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January 19, 2006, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 1,292.
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Supreme Court Vacates in Will v. Hallock

1/18. The Supreme Court issued its opinion [12 pages in PDF] in Will v. Hallock, a case regarding appellate procedure. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCir) and remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

The appellate procedure involved does not particularly impact technology law cases. However, the underlying facts that gave rise to this case may be of interest to persons who follow developments in technology law. This case arises out of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) incompetence in investigating computer related crimes.

DHS agents seized computer equipment and stored data, from persons whom they mistook, and then proceeded to damage their disk drives and destroy their data. The underlying facts of the case reflect the limited extent to which people are secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, in the context of computers and digital media, against seizure and destruction by government agents.

Susan Hallock owned a computer software business that she and her husband, Richard, operated from home.

The DHS's U.S. Customs and Border Protection was investigating criminal activity by a pormographic web site. The Hallock's only connection was that their credit card data had been stolen, and used by another to purchase access to the web site under investigation. Without ascertaining whether the credit card data was stolen, the DHS obtained a search warrant, and seized the Hallocks' computer equipment, software and disk drives.

The DHS then damaged disk drives and destroyed data stored thereon. The Supreme Court wrote that "all of the stored data (including trade secrets and account files) were lost, and the Hallocks were forced out of business." (Parentheses in original.)

The DHS did not compensate the Hallocks for the harm that it caused.

The Hallocks filed two complaints in the U.S. District Court (NDNY). First, they filed a complaint against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) alleging negligence by government agents in executing the search. The District Court dismissed this complaint on procedural grounds. It held that the agents' activities occurred in the course of detaining goods and thus fell within an exception to the FTCA's waiver of sovereign immunity. This opinion is reported at 253 F. Supp. 2d 361.

The Hallocks also filed a second complaint in the U.S. District Court (NDNY) against Richard Will and the other individual agents, pursuant the the Supreme Court's opinion in Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U. S. 388 (1971). This complaint alleged that the agents damaged the computers, and thus deprived them of property, including business income, in violation of the due process clause of the 5th Amendment.

The defendants moved to dismiss this second complaint, asserting that the dismissal in the first action operated as a judgment bar. The District Court denied this motion, reasoning that the first complaint was dismissed on procedural grounds, and thus cannot raise a judgment bar. This opinion is reported at 281 F. Supp. 2d 425.

The defendants then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCir), even though there was no final judgment to appeal. The Court of Appeals held that it had appellate jurisdiction, under the collateral order doctrine, and then affirmed the District Court. This opinion is reported at 387 F. 3d 147.

The defendants then filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court granted certiorari. In the just released opinion, the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeals did not have appellate jurisdiction. It thus vacated the opinion of the Court of Appeals, and remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal.

The black letter law of this case is that a District Court's refusal to apply the judgment bar of the Federal Tort Claims Act is not open to collateral appeal.

Thus, the order and opinion of the District Court denying the defendants' motion to dismiss the Bivens action stands. The Hallocks' Bivens action proceeds. The Supreme Courts' opinion is a victory for the Hallocks, and to some extent, for people who use computers, and store data in digital media. Of course, the Hallocks' action may yet fail on the merits, or on other procedural grounds.

This case is Richard Will, et al. v. Susan Haddock, et al., Sup. Ct. No. 04–1332. This is a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. Justice Souter wrote the opinion for a unanimous court.

Rep. Barton and Sen. Stevens Comment on Sale of Customer Phone Data

1/18. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee (HCC), Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee (SCC), both commented on the sale of phone customers' proprietary information. Rep. Barton said that he would introduce legislation when the House convenes. Sen. Stevens stated that the SCC will hold a hearing.

Rep. Joe BartonRep. Barton (at left) stated in a release that "News reports over the last week have exposed a seamy and dangerous intrusion into the privacy of anyone who uses a cell phone. The discovery started with an urgent warning from the Chicago Police Department to its undercover officers, and now we all understand that it is possible to purchase a person's cell phone records over the Internet for about a hundred dollars."

"Both the FBI and news reporters found that they could buy monthly blocs of records detailing every call made to or from a particular phone number. All they needed was enough money and the number they wanted researched", said Rep. Barton. "It appears that dozens of online services offer to sell lists of individual cell phone calls."

He added that "The method by which these records are usually obtained from wireless companies is called 'pretexting.' That is, someone simply impersonates a cell phone owner and asks for access to personal files. Pretexting to get financial records already is illegal, but it is not illegal to use this means to obtain call records.

Rep. Barton stated that "I mean to make it very illegal." He said that "I will introduce legislation to accomplish that, and my bill will substantially increase the penalties if telephone companies release consumer telephone records without the permission of the consumer."

Sen. Stevens stated in a separate release that "Recent reports detailing the ease with which third parties can access private phone records are alarming. Congress must ensure that Americans' phone records are protected and that there will be severe penalties for invading privacy".

He added that the SCC "will examine potential legislative solutions to this growing problem and assess the proper roles of the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission. Our Committee will hold a public hearing in the near future to investigate how to better protect phone records."

CTIA P/CEO Steve Largent stated in a release that "Though we believe that prosecutors operating under existing law need not wait for an act of Congress to protect wireless subscribers and carriers from this illegal activity, we certainly welcome the introduction of federal legislation that seeks to put these thieves out of business. We look forward to working with Congress in the coming days and weeks to pass a law that clearly makes this activity a criminal offense."

FCC to Investigate Sale of Customer Phone Data

1/17. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein stated in a release [PDF] that the FCC's Enforcement Bureau has launched an investigation into reports of data brokers obtaining and selling consumers' phone data.

On January 13, 2006, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Democratic leader, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin requesting that the FCC conduct an investigation. See, story titled "Sen. Reid Asks FCC to Investigate Sale of Consumer Phone Data" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,291, January 17, 2006.

Adelstein stated that the FCC "must also take immediate steps to ensure that we have strong consumer privacy rules in place and that phone companies are employing effective safeguards to shield this data from harm. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has launched an investigation into these troublesome data brokering practices, and I support swift action against carriers that have not complied with our existing rules and procedures."

He added that "a petition for rulemaking on enhanced consumer data protection standards filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in August 2005 could be an appropriate vehicle for tightening our rules. I support quick action by the Commission to address any abuses of this private information." See, petition, filed on August 30, 2005, in CC Docket No. 96-115, by Chris Hoofnagle of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

Commissioners Michael Copps stated in a separate release [PDF] that "I am pleased that the FCC is launching an inquiry. This must be a priority because every day such a problem exists puts American citizens needlessly at risk. So, we must move swiftly to determine how and to what extent data brokers are obtaining Americans’ private phone records. The FCC also must determine if phone companies are doing enough to protect the personal and private information with which they are entrusted. We should then act quickly ourselves, and as the government’s telecommunications expert, assist Congress and other Agencies to do so as well. Congress recognized that privacy is a critical consumer right and enshrined this right in the law."

Copps too advocated action on the EPIC petition.

State Department Official Discusses IPR, Free Trade, and Internet Regulation

1/13. Anthony Wayne, Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs, gave a speech in Houston, Texas, in which he discussed, among other topics, promoting intellectual property rights, advancing free trade, and blocking United Nations efforts to regulate the internet.

Anthony WayneWayne (at right) stated that in 2005 "We helped protect innovation through stronger protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights around the world, for instance through the U.S.­EU and G8 leaders' agreements to strengthen IP enforcement as well as our work to improve enforcement in China, Ukraine, Russia, Pakistan, and Latin America."

He also said that "Protecting innovation is another pillar of our economic diplomacy. Roughly 7% of annual global trade involves trade in illegitimate goods. Counterfeiting alone costing U.S. businesses as much as $250 billion annually. We also recognize that the nations in which intellectual property crime takes place are also suffering great economic consequences. Indeed, 71% of Latin American businesses polled in 2005 listed IP theft as one of the most pressing problems they face."

"To win this battle, we need to build stronger teams -- across borders, across industries, across governments, and between the public and private sectors. And we need you to help us build them", said Wayne. "Without this protection, the stimulus to innovate -- to create value -- is gone. In Peru, where piracy levels reached 98%, the once-thriving legitimate record industry has nearly disappeared. In Mexico, an industry association estimates that 28,000 jobs have been lost due to music piracy."

He also said that the U.S. has been promoting free trade, open markets, and the Doha Development Agenda. And, he stated that "We also seek to improve the global business climate by promoting transparency".

Wayne also touched on internet regulation. He said that "At the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia, we led the successful efforts to preserve private sector leadership of the Internet and the free flow of information, despite a concerted effort by a powerful array of states to turn it over to an international governing body."

See also, stories titled "Tempest in Tunis Subsides" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,255, November 17, 2005; "NTIA Rebuffs UN Efforts to Gain Control Over Internet Governance" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,166, July 1, 2005; and "Ambassador Gross Says UN Will Not Be in Charge of the Internet" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,212, September 13, 2005.

Rice and Chertoff Discuss Visas

1/17. Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, spoke at an event in Washington DC titled "Joint Vision: Secure Borders and Open Doors in the Information Age". See, Chertoff speech and Rice speech.

Chertoff discussed the e-Passport program and the US-VISIT program. He also stated that the goal is to achieve the "right balance between securing our country and welcoming those who want to visit, work and study in the United States".

Rice said that "We are also renewing America's welcome to students and professors and researchers. At all of our 210 visa processing posts, getting visas into the hands of foreign students is becoming a top priority. In addition, we are actively encouraging students, researchers and scientists to pursue their studies in the United States. In the coming months, our two departments will work together to expand the length of time that foreign students can arrive and live and learn in America."

Rice also said that "we're renewing America's welcome to business people and entrepreneurs. For our economy to continue to grow and prosper, the foreign employees and customers of our business community must be able to enter our country quickly and efficiently. To improve this process, State and DHS are enrolling companies for expedited visa processing and we are making visa application forms and comprehensive information available online, a process that we will soon expand."

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) P/CEO Gary Shapiro responded in a release that "We encourage the Departments of State and Homeland Security to continue their efforts to increase the transparency, efficiency and predictability of the visa process, including investing in systems and devoting resources that will make a difference for the business community ..."

More Immigration and Visa News

1/18. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a release regarding its H1B visa program, which provides visas for high tech workers. It stated that "it has received enough H-1B petitions that qualify for the exemption from the H-1B numerical limitations for foreign workers with a U.S.-earned master's or higher degree (the number of aliens exempted from the H-1B cap on this basis may not exceed 20,000 per fiscal year). Consequently, USCIS has determined that the ``final receipt date´´ for these 20,000 cap-exempt H-1B petitions is January 17, 2006. Petitions received on January 17th are subject to the random selection process described below. USCIS will reject petitions requesting a foreign worker with a U.S.-earned master's or higher degree that are received after the ``final receipt date´´ unless the petitioner or beneficiary is eligible for a separate cap exemption." (Parentheses in original.)

1/17. The Supreme Court denied a motion to file a petition for writ of certiorari out of time in Venkatraman v. REI Systems, a racial discrimination case involving the H1B visa program. See, Order List [7 pages in PDF] at page 1. This is Sup. Ct. No. 05M44. On July 29, 2005, the U.S. Court of Appeals (4thCir) issued its opinion [PDF]. Venkatraman is a software engineer who alleged racial discrimination, and illegal conduct in the hiring of foreign workers under the H1B visa program. The District Court dismissed his complaint. The Court of Appeals affirmed. It held that his employment discrimination claim fails because he failed to exhaust administrative remedies. It also held that there is no private right of action against an employer for lying to the INS to obtain H1B visas for high tech workers. See, story titled "4th Circuit Rules in Software Engineer's Employment Discrimination Case" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,193, August 11, 2005.

People and Appointments

1/17. President Bush gave a recess appointment to Boyden Gray to be U.S. representative to the European Union. See, White House release. Bush first nominated Gray for this position in July of 2005. See, story titled "Bush Nominates Boyden Gray to be US Representative to EU" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,182, July 26, 2005. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the nomination. The full Senate has not acted.

1/17. Andy Maner, the Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), resigned, effective March 3, 2006. See, DHS release.

There was no issue of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert on Wednesday, January 18, 2006.
Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Thursday, January 19

The House will not meet. It will convene for the 2nd Session of the 109th Congress on Tuesday, January 31, 2006. See, Majority Whip's calendar.

8:00 - 9:30 AM. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host an event titled "Policy Insiders with FBI Director Robert Mueller". See, notice. The price to attend ranges from $55 to $75. For more information, contact Matt Haller at mhaller at uschamber dot com or 202 463-3176. Location: U.S. Chamber 1615 H St., NW.

TIME CHANGE. 8:00 AM - 2:45 PM. The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) will host an event titled "Base Realignment and Closure: Moving Forward with Information Technology". The speakers will include Linton Wells (Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Networks and Information Integration), Anthony Principi (Chairman 2005 BRAC Commission), Philip Grone (Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Installations and Environment), Robert Carey (Deputy CIO Officer for Policy and Integration, Department of the Navy), and Gary Winkler (Director, Governance, Acquisition and Chief Knowledge Center, G-6/Department of the Army). See, notice. Press contact: Bob Cohen at 703 284-5301 or Charlie Greenwald at 703 284-5305. Location: Ritz Carlton, Pentagon City, VA.

10:00 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing titled "Decency". The scheduled witnesses are Jack Valenti (MPAA), Charles Ergen (EchoStar), David Cohen (Comcast), Bruce Reese (National Association of Broadcasters), Brent Bozell (Parents Television Council), Martin Franks (CBS), Alan Rosenberg (Screen Actors Guild), and Jeff McIntyre (American Psychological Association). See, notice. Press contact: Melanie Alvord (Stevens) at 202 224-8456, Aaron Saunders (Stevens) at 202 224-3991, or Andy Davis (Inouye) at 202 224-4546. The hearing will be webcast by the SCC. Location: Room 562, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), members of the House Democratic Caucus, and others will host a panel discussion titled "House Democrats' New Innovation Agenda". For more information, contact Brendan Daly or Jennifer Crider at 202 226-7616. Location: Room 345, Cannon Building.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The DC Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law Section and Trademark Committee will host a panel discussion titled "Trademark Policing And Enforcement". The speakers will include Melise Blakeslee (McDermott Will & Emery) and Alan Cooper (Howery & Simon). The price to attend ranges from $20-$40. For more information, call 202 626-3463. See, notice. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW, B-1 Level.

1:00 - 4:00 PM. The Antitrust Modernization Commission (AMC) will hold a hearing titled "Economists' Roundtable on U.S. Merger Enforcement". See, notice in the Federal Register, December 29, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 249, at Page 77121. Location: Federal Trade Commission, Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW.

2:30 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing titled "Internet Pornography". The witnesses will be James Burrus (Federal Bureau of Investigation), Laura Parsky (Criminal Division of the Department of Justice), James Weaver (Virginia Tech), Tim Lordan (Internet Education Foundation), Tatiana Platt (America Online), and Paul Cambria (Adult Freedom Foundation). See, notice. Press contact: Melanie Alvord (Stevens) at 202 224-8456, Aaron Saunders (Stevens) at 202 224-3991, or Andy Davis (Inouye) at 202 224-4546. The hearing will be webcast by the SCC. Location: Room 562, Dirksen Building.

7:30 - 10:30 AM. The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) will host an event titled "Personal Liability of Private Company Directors & Officers: How to Protect Yourself in Today's Environment". The NVCA notice states that "Attendance at this event is by invitation only". Location: Ritz Carlton, 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean, VA.

Deadline to submit oppositions to the U.S. Telecom Association's petition [PDF] seeking reconsideration and clarification of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) CALEA order. This is the FCC's order that provides that facilities based broadband service providers and interconnected VOIP providers are subject to requirements under the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The FCC adopted, but did not release, this item at its August 5, 2005, meeting. See, story titled "FCC Amends CALEA Statute" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,191, August 9, 2005. The FCC released the text [59 pages in PDF] of this item on September 23, 2005. It is FCC 05-153 in ET Docket No. 04-295 and RM-10865. The USTelecom argues that the FCC "should reconsider its decision to start the 18-month CALEA compliance clock on November 14, 2005, and instead should start that clock on the effective date of its forthcoming order on CALEA capability requirements for broadband and VoIP providers". It also argues that the FCC should "clarify and delineate the specific broadband access services that qualify as ``newly covered services´´ under the CALEA Applicability Order." See, notice in the Federal Register.January 4, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 2, at Pages 345 - 346.

Friday, January 20

9:30 AM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold a meeting. The event will be webcast by the FCC. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C05 (Commission Meeting Room).

9:30 - 11:00 AM. The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) will host an event titled "Investing in Innovation -- The UK Model". The speaker will be Jonathan Kestenbaum, CEO of the U.K.'s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA). For more information, contact Austin Bonner at 202 547-0001 or abonner at dlc dot org. Location: PPI, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Suite 400.

11:45 AM - 1:30 PM. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and TeleConsensus will host an event titled "Revitalizing the Telecommunications Industry: What it Means for America". The speakers will include John Rutledge (Rutledge Capital), Tim McKone (AT&T Services), Tom Sugrue (T-Mobile USA), Alice Tornquist (Qualcomm), and Jeff Campbell (Cisco Systems). For more information, contact press at uschamber dot com or 202 463-5682. The U.S. Chamber notice states that "Credentialed members of the media are invited to attend." Location: Gold Room, Rayburn Building, Capitol Hill.

12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host an luncheon titled "70th Anniversary Luncheon: Looking Forward, Looking Back". The speakers will be former Chairmen of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), including William Kennard, Michael Powell, James Quello, Alfred Sikes, and Richard Wiley. Location: J.W. Marriott Hotel.

Advanced effective date of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rule requiring certain new television receivers and other TV receiving devices such as VCRs and digital video recorders to be capable of receiving digital television signals. See, FCC's Second Report and Order adopted on November 3, 2005, and released on November 8, 2005. It is FCC 05-190 in ET Docket No. 05-24. See also, notice in the Federal Register, December 21, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 244, at Pages 75739 - 75743.

Tuesday, January 24

9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) has scheduled an executive business meeting. The sole item on the agenda is consideration of the nomination of Judge Sam Alito to be a Justice of the Supreme Court. See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

9:30 AM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) North American Numbering Council (NANC) will hold a meeting. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 29, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 249, at Pages 77156 - 77157. Location: FCC, 445 12th St., SW., Suite 5-A420.

RESCHEDULED FROM JANUARY 31. 10:00 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing titled "Broadcast and Audio Flag". See, notice. Press contact: Melanie Alvord (Stevens) at 202 224-8456, Aaron Saunders (Stevens) at 202 224-3991, or Andy Davis (Inouye) at 202 224-4546. The hearing will be webcast by the SCC. Location: Room 562, Dirksen Building.

RESCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 31. 10:00 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing titled "Video Franchising". Press contact: Melanie Alvord (Stevens) at 202 224-8456, Aaron Saunders (Stevens) at 202 224-3991, or Andy Davis (Inouye) at 202 224-4546. The hearing will be webcast by the SCC. Location: Room 562, Dirksen Building.

TIME? The High Tech DTV Coalition will host an event titled "Informal Press Lunch". Janice Obuchowski will speak. The Coalition's notice states that this event is for "beat reporters who have been covering DTV legislation", and that persons planning to attend should RSVP by 4:00 PM on Monday, January 23, to Mary Greczyn at 202 371-2997 or mg at ftidc dot com, or John Alden at 202 371-6793 or ja at ftidc dot com. Location: Freedom Technologies, 1317 F St., NW, Fourth Floor.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Common Carrier Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "Meet the Wireline Competition Bureau". The speakers will include Tom Navin, Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau. RSVP to Wendy Parish wendy at fcba dot org. Location: __.

RESCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 31. 2:30 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing titled "Video Content". Press contact: Melanie Alvord (Stevens) at 202 224-8456, Aaron Saunders (Stevens) at 202 224-3991, or Andy Davis (Inouye) at 202 224-4546. The hearing will be webcast by the SCC. Room 562, Dirksen Building.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the rules for expanding the scope of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to cover certain digital services. The FCC adopted a report and order (R&O) and further NPRM on November 3, 2005. The R&O expanded the categories of service providers that are subject to the FCC's EAS mandates to include providers of digital broadcast and cable TV, digital audio broadcasting, satellite radio, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services. The NPRM asks for comments how the FCC should plan this "next-generation alert and warning system". See, story titled "FCC Requires DBS, Satellite Radio, Digital Broadcasters, and Others to Carry AES Communications" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,247, November 4, 2005. The R&O and NPRM is FCC 05-191 in EB Docket No. 04-296. It was released on November 10, 2005. See, notice in the November 25, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 226, at Pages 71072 - 71077.

Wednesday, January 25

The Senate may begin its debate on the nomination of Judge Sam Alito to be a Justice of the Supreme Court.

11:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Advisory Committee for the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07 Advisory Committee) will meet. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 14, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 239, at Page 74016. Location: Room TW-C305, FCC, 445 12th St., SW.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Department of State's International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will hold the third in a series of weekly meetings to prepare for the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) 2006 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, to be held November 6-24, 2006, in Antalya, Turkey. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 21, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 244, at Page 75854. This notice incorrectly states that these meetings will be held on Tuesdays; they are on Wednesdays. For more information, contact Julian Minard at 202 647-2593 or minardje at state dot gov. Location: AT&T, 1120 20th St., NW.

Thursday, January 26

10:00 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing titled "Competition and Convergence". See, notice. Press contact: Melanie Alvord (Stevens) at 202 224-8456, Aaron Saunders (Stevens) at 202 224-3991, or Andy Davis (Inouye) at 202 224-4546. The hearing will be webcast by the SCC. Location: Room 562, Dirksen Building.

12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers' Committee will host a brown bag lunch. This will be planning and informational meeting. For more information, contact Jason Friedrich at jason dot friedrich at dbr dot com or 202 354-1340 or Natalie Roisman at natalie dot roisman at fcc dot gov or 202 418-1655. Location: Drinker Biddle & Reath, 1500 K Street, NW, 11th Floor.

1:00 - 4:00 PM. The National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) Advisory Committee on Presidential Libraries will meet. See, notice in the Federal Register, January 9, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 5, at Page 1455. Location: Archivist's Board Room, National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

Cox Says Interactive Data Will Democratize Financial Information and Analysis

1/18. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Chris Cox gave another speech on interactive data and XBRL. He said that interactive data "has the potential to tap the awesome number crunching and analytical power of today's computers to make SEC reports vastly more useful for investors, analysts, companies and, not least of all, the SEC".

Cox has spoken many times on interactive data and XBRL. See, speech of November 7, 2005, in Tokyo, Japan, and speech of November 11, 2005, in Boca Raton, Florida. See also, story titled "SEC Chairman Cox Discusses Use of Interactive Data in Corporate Reporting" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,250, Wednesday, November 9, 2005. See also, story titled "SEC Seeks Companies to Participate in Interactive Data Test Group" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,288, January 12, 2006.

He first spoke about the development of XBRL taxonomies.

He then said that "If you’re a software maker ... the possibilities for you are endless. Let's start with the basics: software that translates the computer gibberish of XBRL filings with the Commission into what any American investor sees today when he or she uses the Internet to look up a company’s forms on EDGAR."

"Then you'd want to design software tools to help companies prepare at least their four main financial statements in XBRL, and then they’ll need to integrate those tools into the existing applications that they rely on for financial management and reporting. But that’s only the beginning", said Cox.

Cox continued that "The retail market is where the SEC also has high hopes, because we're focused on the average investor. We'd like to see the democratization of financial information and analysis, and the empowerment of individual investors. Software that consumers can use to help make wise investment choices, designed either for their personal use or integrated into websites, will run the gamut from RSS feeds about companies and funds to analysis tools built into personal financial software."

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