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May 23, 2005, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 1,140.
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House to Vote on Spyware Bills

5/23. The House is scheduled to consider two spyware bills under suspension of the rules on Monday, May 23. See, Republican Whip Notice.

The House will consider HR 744, the "Internet Spyware (I-SPY) Prevention Act of 2005", sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and others. This is the bill reported by the House Judiciary Committee that amends Title 18 to criminalize some of the more egregious uses of spyware.

The House will also consider HR 29, the "Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act", sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA) and others. This is the bill reported by the House Commerce Committee (HCC) that prohibits a broad range of conduct with respect to spyware, and gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) civil enforcement authority.

Both bills are likely to be debated on Monday afternoon, with votes postponed until 6:30 PM. Consideration under suspension of the rules means that no amendments can be offered, and that a two thirds majority is required for approval.

Earlier version of both of these bills were approved by the House late in the 108th Congress by overwhelming margins.

HR 744 (109th) is a re-introduction of HR 4661 (108th Congress), titled the "Internet Spyware (I-SPY) Prevention Act of 2004". The House approved HR 4661 by a vote of 415-0 on October 6, 2004. See, Roll Call No. 503. See also, story titled "House Approves Second Spyware Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 993, October 8, 2004.

HR 29 (109th), as reported by the HCC, is a much revised version of HR 2929 (108th), also titled the SPY ACT, which the House approved by a vote of 399-1 on October 5, 2004. See, Roll Call No. 495. See also, story titled "House Passes First Spyware Bill" and story titled "Summary of House Commerce Committee Spyware Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 991, October 6, 2004.

The HJC approved HR 744 by voice vote, without amendment, at its mark up session of Wednesday, May 18. The HJC held no hearings in the 109th Congress on the subject of spyware.

The HCC approved HR 29 on March 9. It held a hearing, and mark ups at the subcommittee and full committee levels. For more on the content and legislative history of HR 29, see story titled "House Commerce Committee Approves Spyware Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,092, March 10, 2005; story titled "House Subcommittee Marks Up Spyware Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,080, February 22, 2004; and story titled "House Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Spyware Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,064, January 27, 2005.

The Senate has not taken any action on either HR 744 or HR 29. However, on March 20, 2005, Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced S 687, titled "The Spy Block Act". The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on May 11, 2005. See, story titled "Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Spyware" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,136, May 16, 2005.

Senate Approves Transportation Bill With Intelligent Transportation Systems Provisions

5/17. The Senate approved HR 3, the "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005", by a vote of 89-11. See, Roll Call No. 125. This is a huge bill that provides funding for road construction and other transportation related projects. The Senate bill provides for $295 Billion in projects. It also addresses intelligent transportation systems.

The House approved a much different version of the bill, titled the "Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users", on March 10, 2005, by a vote of 417-9. See, Roll Call No. 65. The House version provides for $284 Billion.

The overall funding level is President Bush's chief concern. He favors the lower level. However, there are also many other differences between the two bills, including in the numerous provisions regarding intelligent transportation systems (ITS).

ITS involves the use of technologies, including spectrum based communications technologies and information technologies, to improve safety and efficiency in surface transportation systems, such as highways, and vehicles. See also, the Department of Transportation's (DOT) ITS web page, and the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) ITS web page.

The trade group ITS America, praised the Senate in a May 17 release, and "expressed the hope that key ITS provisions in the House version of the bill will be accepted by the Senate during the conference committee meeting scheduled to take place sometime over the next several weeks".

Section 1205 of the House bill, titled "Intelligent Transportation Systems Deployment", provides, in part, that "The purpose of this section is to ensure that a minimum of $2,500,000,000 of the amounts authorized to be appropriated for the National Highway System, Interstate maintenance, surface transportation, and congestion mitigation and air quality improvement programs for fiscal years 2005 through 2009 is utilized to expand deployment of intelligent transportation systems".

Section 1204 of the House bill, titled "Expedited National Intelligent Transportation Systems Deployment Program", provides in part that "The Secretary shall establish a comprehensive program to accelerate the integration, interoperability, and deployment of intelligent transportation systems in order to improve the performance of the surface transportation system in metropolitan and rural areas."

Sections 5101-5103 of the House bill authorize appropriations for ITS research. Sections 5601-5612, regarding "Intelligent Transportation Systems Research", identify the ITS research to be conducted.

FRB Governor Addresses Technological Innovation in Payments System

5/19. Federal Reserve Board (FRB) Governor Mark Olson gave a speech titled "The Federal Reserve in an Electronic World". He spoke at the 2005 Payments Conference, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

He stated that "users of the payments system are moving away from the use of paper checks and toward much greater use of electronic payments".

The reviewed technological developments behind this trend, legal and regulatory changes, such as the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, and the role of the Federal Reserve in the payments system.

He found that "Overall, a more electronic payments system will benefit society and will help improve payments system efficiency." He said that "With more channels for processing payments, the payments system infrastructure will become more diverse and more resilient."

However, he added that "the payments industry will have to rely more heavily on key telecommunications networks and computing systems. Mitigating the risk associated with greater reliance on electronic processing is vital and should be a top priority for the payments industry."

He also addressed whether the ongoing innovation and change in the payments system warrants changes in the regulation. He cautioned that "efforts to alter current laws and regulations may assume that today's technological state of the art will also be tomorrow's" and that "any changes based on that assumption could have the unintended consequence of stifling innovation."

People and Appointments

5/19. President Bush nominated Edmund Hawley to be an Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security. See, White House release.

5/19. Olin Wethington was named Special Envoy on China by Secretary of the Treasury John Snow. He will remain Counselor to the Treasury Secretary. He has previously held various positions at the Treasury Department related to international financial diplomacy. He has also been a partner at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson. See, Treasury release.

More News

Alberto Gonzales5/20. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (at right) gave a speech in Washington DC. He addressed many topics, including extending the sunsetting provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. He stated that "Because the threat remains, we must continue to provide law enforcement with the tools it needs to take the fight to our terrorist enemies -- and one of those tools is the PATRIOT Act. Over the past several weeks, I -- and others in the Department -- have testified before Congress about the importance and effectiveness of these authorities. And United States Attorneys from around the country have shared stories of the Act's usefulness from the front lines of the war on terror -- both with Congress and in public forums. This is all part of our effort to focus on the facts. That's why we have de-classified information about the frequency with which we've used some of the authorities of the Act. The Department has rebutted many misconceptions. There has not been one single verified violation of civil rights or civil liberties in the three-and-a-half year history of the PATRIOT Act."

5/19. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held an event titled "open meeting" on Thursday, May 19. The FCC released an agenda [PDF] for this event on Thursday, May 12. That agenda listed two items. First, there was the matter regarding 911/E911 rules and voice over internet protocol (VOIP) services. The FCC adopted an order and further notice of proposed rulemaking. Second, the May 12 agenda stated that the FCC would consider an item regarding its lack of management and oversight of its programs that subsidize schools and libraries and rural health care. The FCC issued a written notice [PDF] on May 19 stating that this item was deleted from the meeting agenda.

5/19. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report [22 pages in PDF] titled "Information Security: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Needs to Sustain Progress". This report finds that "Although FDIC has made substantial improvements in its information system controls, GAO identified additional weaknesses that diminish FDICís ability to effectively protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of its financial and sensitive information systems. These included weaknesses in electronic access controls, network security, segregation of computer functions, physical security, and application change control. Although these do not pose significant risks to FDICís financial and sensitive systems, they warrant managementís action to decrease the risk of unauthorized modification of data and programs, inappropriate disclosure of sensitive information, or disruption of critical operations."

5/19. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff gave a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. He spoke about, among other things, use of new technologies.

5/18. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) released a study of international software piracy. See, BSA release, with hyperlink to the study.

5/18. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) released a paper [26 pages in PDF] titled "Can Broadcast Indecency Regulations Be Extended to Cable Television and Satellite Radio?" It was written by Robert Corn-Revere, an attorney with the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Monday, May 23

The House will meet at 12:30 PM for morning hour and 2:00 PM for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 PM. The House will consider both the House Commerce Committee's and the House Judiciary Committee's spyware related bills, HR 29, the "Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act", and HR 744, the "Internet Spyware (I-SPY) Prevention Act of 2005". The agenda also includes HR 32, the "Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act" and HR 1224, the "Business Checking Freedom Act of 2005". See, Republican Whip Notice.

The Senate will meet at 11:30 AM. It will resume its consideration of the nomination of Judge Priscilla Owen to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

TIME CHANGE. 12:30 PM. The Senate Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight will hold a hearing titled "Blowing the Cover on the Stealth Tax: Exposing the Individual AMT". There are many pending bills to modify or repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). See for example, HR 703, the "AMT Middle Class Fairness Act of 2005" and HR 1186, the "Alternative Minimum Tax Repeal Act of 2005". Location: Room 628, Dirksen Building.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding its intercarrier compensation system. This FNPRM is FCC 05-33 in CC Docket No. 01-92. The FCC adopted this FNPRM at its meeting of February 10, 2005, and released it on March 3, 2005. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 24, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 56, at Pages 15030 - 15044. See also, story titled "FCC Adopts FNPRM in Intercarrier Compensation Proceeding" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,076, February 14, 2005.

Tuesday, May 24

The House will meet at 9:00 AM for morning hour, and at 10:00 AM for legislative business. It will take up bills related to stem cell research, and HR 2419, the energy appropriations bill. See, Republican Whip Notice.

9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled an executive business meeting. See, notice. The SJC frequently cancels meetings without notice. The SJC rarely follows its agenda. 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.

9:30 AM. The Senate Intelligence Committee will hold another hearing on the USA PATRIOT Act. Location: ?

10:00 AM. The House Ways and Means Committee will meet to mark up HJRes 27, a joint resolution withdrawing the approval of the U.S. from the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO). Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.

10:00 The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary will hold a hearing on the proposed budget for FY 2006 for the Department of Justice. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller will testify. See, notice. Location: Room 192, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on numerous pending nominations, including Shara Aranoff (to be a Member of the International Trade Commission) and Timothy Adams to be Under Secretary for International Affairs at the Department of the Treasury. Location: Room 628, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold a pre-auction seminar for the Lower 700 MHz Band Auction (Auction No. 60). Pre-register by May 20. See, FCC notice [PDF]. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW.

12:00 NOON. BellSouth will host a news conference to release a study titled "Is Now the Time to Reform Telecom Laws?" For more information, contact Linda Paris at 202 365-3343. Location: Zenger Room, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

12:30 PM. Pat Mitchell, P/CEO of the Public Broadcasting System, will give a luncheon address. Location: Ballroom, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

POSTPONED. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) will host a seminar on enforcement.

2:30 PM. The House Rules Committee will meet to adopt a rule for the consideration of HR 1815, the "National Defense Authorization Act FY 2006". Location: Room H-32, Capitol Building.

Deadline to submit to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reply comments and oppositions to petitions to deny in its antitrust merger review proceeding (transfer of control of licenses) associated with the acquisition of MCI by Verizon. See, FCC Public Notice DA 05-762 in WC Docket No. 05-75.

Wednesday, May 25

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. It will begin consideration of HR 1815, the "National Defense Authorization Act FY 2006". See, Republican Whip Notice.

8:15 AM. The ABA's Committee on Law & National Security will host a panel discussion titled "PATRIOT Debates: Experts Debate the Patriot Act". For more information, contact Holly McMahon at 202 662-1035 Location: Holeman Lounge, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled an executive business meeting. See, notice. The SJC frequently cancels meetings without notice. The SJC rarely follows its agenda. 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.

9:30 AM. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearings titled "How Counterfeit Goods Provide Easy Cash for Criminals and Terrorists". See, notice. Location: Room 562, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on pending nominations, including that of Ben Bernanke to be a Member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. See, notice. Location: Room 538, Dirksen Building.

12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) State and Local Practice Committee will host a brown bag seminar titled "Mergers and Consolidations in the Telecommunications Industry and their Impact on Competition". The speakers will be Robert Nelson (Commissioner of the Michigan PSC and Chairman of NARUC's Committee on Communications), Heather Gold (XO Communications), and Gary Phillips (SBC). RSVP to Enrico (Erick) Soriano at esoriano at fw-law dot com. For more information, contact Enrico Soriano, J.G. Harrington at jharringto at dlalaw dot com, or Brad Ramsay at jramsay at naruc dot org. Location: Fleischman & Walsh, 1919 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, 6th Floor.

2:30 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee's Intellectual Property Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing titled "Piracy of Intellectual Property". See, notice. The SJC frequently cancels meetings without 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.

Thursday, May 26

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. It will continue its consideration of HR 1815, the "National Defense Authorization Act FY 2006". See, Republican Whip Notice.

9:30 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold another in its long series of oversight hearings on the USA Patriot Act (PA). This hearing is titled "Implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act: Sections 505 and 804". Section 505 of the PA pertains to national security letters. Section 804 of the PA pertains to jurisdiction over crimes committed at U.S. facilities abroad, and material witness provisions of the Criminal Code. The hearing will be webcast by the HJC. Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202 225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

11:30 AM. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing on its discussion draft of HR __, the "DTV Transition Act of 2005". This hearing will be webcast by the HCC. See, notice. Press contact: Larry Neal at 202 225-5735. Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building.

2:00 PM. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary will hold a hearing on the proposed budget for FY 2006 for the Department of Commerce. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez will testify. See, notice. Location: Room S-146, Capitol Building.

2:30 PM. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and International Security will hold a hearing titled "An Assessment of Federal Funding for Private Research and Development". The witnesses will be Robin Nazzaro (Government Accountability Office), Brian Reidl (Heritage Foundation), and Charles Wessner (The National Academies). See, notice. Location: Room 562, Dirksen Building.

Friday, May 27

The House may meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. It would continue its consideration of HR 1815, the "National Defense Authorization Act FY 2006". See, Republican Whip Notice.

Deadline to submit comments to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in response to its notice in the Federal Register pertaining to deemed exports. The BIS seeks comments regarding the report [64 pages in PDF] written by the Department of Commerce's (DOC) Office of Inspector General (OIG) titled "Deemed Export Controls May Not Stop the Transfer of Sensitive Technology to Foreign Nationals in the U.S.". See, Federal Register, March 28, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 58, at Pages 15607 - 15609.

Deadline to submit comments to the Copyright Office in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding requiring eligible digital audio services availing themselves of the statutory licenses set forth in 17 U.S.C. ßß 112 and 114 to report their usage of sound recordings. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 27, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 80, at Pages 21704-21711.

Monday, May 30

Memorial Day.

The House will not meet on Monday, May 30 through Friday, June 3. See, House calendar.

The Senate will not meet on Monday, May 30 through Friday, June 3. See, Senate calendar.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other federal offices will be closed for Memorial Day. See, Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) list of federal holidays.

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