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March 16, 2005, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 1,096.
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Senate Committee Holds Hearing on SBC/ATT and Verizon/MCI Mergers

3/15. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the pending SBC/ATT and Verizon/MCI mergers.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), the Chairman of the full Committee, made an opening statement, and then departed. Sen. Mike Dewine (R-OH), the Chairman of the Antitrust Subcommittee, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), also made statements. The CEOs of all four companies testified. Then, Sen. DeWine and Sen. Kohl asked numerous questions.

Neither the Committee, nor the Congress, can block either merger, or impose any conditions. The Committee can hold hearings, and make recommendations to U.S. antitrust regulators. The Department of Justice's Antitrust Division could block, or impose conditions upon, either or both transaction. Also, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) exercises a redundant antitrust review in its proceedings on the transfer of FCC issued licenses associated with these mergers.

Sen. Specter said that "the question we have to answer is whether there will be sufficient competition for consumer protection."

Sen. DeWine said in his opening statement, and during questions, that the competition issue of concern to him is the telecommunications enterprise market. He said that the mergers will result in fewer competitors. He questioned to what extent intermodal competition will protect competition in the enterprise market. The CEOs argued that there is lots of intermodal competition.

Sen. Kohl asked the CEOs whether they would agree to certain conditions being imposed upon their mergers. All CEOs declined to agree to any merger conditions proposed by Sen. Kohl.

Sen. Mike DeWineSen. DeWine (at left) wrote in his prepared statement, which he read at the hearing, that "Market pressures and regulatory changes have significantly limited the options of the long-distance carriers, so that AT&T has already announced that it is exiting the market for residential service -- and MCI appears headed in the same direction. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that many have done a quick analysis and concluded that these deals do not pose any significant antitrust concerns. However, a quick analysis, whatever the outcome, is not enough. And in fact, I think that certainly there are some antitrust issues that require more thorough examination."

He continued that "Perhaps the most obvious area of concern is the so-called ``enterprise market´´ -- the sector of the market comprised of large businesses with sophisticated telecommunications needs. In this market sector, all four of the merging parties currently compete and so competition there will be affected by these deals. There are also questions regarding the impact of these deals on the markets for long-haul capacity, and in the market for Internet backbone."

Sen. DeWine said that "Certainly these mergers represent a loss of competition among the phone companies, but the remaining players will tell us that competition is flourishing via different platforms --specifically, that we will have cable companies, wireless companies, and companies that provide ``Voice Over IP´´ services. In other words, so-called ``inter-modal´´ competition will protect competition in these markets."

Sen. Herb KohlSen. Kohl (at right) said in his opening statement that "It is our first responsibility to ensure that these emerging new technologies have a real change to succeed. The possible benefits of new competition will drive growth throughout the economy for decades to come. We must insist that the promise of tomorrow's technology is not stifled in its infancy by today's consolidation. And we must seek to avoid the creation of a world where consumers are left with only two choices for a bundle of telecom services -- the ``Baby Bell´´ phone company and the cable company."

He said that "we have two concerns with these mergers. First will this consolidation decrease the choices and increase the costs to consumers and to business customers, both large and small? Second, how can we ensure that new technologies and new services can get access to the SBC and Verizon networks? A good place to start would be to require that the Baby Bells offer consumers the choice of buying Internet access without also requiring them to buy phone service. We expect to recommend additional specific pro-competitive merger conditions to the Justice Department and FCC in the coming weeks."

Edward Whitacre, Ch/CEO of SBC, stated in his prepared testimony, which he read, that with exceptions, "SBC and AT&T do not compete head to head", and where they do compete, there are numerous other competitors. Rather, by acquiring AT&T, SBC will be able to provide services that it does not now provide. He said the merger will "enhance competition".

David Dorman, Ch/CEO of  AT&T, asserted in his prepared testimony that "The merger is fully consistent with the antitrust laws. It will not lessen competition in any line of commerce or create a monopoly -- to the contrary, it will promote competition and benefit the public."

Ivan Seidenberg, Ch/CEO of Verizon, stated in his prepared testimony that "the old distinction between local and long distance is obsolete, as is the need for separate companies to provide them. Competing technologies – cable, wireless, satellite, IP, and wireline -- now offer consumers a wide range of choices for voice, data and, increasingly, video. And the pace of technological change is accelerating, which makes these markets more dynamic and competitive with each passing day."

Michael Capellas, P/CEO of MCI (formerly known as WorldCom), emphasized technological changes, and their consequences for competition, in his prepared testimony

He said that computing is changing the nature of telecommunications. "First of all, there is a movement within computing towards standardization. Basic computer building blocks such as servers, storage and microprocessors are standard devices that are addresses on a network and can reside anywhere. Second, the rise of Internet commerce accelerated the adoption of software standards that enable different systems to talk to each other. At the same time, new tools like web services are allowing developers to write applications across different platforms."

He said that "communications travel over the network in what we call ``packets.´´ There is no difference between a voice or data packet over the network. Whether you are making a voice call or purchasing an MP3 music file, it is all the same -- a packet is a packet."

"The Internet-driven standards that allow systems to talk to each other have redefined network requirements. Formerly, local, long distance and data traveled separate network paths. Now, there's a need for integrated, intelligent paths which can carry voice, data and streamed video without the developer or end-user needing to know or care how the path is developed."

Capellas said that "We are already seeing intermodal competition begin to take place with cable companies investing heavily in their networks. Wireless companies, such as Sprint and Nextel, are moving to provide wireless broadband services. Power utilities are beginning to provide facilities-based broadband in some localities. The use of licensed and unlicensed spectrum to provide new, wireless broadband networks will be an area of great significance in the coming years. Emerging intermodal competition promises a continuing, robustly competitive marketplace."

Sen. Kohl asked the CEOs if they would agree to certain merger conditions. For example, he asked if they would agree to a condition requiring the separate sale of internet access service without phone service. Seidenberg said that "I would prefer not to agree to any conditions." Whitacre said that "what you are asking is already being done". However, he would not agree to any conditions.

Sen. Kohl also asked about a merger condition prohibiting the blocking of access by VOIP providers such as Vonage. Seidenberg said that he knew of no case where Verizon has done that, and that Verizon has no reason to do that. But, he would agree to no condition. (See also, story titled "FCC Stops Broadband Provider From Blocking VOIP Traffic" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,089, March 7, 2005.)

Whitacre said that "SBC would not block any Vonage traffic, or anybody else's". But, he too did not want to commit to any conditions.

Sen. Kohl also asked the CEOs why some of them have been lobbying against municipalities providing internet access services. Seidenberg and Whitacre both argued that it is unfair for governmental entities that make laws, regulate, and charge franchise fees to telecommunications companies to also enter into competition with them.

Sen. Kohl also asked if after these mergers, SBC and Verizon will only compete in enterprise markets in their respective territories, rather than nationally, as had AT&T and MCI. Seidenberg and Whitacre insisted that they will compete nationally.

Sen. DeWine suggested that these two mergers, taken together, will constitute a three to one transaction for the enterprise market. That is, he said that there are now three main competitors, AT&T, MCI, and the RBOC. Whitacre, Seidenberg and Dornan all disputed this assessment. They asserted that there is competition from other carriers, and from non telecommunications companies, such as Cisco, IBM, Cox Cable, CSC, Lockheed, and BT.

Sen. DeWine also expressed his concern about the possible effect on competition in policy making. He said that previously AT&T and MCI could be counted on to oppose the RBOCs on public policy issues.

Finally, Sen. Kohl asked who would end up as CEOs of the two merged entities. The four CEOs sat in silence.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), whose state is served by SBC, did not attend the hearing, but submitted a statement for the record. He wrote that "I strongly support the SBC-AT&T union".

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the full Committee, did not attend, but submitted a statement for the record. He wrote that "we should closely scrutinize deals that would put more and more of our telecommunications infrastructure under the control of fewer companies. At the same time, we must also acknowledge and consider the rapid pace of technological change that has taken place within this industry in the past several years."

Sen. Leahy concluded that "While anti-trust enforcement always requires some attempt to predict the future, we in Congress must attempt to draft legislation that not only accommodates technological innovation, but protects and promotes it. This will be particularly important as Congress revisits the Telecommunications Act of 1996."

The Committee heard only from the CEOs of the four companies. Sen. DeWine announced that the Antitrust Subcommittee will hold a second hearing on April 19, 2005 at which it will hear testimony from other witnesses.

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Data Aggregators

3/15. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection held a hearing titled "Protecting Consumer's Data: Policy Issues Raised by Choice Point".

Derek Smith, Ch/CEO ChoicePoint, apologized to those individuals who have been harmed by ChoicePoint, and endorsed a national standard for mandatory disclosure to individuals whose personally identifiable information has been accessed without authorization by the data aggregator. Kurt Sanford, CEO of Lexis Nexis, a division of Reed Elsevier, offered his regrets to consumers, and likewise supported a limited mandatory disclosure standard. However, neither endorsed broader regulation of data aggregators.

ChoicePoint announced on February 21, 2005 that "organized criminals posing as legitimate companies gained access to personal information" about 145,000 individuals. See, story titled "ChoicePoint Describes Its Sale of Data to Identity Thieves" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,081, February 23, 2005.

Reed Elsevier announced on March 9, 2005 that its Seisint unit, which aggregates data on individuals, may have provided personal information on 32,000 individuals to unnamed persons or entities that may use the data for identity theft. See, story titled "Reed Elsevier Reveals Fraudulent Access to Databases of Personal Information" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,093, March 11, 2005.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) promoted privacy legislation that he introduced earlier this month. Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) advocated sweeping privacy legislation.

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), the Chairman of the Subcommittee, stated that "Recent security breaches at two of the biggest and most sophisticated companies in the industry, ChoicePoint and LexisNexis, highlight the need for this examination of the effectiveness of current regulatory regimes."

Rep. Clifford StearnsRep. Stearns (at right) also said that "There is clearly a need to consider a comprehensive federal consumer notification requirement when breaches occur, as well as a uniform national standard for securing personal information. This is the 21st century and total anonymity is not realistic, but consumers have a legitimate expectation to privacy and the knowledge that their personal information is secure. We need to look at balancing privacy with the legitimate need for access to this information for business and law enforcement purposes."

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the Chairman of the full Committee, said that "We've got to find a way to let you folks do what you do and also to protect the privacy of the individual citizen ... And there's a good chance that we will put together a bill that bans the sale of Social Security numbers."

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee, wrote in his opening statement [PDF] that ChoicePoint sold personal information of over one thousand of his constituents to identity thieves. "They had no ``Choice´´ about this … and that's the point", said Rep. Markey.

Rep. Markey introduced HR 1080, the "Information Protection and Security Act", and HR 1078, the "Social Security Number Protection Act", on March 3, 2005

He stated that HR 1080 "would subject information brokers like ChoicePoint to federal regulation by the Federal Trade Commission, and require that such brokers comply with a set of new fair information practice rules. These rules require information brokers to better secure the information in their possession, grant consumers the right to obtain access to and correct information held by the broker, require information brokers to protect information from unauthorized users, and prohibit users of an information broker from obtaining the information for impermissible or unlawful purposes. The bill's requirements will be enforceable through the FTC, which would be empowered to bring civil actions to punish and fine violators; the State Attorney's General, who could bring similar actions; and consumers,' who would be empowered to bring a private right of action."

He stated that HR 1078 "would bring a halt to unregulated commerce in Social Security numbers. This bill would make it crime for a person to sell or purchase Social Security numbers. Under the bill, the FTC would be given rulemaking authority to restrict the sale of Social Security numbers, determine appropriate exemptions, and to enforce civil compliance with the bill's restrictions. The bill would also authorize the states to enforce compliance, and provide for appropriate penalties."

Derek Smith, Ch/CEO of ChoicePoint, explained the benefits provided by his company in his prepared testimony [10 pages in PDF]. He said that "Last year ChoicePoint helped 100 million American consumers obtain fairly priced home and auto insurance, and thousands of American businesses obtain commercial property insurance. We also helped 8 million Americans get jobs through our workplace pre-employment screening services."

He also stated that "I know I am here because your committee and your constituents are concerned about the harm that may have been done to approximately 145,000 Americans, whose information may have fallen into the hands of criminals who accessed ChoicePoint systems. Let me begin by offering an apology on behalf of our company, as well as my own personal apology, to those consumers whose information may have been accessed by the criminals whose fraudulent activity ChoicePoint failed to prevent."

Smith then said that ChoicePoint has "decided to exit the consumer sensitive data market not covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, meaning ChoicePoint will no longer sell information products containing sensitive consumer data including social security and drivers license numbers except where there is a specific consumer driven transaction or benefit or where the products support federal, state or local government and criminal justice purposes. ChoicePoint will continue to provide authentication, fraud prevention and other services to large accredited corporate customers where consumers have existing relationships."

Finally, he stated that "I support a single, reasonable, nationwide mandatory notification requirement of any unauthorized access to personally identifiable information."

Kurt Sanford, CEO of Reed Elsevier's Lexis Nexis, wrote in his prepared testimony [13 pages in PDF] that "it appears that cybercriminals compromised IDs and passwords of legitimate Seisint customers and used those IDs and passwords to access certain Seisint databases. The information accessed was limited to public record information and certain identifying information, such as social security numbers and driver's license information." But, he offered no detailed explanation, cited an ongoing law enforcement investigation.

He added that "We further regret any adverse impact that this crime may have upon the individuals whose information was accessed."

He also stated that "we support requiring notification in the event of a security breach where there is substantial risk of harm to consumers."

In addition, he said that the Congress should preempt state laws. He said that "we believe that it is important that any such proposal contain federal preemption to insure that companies can quickly and effectively notify consumers and not struggle with complying with multiple, potentially conflicting and inconsistent state laws." He also said that LexisNexis supports the proposal "whereby the types of security protections required by the Safeguard Rule of the GLBA would be applicable to information service providers that are not themselves ``financial institutions´´ as defined under GLBA."

Finally, he argued that "It is critical that any legislation being considered ensure that legitimate businesses, government agencies, and other organizations continue to have access to identifying information that they depend on for important purposes including fraud detection and prevention, law enforcement, and other critical applications."

Deborah MajorasDeborah Majoras, Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), wrote in her prepared testimony [22 pages in PDF] that information aggregated by data brokers "may help credit card companies detect fraudulent transactions or assist law enforcement agencies in locating potential witnesses. Despite these benefits, however, there are concerns about the aggregation of sensitive consumer information and whether this information is protected adequately from misuse and unauthorized disclosure. In particular, recent security breaches have raised questions about whether sensitive consumer information collected by data brokers may be falling into the wrong hands, leading to increased identity theft and other frauds."

She also testified that data brokers are already "subject to a variety of federal laws with regard to the privacy and security of consumers' personal information."

Joseph Ansanelli, CEO of Vontu, offered some limited proposals in his prepared testimony [11 pages in PDF]. He wrote that "One possible solution to raise the level of consumer data protection is to extend existing industry specific consumer data protection requirements to cover any organization which stores private consumer data and create a preemptive and unified, National Consumer Data Security Standard."

He added that "One alternative would be very similar to GLBA and HIPAA in addition to a requirement for notification. The difference is that it would apply to any organization that stores consumer information regardless of industry or location."

Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), stated in his prepared testimony [14 pages in PDF] that "Choicepoint has made clear the need to regulate the information broker industry".

Rotenberg testified that the data brokerage industry is contributing to identity theft. He pointed out that ChoicePoint does not bear the cost of identity theft; consumers do. And because of this, ChoicePoint does not take these costs into consideration when deciding how much to spend on data security.

He argued that "that market-based solutions fail utterly when there is no direct relationship between the consumer and the company that proposed to collect and sell information on the consumer." Hence, there must be privacy regulation by the government.

He said that "there are clearly problems with both the adequacy of protection under current federal law and the fact that many information products escape any kind privacy rules. Choicepoint has done a remarkable job of creating detailed profiles on American consumers that they believe are not subject to federal law." He added that "Even their recent proposal to withdraw the sale of this information is not reassuring. They have left a significant loophole that will allow them to sell the data if they believe there is a consumer benefit."

He said that "this episode also demonstrates the failure of the FTC to aggressively pursue privacy protection."

"Extending notification statutes such as the California bill would be a sensible step but this is only a partial answer", said Rotenberg. He continued that "legislation such as the Information Protection and Security Act, H.R. 1080, provides a good starting point to safeguard consumer privacy and reduce the growing threat of identity theft. It would allow the FTC to develop fair information practices for data brokers; violators would be subject to civil penalties. Enforcement authority would be given to the FTC and state attorneys general. Consumers would be able to pursue a private right of action, albeit a modest one. And states would be free to develop stronger measures if they chose."

But, he said "a stronger measure would establish by statute these same authorities and impose stricter reporting requirements on the information broker industry. It would include a liquidated damages provision that sets a floor, not a limit, on damages when a violation occurs, as is found in other privacy laws. It is even conceivable that Congress could mandate that information brokers provide to consumers the same information that they propose to sell to a third party prior to the sale. This would make consent meaningful. It would promote record accuracy.

He also argued that information brokers "routinely sell data to law enforcement and other federal agencies" and "should be subject to the federal Privacy Act".

Rotenberg also opposed federal preemption of state data privacy laws.

The Senate Banking Committee also continued the hearing that it began on March 10, 2005. See, story titled "Senate Banking Committee Holds Hearing on Data Security" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,093, March 11, 2005. See, March 15 prepared testimony [PDF] of Don McGuffey (VP of ChoicePoint), prepared testimony [PDF] of Evan Hendricks (Editor of Privacy Times), and prepared testimony [PDF] of Barbara Desoer (EVP of Bank of America).

Bank of America announced on February 25, 2005 that it lost "computer data tapes" during "shipment to a backup data center". It stated in its release that "The missing tapes contained U.S. federal government charge card program customer and account information".

Desoer provided a more detailed explanation of the loss. She wrote that "The shipment took place on December 22, 2004. A total of 15 tapes were shipped. Five were lost in transit. Two of the lost tapes included customer information; the remaining three contained non-sensitive, back-up software. Backup tapes such as these are created and stored at remote locations as a routine industry contingency practice in the case of any event that might interrupt our ability to serve our customers. This is standard industry practice, and is designed to protect businesses, their customers, and the U.S. economy at large, in the event of disruptions in the economic environment that arise from either natural or man-made causes."

She added that "none of the tapes or their containers bore any markings or information identifying our company, the nature of their contents or their destination. Nor are any of the personnel involved in the shipping process aware of the nature of the materials being shipped. As to the tapes themselves, sophisticated equipment, software and operator expertise are all required to access the information."

She also testified that "no evidence to indicate that the tapes were wrongfully accessed or their content compromised."

Jury Returns Guilty Verdict in Ebbers Case

3/15. A trial jury of the U.S. District Court (SDNY) returned a verdict of guilty against Bernard Ebbers.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stated in a release that "Today's verdict is a triumph of our legal system and the application of our nation’s laws against those who breach them. We are satisfied the jury saw what we did in this case: that fraud at WorldCom extended from the middle-management levels of this company, all the way to its top executive."

Gonzales added that "The President's Corporate Fraud Task Force will continue to work to ensure justice for the workers and shareholders who lost billions of dollars to this fraud. We will also continue to work with those corporate leaders and CEOs whose exemplary ethical standards and transparent business models have helped build and fortify a nation’s trust in our economy."

Michael Capellas, the current CEO of WorldCom, which is now renamed MCI, testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the merger of Verizon and MCI on March 15. He said nothing in his prepared testimony about the history of accounting fraud at his company, or Bernard Ebbers. Senators asked him no questions about these subjects. Capellas walked away when asked by a reporter about the Ebbers case after the Senate hearing.

SEC Files Civil Complaints Against Nacchio and Other Former Qwest Executives

3/15. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil complaint [50 pages in PDF] in U.S. District Court (DColo) against Joseph Nacchio, a former Qwest CEO, and others, alleging accounting fraud.

The complaint states that "From at least April 1, 1999, through March 31, 2002, senior executives and others at Qwest Communications International Inc. engaged in a massive financial fraud that hid from the investing public the true source of the company’s revenue and earnings growth, caused the company to fraudulently report approximately $3 billion of revenue, and facilitated the company’s June 2000 merger with US West."

Stephen Cutler, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, stated in release that "Joseph Nacchio and others at Qwest wanted the company's shareholders to believe that the company was doing better than it actually was. Today's enforcement action once again tells corporate executives that they will be held personally accountable when they keep the truth from the marketplace."

The SEC also announced that two of the defendants have consented to the entry of judgment against them, and to pay fines and disgorgement. The SEC also announced that it filed three other related civil complaints in U.S. District Court against three former officers of Qwest.

This case is SEC v. Joseph Nacchio, et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, D.C. No. 05-MK-480 (OES).

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Wednesday, March 16

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. It will consider HR __, the "Emergency Supplemental Wartime Appropriations Act", and HConRes __, the "Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY 2006". See, Republican Whip Notice.

8:45 AM - 4:30 PM. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) will host a one day conference titled "Intellectual Property and Creativity -- Redefining the Issue". See, CEA notice. For more information, contact Jeff Joseph at 703 907-7664 or jjoseph at ce dot org. Location: Washington Convention Center.

9:30 AM. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff will speak on "the future direction" of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS notice states that "Media wishing to attend this event must present valid press credentials and arrive NO LATER than 8:30 AM for PRESET. Final access will be at 9:15 AM EST". Location: George Washington University, Media and Public Affairs Building, Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st St., NW.

9:30 AM. The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) will hold a news conference titled "The Future of Moore's Law". For more information, contact Lynne Johnson at 408 573-6619. Location: Murrow Room, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing titled "How Internet Protocol-Enabled Services are Changing the Face of Communications: A Look at the Voice Marketplace". See, notice. Press contact: Jon Tripp (Barton) at 202 225-5735 or Sean Bonyun (Upton) at 202 225-3761. The hearing will be webcast by the Committee. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee will meet to mark up S 256, the "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005". Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202 225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

LOCATION CHANGE. 12:00 NOON. The Cato Institute will host a luncheon panel discussion titled "Who Are the Real Free Traders in Congress?". The speakers will be Sen. John Sununu (R-NH), Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Dan Griswold (Cato). See, notice. Location: Room 538, Dirkesen Building, Capitol Hill.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Mass Media Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "Meet the Hill". The speakers will be Commerce Committee staff. No RSVP requested. For more information contact Frank Jazzo (Fletcher Heald & Hildreth) at jazzo at fhhlaw dot com. Location:National Association of Broadcasters,1771 N St., NW.

RESCHEDULED FOR MARCH 28. 12:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host a luncheon. The speaker will be Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael Copps. See, registration form [PDF]. The deadline for reservations and cancellations is March 24 at 5:00 PM. Prices range from $35 to $65. Location: J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Lower Level.

2:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing titled "Problems with the E-rate Program: GAO Review of FCC Management and Oversight". See, notice. Press contact: Jon Tripp (Barton) at 202 225-5735 or Jeff Miles (Whitfield) at 202 225-3115. The hearing will be webcast by the Committee. Location: Room 2322 (third floor hearing room), Rayburn Building.

3:00 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights will hold a hearing on obscenity prosecution and the Constitution. Press contact: Blain Rethmeier (Specter) at 202 224-5225, David Carle (Leahy) at 202 224-4242 or Tracy Schmaler (Leahy) at 202 224-2154. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

5:30 PM. The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), a new Democrat think tank, will host a book party for the publication of the book [Amazon] titled The Past and Future of America's Economy: Long Waves Of Innovation That Power Cycles Of Growth. The book addresses, among other topics, information technologies. The author is Robert Atkinson, Director of the PPI's Technology & New Economy Project. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) will speak. RSVP to Kyra Jennings at 202 547-0001 or kjennings at dlcppi dot org. Location: PPI, Suite 400, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.

The First Amendment Center (FAC) and the American Library Association (ALA) will host a conference titled "Congress and the Courts: Confronting Secrecy". Location: Freedom Forum's World Center, Arlington, VA.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to assist it in preparing the report required by Section 208 of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004 (SHVERA). The SHVERA requires the FCC to "complete an inquiry regarding the impact on competition in the multichannel video programming distribution market of the current retransmission consent, network nonduplication, syndicated exclusivity, and sports blackout rules, including the impact of those rules on the ability of rural cable operators to compete with direct broadcast satellite industry in the provision of digital broadcast television signals to consumers. Such report shall include such recommendations for changes in any statutory provisions relating to such rules as the Commission deems appropriate." See, FCC notice [4 pages in PDF]. This Public Notice is DA 05-169. See also, notice in the Federal Register, February 8, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 25, at Pages 6593-6595.

Thursday, March 17

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. It will consider HR __, the "Emergency Supplemental Wartime Appropriations Act", and HConRes __, the "Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY 2006". See, Republican Whip Notice.

9:00 AM - 6:15 PM. The Catholic University of America Law School (CUA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host a symposium titled "The Telecommunications Act of 1996: A Case of Regulatory Obsolescence?". See, agenda [PDF]. Location: CUA.

9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an executive business meeting. The agenda includes consideration of seven judicial nominees -- Terrence Boyle (4th Circuit), William Myers (9th Circuit), Thomas Griffith (DC Circuit), Paul Crotty (Southern District of New York), James Dever (Eastern District of North Carolina), Robert Conrad (Western District of North Carolina), and Michael Seabright (District of Hawaii) -- and five bills. See, notice. Press contact: Blain Rethmeier (Specter) at 202 224-5225, David Carle (Leahy) at 202 224-4242 or Tracy Schmaler (Leahy) at 202 224-2154. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The House Science Committee will meet to mark up several bills, including HR 28, the "High-Performance Computing Revitalization Act of 2005". Press contact: Joe Pouliot at 202 225-0581 or joe dot pouliot at mail dot house dot gov. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) World RadioCommunication 2007 (WRC-07) Advisory Committee's Informal Working Group 5: Regulatory Issues will meet. Location: Boeing Company, Arlington, VA.

1:00 PM. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold a hearing titled "Responding to Organized Crimes Against Manufacturers and Retailers". Immediately following the hearing, the Subcommittee will mark up HR 32, the "Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act". Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202 225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) World RadioCommunication 2007 (WRC-07) Advisory Committee's Informal Working Group 2: Satellite Services and HAPS  will meet. Location: Leventhal Senter & Lerman, Suite 600, 2000 K Street, NW.

3:30 PM. Alfred Yen (Boston College) will give a lecture titled "Liability With and Without Fault: A Re-appraisal of Secondary Liability in Copyright in the Internet Age" as part of the Georgetown Law Colloquium on Intellectual Property & Technology Law. For more information, contact Julie Cohen at 202 662-9871 or jec at law dot georgetown dot edu, or Jay Thomas at 202 662-9925. Location: Faculty Lounge, Fifth Floor, Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave., NW.

3:30 PM. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property will hold a hearing titled "Holmes Group, the Federal Circuit, and the State of Patent Appeals". See, opinion of the Supreme Court in Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornada Air Circulation Systems, Inc. Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202 225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

TIME? The American Intellectual Property Law Association's (AIPLA) Board or Directors will meet. Location: Arlington, VA.

Friday, March 18

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. It will consider HR __, the "Emergency Supplemental Wartime Appropriations Act", and HConRes __, the "Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY 2006". See, Republican Whip Notice.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding revisions to its Schedule of Regulatory Fees. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 28, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 38, at Pages 9575-9606.

Monday, March 21

The Senate will not meet on Monday, March 21 through Friday, April 1. See, Senate calendar.

9:30 - 11:30 AM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) World RadioCommunication 2007 (WRC-07) Advisory Committee's Informal Working Group 4: Broadcasting and Amateur Issues will meet. Location: Shaw Pittman, 2300 N St. NW.

10:00 AM - 3:30 AM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will host its second annual Satellite Forum. The event will be webcast by the FCC. See, FCC notice. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th St., SW.

6:00 - 8:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA), Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association (SBCA), and Satellite Industry Association (SIA) will host a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar titled "Satellite 101". Registrations and cancellations are due by 5:00 PM on March 17. See, registration form [PDF]. Location: Shaw Pittman, 2300 N St. NW.

Tuesday, March 22

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) and the Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association (SBCA) will host an event titled "Satellite Media Law Forum". Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein will speak at 9:00 AM. Location: National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Department of State's International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to prepare for the Organization of American States' (OAS) Inter-American Telecommunication Commission's (CITEL) Permanent Consultative Committee II meeting in Guatemala to be held in April 2005. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 30, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 250, at Pages 78515-78516. For more information, including the location, contact Cecily Holiday at or Anne Jillson at Location: undisclosed.

4:00 - 5:45 PM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion titled "The Future of the World Trade Organization". The speakers will be Jagdish Bhagwati (Columbia University), John Jackson (Georgetown University Law School), Gary Horlick (Wilmer Cutler & Pickering), Jay Smith (George Washington University), Hugo Paemen (Hogan & Hartson), Robert Lawrence (Harvard University). See, notice. Location: AEI, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.

Day one of a two day conference hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Information Systems Security Educators' Association (FISSEA) titled "FISSEA Conference: Target Training in 2005: Computer Security Awareness, Training, and Education". See, NIST notice and registration page. Location: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD.

Day one of a four day convention and expo hosted by the Access Intelligence (formerly named PBI Media) titled "Satellite 2005". See, notice. Location: Washington Convention Center.

6:00 - 8:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee will host a happy hour. For more information, contact Megan Anne Stull at 202 303-1189 or mstull at willkie dot com, or Jason Friedrich at 202 354-1340 or jason dot friedrich at dbr dot com. Location: Finemondo Restaurant, 1319 F St., NW.

Wednesday, March 23

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be "The FCC's Fiber Unbundling Rules - Is the TRO Working?". For more information, contact Jason Friedrich at 202 354-1340 or jason dot friedrich at dbr dot com. Location: Drinker Biddle & Reath, 1500 K St., NW.

Day two of a two day conference hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Information Systems Security Educators' Association (FISSEA) titled "FISSEA Conference: Target Training in 2005: Computer Security Awareness, Training, and Education". See, NIST notice and registration page. Location: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD.

Day two of a four day convention and expo hosted by the Access Intelligence (formerly named PBI Media) titled "Satellite 2005". See, notice. Location: Washington Convention Center.

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