 7532 - 7534.

2:00 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 Departments of Commerce, Justice and State. The purpose of this hearing is to allow Members of Congress to testify. Location: Room H-309, Capitol Building.

More Hearings on Capitol Hill

3/23. The Senate Committee on Aging held a hearing to examine the impact of internet fraud on seniors. See, prepared testimony of witnesses in PDF: Dave Nahmias (Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Justice), Lawrence Maxwell (Assistant Chief Inspector, US Postal Inspection Service), Howard Beales (Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission), Tanya Solov (North America Securities Administrators Association), David Jevans (Anti-Phishing Working Group), and Jeffrey Groover (Inmate, Federal Correctional Institute, Yazoo City, Mississippi).

3/23. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security held a hearing on HR 1731, the "Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act", and HR 3693, the "Identity Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act of 2003". See, opening statement of Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), the Chairman of the Subcommittee. See also, prepared testimony of witnesses: Timothy Coleman (Department of Justice, Criminal Division), Larry Johnson (U.S. Secret Service), and Robert Ryan [PDF] (TransUnion).

3/23. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled "Counterfeiting and Theft of Tangible Intellectual Property: Challenges and Solutions". See, prepared statement of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Chairman of the Committee, and prepared statement of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Committee. See also, prepared testimony of Jon Dudas (acting Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office), prepared testimony of Christopher Wray (Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division), prepared testimony of James Mendenhall (Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property), prepared testimony of Earl Anthony Wayne (Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs), prepared testimony of Richard Willard (SVP of the Gillette Company), prepared testimony of Brad Buckles (Recording Industry Association of America), prepared testimony of Vanessa Price (Burton Snowboards, Vermont), and prepared testimony of Timothy Trainer (International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition).

More News

3/18. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filed its brief [47 pages in PDF] with the U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir) in SBC v. FCC, a petition for review of an order of the FCC pertaining to authorizing a competitive carrier to be paid the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) tandem interconnection rate as reciprocal compensation for terminating traffic on its network when the competitive carrier's switch serves a geographic area comparable to the area served by the ILEC's tandem switch. This case is SBC Communications, Inc. v. FCC and USA, App. Ct. No. 03-4311.

3/23. The U.S. and Colombia announced that free trade negotiations between the two countries will begin on May 18. See, USTR release [PDF].

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