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July 5, 2005, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 1,167.
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FCC Sets Deadlines for Comments on VOIP NPRM

6/29. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced comment deadlines for the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) portion of its order and NPRM regarding the extension of 911/E911 regulation to interconnected voice over internet protocol (VOIP) service providers.

The FCC adopted, but did not release, this order and NPRM at its meeting of May 19, 2005. See, story titled "FCC Adopts Order Expanding E911 Regulation to Include Some VOIP Service Providers", and stories titled "Summary of the FCC's 911 VOIP Order", "Opponents of FCC 911 VOIP Order State that the FCC Exceeded Its Statutory Authority", and "More Reaction to the FCC's 911 VOIP Order" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,139, May 20, 2005.

The FCC released the text [90 pages in PDF] of this order and NPRM on June 3, 2005. See, story titled "FCC Releases VOIP E911 Order" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,148, June 6, 2005.

Initial comments are due by August 15, 2005. Reply comments are due by September 12, 2005. This is a "permit but disclose" proceeding.

The NPRM seeks comments on numerous topics. First, it notes that "there is no way for portable VoIP providers reliably and automatically to provide location information to PSAPs for these services without the customerís active cooperation". Hence, it asks, how can the FCC mandate that service providers provide location information, in a manner that does "not depend on a customer providing his or her location information"?

The NPRM suggests that the FCC is considering mandatory registration of all wireless access points, mandatory registration of all access jacks, various methods of signal triangulation, and mandating GPS systems.

Some of the potential technologies for obtaining location information would entail requiring equipment manufacturers to redesign their products. Hence, the NPRM further asks what statutory authority the FCC has to require consumer electronics manufacturers to incorporate location technology into personal computers and other devices.

The NPRM asks if the FCC should broaden the scope of these rules to other providers of VOIP services.

The NPRM asks "How should the use of wireless broadband connections such as Wi-Fi or WiMax impact the applicability of the obligations we adopt today? Would providers of wireless interconnected VoIP service be more appropriately subject to our existing 911/E911 rules for CMRS?"

The NPRM asks about expanding the reporting requirements for interconnected VOIP service providers.

The NPRM also asks what role state regulators should play in regulating interconnected VOIP service providers.

The order and NPRM is numbered FCC 05-116 in WC Docket No. 05-196. The FCC issued its order and NPRM following its original NPRM, which was FCC 04-28 in WC Docket No. 04-36, and titled "In the Matter of IP-Enabled Services". However, the FCC's June 29 notice states that comments should reference only WC Docket No. 05-196.

25 House Commerce Committee Members Praise MGM v. Grokster

6/28. Twenty-five members of the House Commerce Committee (HCC) signed a statement praising the Supreme Court's June 27 opinion [55 pages in PDF] in MGM v. Grokster. They wrote that the opinion "correctly balanced the rights of creators with the imperative to promote technological innovation under the rule of law".

They continued that "As members of the House Commerce Committee, we understand that both creative products and a thriving technology sector are central to America's continued prosperity. With music, movies, computer software, books and other types of creative works comprising our second largest export, massive theft of property over the Internet jeopardizes our economic security. The Supreme Court correctly understood this and clearly stated that this case was not about technology but about those who would abuse it, turning it to illegal purposes."

The HCC has fifty-seven members. In recent Congresses this Committee has asserted jurisdiction over legislation that affects intellectual property rights. That nearly half of the HCC has already praised the opinion in MGM v. Grokster suggests that it would be difficult for proponents of legislation that would overturn the effect of MGM v. Grokster to obtain Committee approval.

The signers of the letter are Representatives Mary Bono (R-CA), Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Ed Whitfield (R-KY), John Shimkus (R-IL), John Shadegg (R-AZ), Chip Pickering (R-MS), Butch Otter (R-ID), Steve Buyer (R-IN), George Radanovich (R-CA), Greg Walden (R-OR), Lee Terry (R-NE), Sue Myrick (R-NC), John Sullivan (R-OK), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Rogers (R-MI), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Jay Inslee (D-WA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Mike Ross (D-AR), Mike Doyle (D-PA), and Ted Strickland (D-OH).

Not included are Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the Chairman, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the ranking Democrat, or Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA).

See, story titled " Supreme Court Rules in MGM v. Grokster", and story titled "Reaction to the Supreme Court's Opinion in MGM v. Grokster", in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,163, June 28, 2005.

State Department Official Says Internet and Wireless Communications Promote Freedom

6/28. David Gross, the U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the Department of State, gave a speech titled "The Other Wireless Revolution". He spoke at a Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI) in Washington DC.

David GrossGross (at right) said that "There is a an almost philosophic connection between the expansion of telecommunications and our foreign policy objectives. The thematic consistency between these two seemingly disparate arenas lies in the indivisibility of our most basic and compelling aspirations. The bedrock of telecommunications growth and good foreign policy, it seems to me, is the desire to empower individuals to exercise the freedom to which they were born and to create the conditions in which they can fulfill their potential. Freedom of choice and freedom to communicate constitute some our most cherished values and unite us in a common purpose."

"The wireless information and communication technologies that you provide, however, also have contributed materially to the cause of freedom." Gross added that "democracy is strengthened by access to knowledge. And the introduction of new communications and information technologies can help shape a political eco-system where the friends of freedom are strengthened and tyranny is weakened."

He said that "Mobile phones, the Internet, and satellite TV among other technologies can have a powerful impact in weakening repression, shaping how people relate to their governments, and sometime even providing the means for organizing and sustaining movements for political change."

He cited as an example, that "During the recent Orange Revolution in Ukraine, opposition groups set up online forums -- using servers abroad to avoid hackers loyal to the regime -- to discuss policy and strategy."

He added that "So far, governments have had difficulty stemming the tide. They have had some success licensing fax machines and blocking dissident Web sites. In Iran, for example, the government has tightened its control over the Internet. Worried about the growth of home-brewed dissent, it increasingly has tried to block reformist content in its local language, Farsi and restrict what citizens can publish through Web journals. But governments reportedly have had a particularly hard time figuring out whether and how to block text messaging."

Gross also said that "Undoubtedly, despite the collective efforts of industry and the U.S. Government, there are still significant challenges to the growth of wireless and wireless broadband. One major problem recently has been attempts by some countries to craft country-specific technical standards as a form of industrial policy and protectionism. We have sought to counter this trend by encouraging greater participation in international standards bodies. Particularly in the wireless broadband area, we have sought to outline to governments the benefits of industry-driven standards processes that will result in the best solution for customers and industry alike. But, as you know, some countries have responded by trying to push their country-specific standards -- WAPI, in the case of China -- through these entities. Others, like Korea, have quietly pressured their indigenous companies to adopt home-grown cell-phone related standards like WIPI. We have encouraged these countries -- with some success -- to abandon these counter-productive efforts."

Gross did not address U.S. laws, policies and proceedings that may limit the growth and use of wireless and internet technologies in the exercise of political freedom, such as excessive state and federal taxes upon communications services, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and the FCC's current rulemaking proceeding regarding imposing a CALEA like regime on certain information services, the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and the Federal Election Commission's (FEC) current rulemaking proceeding regarding regulating political speech on the internet, or federal encryption related policies.

More News

7/1. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it has completed its move to its new headquarters. See, USPTO release.

7/1. The Copyright Office published a notice in the Federal Register that states that it is "removing its regulations governing the filing of claims to cable, satellite, and DART royalty funds. These claims now are to be filed with the Copyright Royalty Judges pursuant to the Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act of 2004, which became effective on May 31, 2005." See, Federal Register, July 1, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 126, at Pages 38022 - 38023.

7/1. Microsoft announced that it has settled an antitrust action brought by IBM. Microsoft wrote in a release that "Microsoft Corp. and IBM today announced that they have entered into an agreement to resolve antitrust issues between the two companies. Today's settlement resolves claims arising from the United States v. Microsoft antitrust case in the mid-1990s, where IBM was identified in U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's findings of fact as having been impacted in its business by certain Microsoft practices. Under the agreement, Microsoft will pay IBM $775 million and extend $75 million in credit towards deployment of Microsoft software at IBM."

6/29. Microsoft published an essay in its web site titled "Bring Spyware Out of the Shadows". It argues for Congressional legislation that would set a "national standard for anti-spyware enforcement". That is, it wants the Congress to preempt state laws in this area.

6/27. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a notice regarding cell phone jammers. It states that "Advertisements for cellular jammers suggest that the devices may be used on commuter trains, in theaters, hotels, restaurants and other locations the public frequents." The FCC notice adds that "Inquiries about the use of cellular jammers are often accompanied by comments that the use of wireless phones in public places is disruptive and annoying." The FCC notice states that the Communications Act and the FCC's rules "prohibit the manufacture, importation, marketing, sale or operation of these devices within the United States". This notice is numbered DA 05-1776.

Publication Schedule
There was no issue of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert on Monday, July 4, 2005.
Justice O'Connor Resigns

7/1. Supreme Court Justice Sandra O'Connor announced her resignation. President Bush has not yet nominated a replacement.

Bush stated that "Under the Constitution, I am responsible for nominating a successor to Justice O'Connor. I take this responsibility seriously. I will be deliberate and thorough in this process. I have directed my staff, in cooperation with the Department of Justice, to compile information and recommend for my review potential nominees who meet a high standard of legal ability, judgment and integrity and who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our country." He added that "As well, I will continue to consult, as will my advisors, with members of the United States Senate. The nation deserves, and I will select, a Supreme Court Justice that Americans can be proud of. The nation also deserves a dignified process of confirmation in the United States Senate, characterized by fair treatment, a fair hearing and a fair vote. I will choose a nominee in a timely manner so that the hearing and the vote can be completed before the new Supreme Court term begins." See, transcript. See also, statement by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated in a release that "I renew my call to the President to consult with Members of the Senate from both sides of the aisle as he makes his decision about a nominee."

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) stated in a release that "I expect that any nominee the President sends to the Senate will be treated with fairness and respect, including an up or down vote in the Senate. As a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, I'll be looking forward to hearing from a nominee who understands that the role of the courts is to interpret the law, not create the law." Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) stated in a release that "The American people are tired of the confrontational partisanship that has characterized the judicial confirmation process in recent years. When President Bush nominates someone to replace Justice OíConnor, the Senate must fulfill its constitutional responsibility to treat the nominee fairly with a full debate on the merits and then an up-or-down vote."

See also, release of Alliance for Justice and release of People for the American Way, two Washington DC based interest groups that have frequently lobby against confirmation of judicial nominees of Republican Presidents.

More People and Appointments

6/30. Joseph Hall will leave the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He was the Managing Executive for Policy and a member of former Chairman William Donaldson's senior management team. He will return to the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell. See, SEC release.

6/30. Peter Derby will leave the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the end of July. He is the Managing Executive for Operations and Management. See, SEC release.

6/30. Matt Well will leave the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He is the Director of the Office of Public Affairs. See, SEC release.

Orson Swindle6/29. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Orson Swindle (at right) will leave the FTC. He has focused on increasing public information and awareness of cyber security issues. He has also often advocated reliance on free market solutions, and existing FTC Act authority, rather than the passage of legislation giving the FTC increased authority and responsibilities. President Bush has not yet nominated a replacement. See also, statement of FTC Chairman Deborah Majoras.

6/29. Harry Pearce was named non-executive Chairman of the Board of Nortel Networks. He has been a director since January of this year. He was previously the Chairman of the Board of Hughes Electronics Corporation. He replaces Lynton Wilson. See, Nortel release.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Tuesday, July 5

The House will not meet on Monday, July 4 through Friday, July 8. The House will next meet at 2:00 PM on Monday, July 11. See, Republican Whip Notice.

The Senate will not meet on Monday, July 4 through Friday, July 8. See, Senate calendar.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) in response to its Public Notice [PDF] regarding the United Telecom Council (UTC) request to be the Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL) database manager. This is DA 05-1637, dated June 9, 2005, in ET Docket No. 04-37.

Wednesday, July 6

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Sicom Systems v. Agilent Technologies, a case regarding standing to sue for patent infringement. See, October 5, 2004 Memorandum Opinion [PDF] of the U.S. District Court (Del). This is D.C. No. 03-1171-JJF, and App. Ct. No. 05-1066. Location: U.S. Court of Appeals, LaFayette Square, 717 Madison Place, Courtroom 201.

12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a program titled "File Sharing and Copyright Infringement after MGM Studios v. Grokster". The price to attend ranges from $10-$20. For more information, contact 202-626-3463. See, notice. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW, B-1 Level.

Thursday, July 7

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Ericsson Inc. v. Harris Corp., No. 04-1444. Location: U.S. Court of Appeals, LaFayette Square, 717 Madison Place, Courtroom 201.

10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Department of State's (DOS) International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to prepare for the Americas Regional Preparatory Meeting for the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-06) in Lima, Peru, from August 9-11, 2005. See, notice in the Federal Register, June 22, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 119, Page 36224. Location: DOS, Room 2533A.

Friday, July 8

10:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel discussion titled "Are Bloggers and Journalists Friends or Enemies?". The speakers will be Ed Morrissey (Captainís Quarters Blog), Jim Hill (Washington Post Writers Group), and Mark Tapscott (Heritage). See, notice. Location: Heritage, 214 Massachusetts Ave., NE.

12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) will host a panel discussion titled "MGM v. Grokster: What's Next?". The speakers will be Cary Sherman, President of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Sarah Deutsch, General Counsel of Verizon, Gigi Sohn, President of Public Knowledge, and Jim DeLong, PFF Senior Fellow. See, notice and registration page. Lunch will be served. Location: Room 1537, Longworth Building, Capitol Hill.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of second further proposed rulemaking regarding horizontal and vertical cable ownership limits. The FCC adopted this Second Further NPRM on May 13, 2005, and released it on May 17, 2005. This item is FCC 05-96 in MM Docket No. 92-264. See, notice in the Federal Register, June 8, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 109, at Pages 33679 - 33687.

Sunday, July 10

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding its Draft Special Publication 800-79 [49 pages in PDF], titled "Guidelines for the Certification and Accreditation of PIV Card Issuing Organizations". (PIV is Personal Identify Verification.)

Monday, July 11

The House will return from its Independence Day recess at 2:00 PM. See, Republican Whip Notice.

The Senate will return from its Independence Day recess. See, Senate calendar.

Tuesday, July 12

9:45 - 11:30 AM. The DC Bar Association will host a visit to and tour of the Copyright Office. The price to attend ranges from $15-$25. For more information, contact 202-626-3463. See, notice. Location: Copyright Office, Room 401, James Madison Memorial Building, First Street & Independence Avenue, SE.

1:30 - 4:30 PM. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) will meet. Location: National Press Club.

TIME? The State Department's International Telecommunication Advisory Committee's (ITAC) U.S. Study Group B will meet to prepare positions for the next meeting of the ITU-T Study Group 16. See, notice in the Federal Register, June 13, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 112, at Pages 34175 - 34176. Location: Communication Technologies, Inc., 14151 Newbrook Drive, Suite 400, Chantilly, VA.

Day one of a two day conference hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST), Computer Security Division titled "Federal Computer Security Program Manager's Forum Annual Off-Site Meeting". See, notice. Location: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD.

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