|FCC Receives Comments Regarding Use
of Consumer Electronic Devices on Aircraft
5/26. May 26 was the extended deadline to submit comments to the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response
to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in its proceeding titled "In the matter
of Amendment of the Commission’s Rules to Facilitate the Use of Cellular Telephones and
other Wireless Devices Aboard Airborne Aircraft".
The FCC adopted this NPRM on December 15, 2004. See, story
titled "FCC Announces NPRM on Cellphones in Airplanes" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 1,039, December 16, 2004. See also, story titled "FCC Adopts Order
and NPRM Regarding Air Ground Service in the 800 MHz Band" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 1,040, December 17, 2004.
The FCC released the
text [28 pages PDF scan] of this NPRM on February 15, 2005. This NPRM is FCC
04-187 in WT Docket No. 04-435. The extended deadline to submit reply comments
is June 27, 2005. See,
order [2 pages in PDF] (DA 05-1015) dated April 5, 2005.
Boeing, a U.S. aircraft manufacturer, and the
leading proponent of expanded use of wireless devices aboard aircraft, submitted a
comment [34 pages in PDF] in which argued that "allowing the use of wireless devices
during flight will provide significant public benefits to passengers, airlines and service
It recommended that the FCC "adopt comprehensive service rules applicable
to the operation of airborne picocell systems in all commercial mobile radio service (``CMRS´´)
spectrum bands, including the cellular, PCS, WCS and SMR bands."
Boeing stated that these rules should provide that "any entity
technically and financially capable of providing in-cabin wireless services
should be authorized to do so on an unlicensed basis, subject to Federal
Aviation Administration rules and the technical requirements adopted by the
Commission to avoid the potential for harmful interference to co-channel
terrestrial services. Existing CMRS licensees should not have exclusive
authority to provide such services."
It also wrote that these rules should provide that "airborne
picocell systems should be accessible to any wireless customer in good standing
with its home provider if the customer is using equipment that is technically
compatible with the airborne picocell system. Access to airborne wireless
services can be viewed as “roaming” similar to the roaming privileges that
wireless subscribers otherwise enjoy when located in the service area of another
terrestrial wireless carrier."
It also wrote that "although the potential for interference from
airborne picocell operations to terrestrial wireless systems is slim, the
Commission should adopt appropriate technical standards and operational
requirements for the provision of airborne wireless services."
In contrast, the Cellular
Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), which represents
terrestrial wireless systems, argued that in its
comment [20 pages in PDF] that there is a threat of harmful interference
with existing terrestrial CMRS operations, and hence, "airborne use of CMRS
spectrum should not be initiated".
Space Data Corporation argued in its
comment [10 pages in PDF] that "should ensure that its rules regarding the
operation of wireless devices on aircraft are technologically neutral. It
should: (1) lift the existing prohibition against using 800 MHz cellular
handsets on airplanes and decline to extend the prohibition to personal
communications service (``PCS´´) devices; and (2) not require the use of pico
cells to provide ATG services if the specific service can be provided without
causing harmful interference to terrestrial wireless licensees."
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)
comment [9 pages in PDF] in which it made the distinction between wireless
devices that enable voice communications, and other devices. It wrote that voice
devices can be disruptive in confined spaces, and their use should be regulated,
not by the FCC, but by the airlines. The CEA wrote that consumer interest in
e-mail, internet access, and other services is greater, and should be
facilitated by the FCC.
The CEA wrote that "many consumers are interested in using their own
electronic devices to access a wireless data network or the Internet while airborne, which
is key to maintaining productivity while outside the home or office."
It advocated "greater in-flight access to mobile data services, recognizing
that the use of voice communications in flight poses significant risk of disruption to
travelers in the confined space of an airplane. According to Forrester Research, only 13
percent of business travelers and less than 10 percent of leisure travelers expressed
interest in using their mobile phones on planes for conversation. While consumers seem far
more interested in using data applications such as e-mail or text messaging while airborne,
CEA recognizes that even a small number of passengers interested in utilizing voice
communication raises significant social issues. ... For this reason, CEA supports limits on
voice communications, as determined and enforced by individual airlines."
The Air Line Pilots Association submitted a
comment [4 pages in PDF] highly critical of use of all sorts of consumer
electronic devices on or near aircraft.
A group named Morality in Media submitted a
comment [10 pages in PDF] in which it complained about "this cacophony of
cellular banter". This comment stated that the "quiet and unobtrusiveness of
airplane travel can be a godsend". Hence, it recommended that there be cell phone
sections on airplanes, like smoking sections in restaurants.
|FBI Seeks CALEA Rules in FCC Proceeding
Regarding Wireless Devices on Aircraft
5/26. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submitted a joint
comment [23 pages in PDF] to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) in its proceeding on the use of consumer wireless devices aboard
aircraft. The FBI and DHS seek CALEA rules, even though this is not a CALEA proceeding.
They argue that the service providers "implicated by this proceeding" must
"comply with the requirements of CALEA". The 1994
Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requires telecommunications carriers to
"ensure that its equipment, facilities, or services that provide a customer or
subscriber with the ability to originate, terminate, or direct communications are capable
of expeditiously isolating and enabling the government ... intercept, to the exclusion of
any other communications, all wire and electronic communications carried by the carrier
NPRM [28 pages in PDF] did not propose any new rules implementing, or ask
for comments on, the CALEA. Nevertheless, the FBI has for several years been
submitting documents to the FCC that request rulings and/or rules related to the
CALEA, in non-CALEA proceedings.
The FCC's notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)
addresses airborne use of cell phone service, which is provided by carriers, and
use of other wireless services, such as internet access, which may not be
provided by carriers. The FBI's request, by implication, seeks expansion of the
scope of the CALEA to non-carriers. This is an argument that the FBI has made in
greater detail in other filings with the FCC. What is new in this filing is that
the FBI asks the FCC to promulgate extensive rules regulating the design
and use on airborne wireless systems, under the purported authority of the CALEA.
The FCC adopted the present NPRM on December 15, 2004. It released it on
February 15, 2005. This NPRM
is FCC 04-187 in WT Docket No. 04-435. The FCC also has an open proceeding
regarding CALEA related issues. The FBI asked for that proceeding, and has filed
comments in that proceeding. That NPRM is FCC 04-187 in ET Docket No. 04-295 and
RM-10865. See, story titled "Summary of the FCC's CALEA NPRM" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 960, August 17, 2004.
The FBI states that terrorists have hijacked aircraft, and that it therefore
wants to be able to immediately intercept and disrupt any onboard
However, the FBI also articulates several considerations that militate against
allowing any onboard wireless devices. For example, it states that "the use of personal
wireless telephones onboard aircraft could potentially facilitate a coordinated attack".
It also states that "Although the potential for terrorists and other criminals to use
communications devices as remote-controlled improvised explosive devices (``RCIEDs´´) already
exists, the risk of RCIED use may, at least in theory, be increased as a result of the ability
of aircraft passengers to now effectively use personally-owned wireless telephones and similar
communications devices in-flight."
The FBI asks the FCC to impose numerous design requirements. For example, it
wants the FCC to require that "any wireless telecommunications capability to or
from an aircraft operating in United States airspace utilize mobile switching
centers (``MSCs´´) located within the United States' borders only and not MSCs
located along the border in neighboring countries."
It further wants the FCC to mandate intercept capability within 10 minutes
from the moment of notification.
It also wants the FCC to require "that all wireless/air-to-ground carriers/pico cell
providers (1) create and maintain the capability to record (and do record) at
some central, land-based storage facility located within the United States, at a
minimum, non-content call records relating to all calls processed to and from
wireless telephones onboard aircraft operating within United States air space,
international air space contiguous or attendant to United States air space, and
international air space used en route to or from United States air space or
destinations, and (2) provide law enforcement with immediate access to such
records upon lawful request." (Parentheses in original.)
The FBI also wants the FCC to write rules "concerning in-flight personal
wireless phone use"; it asserts that "unrestricted use" could lead to
"air rage". The FBI offered no suggests regarding what these rules of personal
etiquette should require.
And finally, the FBI argues that the FCC "must consider ... commercial
equities". However, it does not explain what a "commercial equity" is.
|GAO Reports on Government Use of RFID
5/27. The Government Accountability Office
(GAO) released a report [41 pages in
PDF] titled "Information Security: Radio Frequency Identification Technology in the
Federal Government". This report reviews the technology, federal agency
initiatives to use RFID technology, and standards for interoperability.
The report also addresses privacy and security issues. It states that
"Several security and privacy issues are associated
with federal and commercial use of RFID technology. The security of tags and
databases raises important considerations related to the confidentiality,
integrity, and availability of the data on the tags, in the databases, and in
how this information is being protected."
The report elaborates that "these issues included ensuring that
only authorized readers or personnel have access to information, maintaining the
integrity of the data on the chip and stored in the databases, and ensuring that
critical data is fully available when necessary. Other issues with implementing
the technology included the potential for various attacks, such as
counterfeiting or cloning, replay, and eavesdropping; the
possibility of electronic collisions when multiple tags and/or readers are
present; and the presence of unauthorized components that may interfere or
imitate legitimate system components."
It also states that "Without effective security controls, data
on the tag can be read by any compliant reader; data transmitted through the air
can be intercepted and read by unauthorized devices; and data stored in the
databases can be accessed by unauthorized users."
The report continues that the security risks associated with the
use of RFID technology can be mitigated by using the risk-based framework
mandated by the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), encryption,
The report also reviews privacy issues. It states that many uses of RFID
technology have no privacy implications, such as inventory control. However,
other uses involve issues of notification to individuals, tracking of
individuals, and profiling of individuals. There is also the matter of secondary
uses, or mission creep, for data collected with RFID technology.
The report states that "tags can be read by any compatible
reader. If readers and tags become ubiquitous, tagged items carried by an
individual can be scanned unbeknownst to that individual. Further, the increased
presence of readers can provide more opportunities for data to be collected and
aggregated. As the uses of technology proliferate, consumers have raised
concerns about whether certain collected data might reveal personal information
such as medical predispositions or personal health histories and that the use of
this information could result in denial of insurance coverage or employment to
The report also states that "three agencies raised the issue of
protecting personal data, such as date of birth and biometrics, contained on the
tag as well as the associated database that stores this information."
The report reviews existing statutes. One point that is makes is
that "As a practical matter ... the Privacy Act is likely to have a limited
application to the implementation of RFID technology because the act only
applies to the information once it is collected, not to whether or how to
|The TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert was not published on Friday, May 27, or on Monday,
|Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
|Tuesday, May 31
The House will not meet on Monday, May 30 through Friday, June 3. See,
The House will next meet at 2:00 PM on Monday, June 7. See,
Republican Whip Notice.
The Senate will not meet on Monday, May 30 through Friday, June 3. See,
|Wednesday, June 1
Day one of a two day conference titled "Broadband Policy Summit
2005: A New Leadership Blueprint" hosted by Pike & Fischer. See,
Willard InterContinental Hotel.
Deadline to submit comments to the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding two modes of operation --
Galois Counter Mode (GCM) or the Carter-Wegman + Counter (CWC) -- for use with the Advanced
Encryption Standard (AES). See, NIST web page regarding
|Thursday, June 2
9:00 AM. The Center
for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the
Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet (IPDI) will host a news
conference regarding the Federal Election
Commission's (FEC) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding
regulation of internet related speech. The speakers will be John Morris
(CDT), Carol Darr (IPDI), Mike Krempasky (RedState.Org), and Michael Bassik (MSHC
Partners). See, the CDT/IPDI web page
regarding this NPRM. There will be a light breakfast. Please RSVP to Danielle
Wiblemo dani at cdt dot org or 202 637-9800. Location: 1634 I St. NW, Suite
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM. The
Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)
Media Security and Reliability Council (MSRC)
will meet. See,
notice [PDF]. Location: Commission Meeting Room, FCC, 445 12th Street, SW.
12:15 - 2:30 PM. The DC
Bar Association will host a panel discussion titled "The Nuts And Bolts Of
Transfers Of Control At The FCC". The speakers will be Jim Bird (FCC Office of
General Counsel), William Dever (FCC Wireline Competition Bureau), Susan O'Connell (FCC
International Bureau), Nina Shafran (FCC Media Bureau), and Jeff Tobias (FCC Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau). The price to attend ranges from $10-$20. For more information,
contact 202-626-3463. See,
Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW, B-1 Level.
Day one of a two day conference titled "Broadband
Policy Summit 2005: A New Leadership Blueprint" hosted by Pike & Fischer.
See, notice. Location:
Willard InterContinental Hotel.
|Friday, June 3
TIME? The U.S.
District Court (DC) will hold a hearing in US v. Microsoft, D.C. No.
98-1232 (CKK). Location: 333 Constitution Ave., NW.
Deadline to submit comments to the Federal
Election Commission's (FEC) in response to its notice of proposed
rulemaking (NPRM) regarding regulation of internet related speech.
|Monday, June 6
The Senate will return from its Memorial Day recess. See,
10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals
(FedCir) will hear oral argument in Sandisk v. Memorex, a patent
infringement case involving flash memory technology. This is App. Ct. No. 04-1422. It
is an appeal from the U.S. District Court (NDCal). Location: U.S. Court of Appeals,
LaFayette Square, 717 Madison Place, Courtroom 203.
12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Bar
Association's (FCBA) will hold an event titled "Annual Meeting and Luncheon".
The speaker will be Sen. Ted Stevens
(R-AK), the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. See,
[MS Word]. Prices range from $35-$65. Location: Capital Hilton, Congressional Ballroom,
16th and K Streets, NW.
Deadline to submit initial comments to the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to
its notice of
proposed rulemaking (NPRM) [15 pages in PDF] regarding implementation of the satellite
broadcast carriage requirements in the noncontiguous states, as required by Section 210 of
the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004 (SHVERA). The
FCC adopted this NPRM at its April 29, 2005 meeting. This NPRM is FCC 05-92 in MB Docket No.
notice in the Federal Register, May 20, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 97, at Pages
|Tuesday, June 7
8:00 AM. The
U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host a
breakfast. The speaker will be Rep.
Bill Thomas (R-CA), the Chairman of the
House Ways & Means Committee. The
price to attend ranges from free to $55. See,
notice. Location: US Chamber, 1615 H
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. Day one of a three day meeting
of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's
(NIST) Information Security and Privacy
Advisory Board (ISPAB). See,
notice in the Federal Register, May 20, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 97, at Page
29279. Location: Doubletree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center, 1750 Rockville
Pike, Rockville, MD.
9:00 AM. The Bureau of Industry and
Security's (BIS) Regulations and Procedures Technical Advisory Committee (RPTAC)
will meet. The agenda includes updates on encryption controls, AES, and the proposed
rule on deemed export related regulatory requirements. See,
notice in the Federal Register, May 23, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 98, at Page
29478. Location: Room 3884, Hoover Building, 14th Street between Constitution
and Pennsylvania Avenues, NW.
10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals
(FedCir) will hear oral argument in International Rectifier Corp. v.
Samsung. This is App. Ct. No. 04-1429. This is an appeal from the U.S. District
Court (CDCal) in a patent case. Location: U.S. Court of Appeals, LaFayette Square, 717
Madison Place, Courtroom 402.
12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The DC Bar
Association will host a panel discussion titled "Current Intellectual Property
Issues in Europe". The speakers will be Alexander Leisten, Peter Ruess, and Barbara
Berschler. The price to attend ranges from $10-$30. For more information, contact 202-626-3463.
notice. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW, B-1 Level.
2:30 PM. The
Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs
will hold a hearing titled "The Emergence of China Throughout Asia: Security and
Economic Consequences for the U.S." See,
Location: Room 419, Dirksen Building.
|People and Appointments
5/27. Paul McNulty was named Chairman, and Johnny Sutton was
named Vice Chairman, of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of United
States Attorneys. McNulty is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of
Virginia. Sutton is the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas. See,
5/27. Randall Stephenson was named to the SBC Board of Directors. He
is SBC's Chief Operating Officer. See, SBC
World Trade Organization (WTO) formally selected
Pascal Lamy to be the WTO's Director-General, for a four year term beginning on
September 1, 2005. The selection had been previously announced. See, WTO
5/26. The Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) named twenty persons to the FCC's Consumer Advisory Committee. See, FCC
5/26. President Bush nominated Philip Morrison to be Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury (Tax Policy). The person who holds this position, at
least nominally, is responsible for formulating policy with respect to taxation
that affects technology and innovation. Morrison is a principal with the
Washington National Tax Office of Deloitte Tax. Before that, he was partner at
the law firm of Baker & McKenzie. See, White House
5/26. President Bush nominated Randal Quarles to be an Under Secretary
of the Treasury. See, White House
5/26. President Bush nominated Israel Hernandez to be Assistant
Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States and Foreign
Commercial Service. See, White House
5/24. Motorola's Board of Directors
appointed Samuel Scott Lead Director for a one-year term. He has been a
member of the board since 1993. He is also the Ch/P/CEO of Corn Products
International. See, Motorola
5/24. Rambus name Mark Horowitz
Chief Scientist. See, Rambus
5/24. 3Com named Marc Willebeek-LeMair
Chief Technology Officer. He was previously the CTO and Chief Strategy Officer of
TippingPoint, 3Com's security division. See, 3Com
5/26. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) that it
now provides a "Consumer Information Registry". It stated in a
release that this is an "e-mail service that will deliver to subscribers
customized information about the FCC’s actions and related developments". It
added that "The Registry is an Internet database".
5/26. John Sammis, Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S.
Mission to the EU gave a
speech titled "Expanding the Transatlantic Economy" to the European
Parliament's International Trade Committee. He stated that "New technologies and
market forces will continue to push the U.S. and European economies closer.
Managing the process of increasing economic interdependence will require
ambitious and innovative new approaches."
5/24. Michael Gallagher, head of the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), gave a
speech titled "Wireless Innovation: Driving U.S. Economic Growth". See,
presentation slides [20 pages in PDF].
5/24. The U.S. Court of Appeals
(DCCir) issued a per curiam
order [1 page in PDF] in denying Core Communications' petition for
writ of mandamus. This proceeding is In re: Core Communications, Inc.,
Petitioner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, No.
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