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March 13, 2007, Alert No. 1,551.
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9th Circuit Holds That Wireless Zoning Ordinance Violates § 253(a), But This Creates No Private Right Of Action Under § 1983

3/13. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion [33 pages in PDF] in Sprint v. County of San Diego, affirming the judgment of the District Court that the wireless zoning ordinance in question is preempted by 47 U.S.C. § 253, but that this violation creates no private right of action for damages under 18 U.S.C. § 1983.

Sprint Telephony PCS and Pacific Bell Wireless, dba Cingular, provide wireless services. The County of San Diego enacted a zoning ordinance affecting wireless services, which the opinion refers to as a wireless telecommunications ordinance, or WTO.

The Court of Appeals offered this summary of the ordinance: "A permit applicant must: (1) identify the geographic area served by the site, list all of the applicant’s other sites in the area, and describe why the site is necessary to the applicant’s network; (2) submit a ``visual impact analysis´´ that describes the ``maximum silhouette, viewshed analysis, color and finish palette and proposed screening,´´ and includes simulated photographs of the site; and (3) create a narrative detailing the site’s height, maintenance, noise emissions, alternative placement in a preferred site (if the site does not fall within one of the geographic areas preferred by the County for wireless facilities), landscaping plan, fire service plan, hazardous materials use, maintenance personal parking plan (if the site is located in a public right of way), ``a letter stating the applicant's willingness to allow other carriers to co-locate on their facilities whenever technically and economically feasible and aesthetically desirable,´´ and the ``lease area of the proposed facility on the plot plan.´´ ... The WTO also discusses the general and design regulations applicable to wireless facilities ..." (Parentheses in original.)

Sprint and Cingular filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (SDCal) against the County of San Diego and its county supervisors alleging that the ordinance is preempted by 47 U.S.C. § 253 and seeking monetary damages under 18 U.S.C. § 1983.

Notably, this is not an action brought under 47 U.S.C. § 332, which specifically addresses local regulation of wireless services.

On March 22, 2005, the Court issued its opinion [22 pages in PDF] in Rancho Palos Verdes v. Abrams holding that an individual who brings an action to enforce the limitations on state and local authority to regulate the location, construction, and modification of wireless communications facilities under 47 U.S.C. § 332, cannot also recover damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See also, story titled "Supreme Court Holds That Individuals Who Sue Under §332 Cannot Also Recover Damages Under §1983" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,101, March 23, 2005.

The District Court held in the present case that the zoning ordinance is preempted by § 253, but that violation of § 253 creates no private right of action under § 1983.

Sprint and Cingular appealed the judgment of the District Court as to § 1983. The County of San Diego cross-appealed the judgment of the District Court as to § 253.

The Court of Appeals affirmed.

47 U.S.C. § 253 provides, in part, that "No State or local statute or regulation, or other State or local legal requirement, may prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the ability of any entity to provide any interstate or intrastate telecommunications service." However, it also contains several limitations upon the scope of this prohibition.

18 U.S.C. § 1983 provides that "Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress ..."

The Court of Appeals held that "local zoning ordinances regulating the construction and placement of wireless communications facilities are within the preemptive scope of § 253(a) (removing barriers). Moreover, the County’s WTO is outside the scope of permissible land use regulations because it has the effect of prohibiting wireless communication services. We thus affirm the decision of the district court that § 253(a) preempts the WTO as a matter of law." (Parentheses in original.)

It also held that "§ 253(a) does not create a private right of action enforceable under § 1983".

This case is Sprint Telephony PCS and Pacific Bell Wireless v. County of San Diego, et al., U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, App. Ct. Nos. 05-56076 and 05-56435, appeals from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, D.C. No. CV-03-1398-BTM, Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz presiding. Judge Myron Bright wrote the opinion of the Court of Appeals, in which Judges Wallace Tashima and Carlos Bea joined.

Viacom Files Complaint Against Google and YouTube Alleging Violations of Copyright Law

3/12. Viacom and others filed a complaint [PDF] in U.S. District Court (SDNY) against Google and YouTube alleging violation of copyright law in connection with the operation of a commercial web site that permits users to publish copies of copyrighted works, without license.

The six count complaint alleges direct infringement by public performance, direct infringement by public display, direct infringement by reproduction, inducement of copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement.

Google owns YouTube. Viacom International Inc. is a content company. The plaintiffs are Viacom, and its affiliates, Comedy Partners, Country Music Television, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, and Black Entertainment Television, LLC.

The plaintiffs are represented by Donald Verrilli and other attorneys at the law firm of Jenner & Block. Verrilli also represented content providers before the Supreme Court in the landmark case of MGM v. Grokster.

On June 27, 2005, the Supreme Court issued its unanimous opinion [55 pages in PDF] in MGM v. Grokster, reversing the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) regarding vicarious copyright infringement by the distributors of peer to peer (P2P) systems. The Supreme Court held that "one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties." See, story titled "Supreme Court Rules in MGM v. Grokster" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,163, June 28, 2005.

The complaint states that broadband networks and digital technologies have "been misused to fuel an explosion of copyright infringement by exploiting the inexpensive duplication and distribution made possible by digital technology. Some entities, rather than taking the lawful path of building businesses that respect intellectual property rights on the Internet, have sought their fortunes by brazenly exploiting the infringing potential of digital technology."

It continues that "YouTube is one such entity. YouTube has harnessed technology to willfully infringe copyrights on a huge scale, depriving writers, composers and performers of the rewards they are owed for effort and innovation, reducing the incentives of America's creative industries, and profiting from the illegal conduct of others as well. Using the leverage of the Internet, YouTube appropriates the value of creative content on a massive scale for YouTube’s benefit without payment or license. YouTube’s brazen disregard of the intellectual property laws fundamentally threatens not just Plaintiffs, but the economic underpinnings of one of the most important sectors of the United States economy."

The complaint states that "YouTube’s website purports to be a forum for users to share their own original" content, but in reality "a vast amount of that content consists of infringing copies of Plaintiffs' copyrighted works".

The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs "have identified more than 150,000 unauthorized clips of their copyrighted programming on YouTube that had been viewed an astounding 1.5 billion times".

The complaint also alleges that "YouTube prevents copyright owners from finding on the YouTube site all of the infringing works", and that "YouTube has also implemented features that prevent copyright owners from finding infringing videos by searching the YouTube site."

The complaint asserts that the "Defendants actively engage in, promote and induce this infringement. YouTube itself publicly performs the infringing videos on the YouTube site and other websites. Thus, YouTube does not simply enable massive infringement by its users. It is YouTube that knowingly reproduces and publicly performs the copyrighted works uploaded to its site."

"Defendants know and intend that a substantial amount of the content on the YouTube site consists of unlicensed infringing copies of copyrighted works and have done little or nothing to prevent this massive infringement. To the contrary, the availability on the YouTube site of a vast library of the copyrighted works of Plaintiffs and others is the cornerstone of Defendants’ business plan. YouTube deliberately built up a library of infringing works to draw traffic to the YouTube site, enabling it to gain a commanding market share, earn significant revenues, and increase its enterprise value."

The complaint also states that "YouTube has deliberately chosen not to take reasonable precautions to deter the rampant infringement on its site", and that "YouTube has deliberately withheld the application of available copyright protection measures in order to coerce rights holders to grant it licenses on favorable terms."

Viacom stated in a release that "After a great deal of unproductive negotiation, and remedial efforts by ourselves and other copyright holders, YouTube continues in its unlawful business model. Therefore, we must turn to the courts to prevent Google and YouTube from continuing to steal value from artists and to obtain compensation for the significant damage they have caused."

On March 6, 2007, Thomas Rubin, Microsoft's Associate General Counsel for Copyright, Trademark and Trade Secrets, gave a speech in which he stated that Google systematically violates copyright. See, story titled "Microsoft Counsel Says Google Systematically Violates Copyright" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,547, March 6, 2007.

He primarily addressed Google's copying of books. However, he also said that Google's YouTube "follows a similar cavalier approach to copyright". He said that "television companies, movie studios and record labels have all complained that the site knowingly tolerates piracy. In the face of YouTube’s refusal to take any effective action, copyright owners have now been forced to resort to litigation. And Google has yet to come up with a plan to restrain the massive infringements on YouTube".

Gigi Sohn, head of the Public Knowledge, stated in a release that "Without commenting on the specific allegations involved, we note that simply because material is ``unauthorized´´ does not make its use illegal. There are limitations to copyright law, known as fair use, that do not require the copyright owner’s permission before use of a work. Many of the users of YouTube who have posted short clips of main-stream media’s works have done so using their fair use rights, for reasons of criticism, comment, education, and news reporting. We are confident YouTube and Google will continue to take appropriate actions in accordance with the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). By a previous request of Viacom, YouTube has already removed some 100,000 clips."

Ed Black, head of the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), stated in a release that "This lawsuit represents another attack on balanced copyright by rightsholder interests who mistakenly believe they are the sole gatekeepers for how copyrighted works may be used. The fair use doctrine says otherwise. Much of the content on YouTube represents news, commentary, and criticism -- these represent the heart of our fair use doctrine."

Black continued that "for any content that is not protected by fair use, processes exist to resolve copyright concerns that do not involve firing off lawsuits. These disputes should be addressed under the carefully balanced notice-and-takedown system provided for in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That system relieves service providers of the impossible obligation to affirmatively monitor the Internet."

Black accuses "some mega-content companies" of seeking "to undo their deal and pressure innovative internet companies through specious litigation."

NTIA Releases Converter Box Coupon Program Rules

3/12. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a notice [61 pages in PDF] to be published in the Federal Register that announces rules regarding its Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program.

This program is authorized by the Section 3005 Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005, which Act is Title III of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which is now Public Law No. 109-171.

The Act requires full power television stations to cease analog broadcasting, and to broadcast solely digital transmissions, after February 17, 2009. Television broadcasters will return this analog television spectrum to be auctioned. Proceeds of the auction will be deposited into a new Treasury fund titled "Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Fund". The Act also provides that consumers who want to continue receiving broadcast television over the air using analog only televisions not connected to cable or satellite service are eligible to receive digital to analog converter box assistance. The Act directs the NTIA to implement and administer this program. The just announced rules are part of this implementation.

The purpose of this program is to ensure that no television viewers are left without any television programming when broadcasters complete the transition to digital television.

The NTIA stated in a release that "Starting Jan. 1, 2008, all U.S. households will be eligible to request up to two $40 coupons to be used toward the purchase of up to two, digital-to-analog converter boxes, while the initial $990 million allocated for the program is available."

It added that "If the initial funds are used up, the Act permits funding to increase by $510 million, upon certification to Congress that the initial allocated amount is insufficient to fulfill coupon requests. If the additional funds are needed, eligibility for those coupons will be limited exclusively to over-the-air-only television households. Consumers requesting coupons from these contingent funds must self-certify to NTIA that they do not subscribe to cable, satellite or other pay television services. This program is structured to monitor demand to help ensure that over-the-air reliant households will not lose total access to television broadcasts after the Feb. 17, 2009, transition date."

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, which oversees the NTIA, stated in a release that "I support the digital television transition date of February 2009. Unfortunately, NTIA's decision to limit eligible households may impede a smooth transition, which could delay both getting spectrum to public safety users and the benefits of advanced wireless technologies to consumers. After the Administration opposed Democratic efforts to secure sufficient funding in favor of more tax cuts, the Administration now shows newfound concern that not all households will be covered. If the Administration believes additional funds are needed to prevent consumers' television sets from going dark, then it should ask the Congress for such funding."

The NTIA will hold a public meeting at 10:00 AM on Monday, March 19, 2007, to discuss its just released rules. The meeting will be in the DOC's Auditorium, at 1401 Constitution Ave., NW.

People and Appointments

3/12. Kyle Sampson, the Chief of Staff at the Department of Justice (DOJ), resigned, effective March 12, 2007. Sampson had served as Chairman of the DOJ's Task Force on Intellectual Property. His departure was related to an ongoing competition between the Bush administration and Democratic Senators regarding the appointment and replacement of U.S. Attorneys. See also, transcript of March 13, 2007, news conference of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Wednesday, March 14

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. See, Rep. Hoyer's weekly calendar [PDF].

8:00 AM. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host a breakfast. The speaker will be Richard Barth (Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the Department of Homeland Security). The deadline for registrations and cancellations is 5:00 PM on March 8. The price to attend ranges from $30-$55. See, registration form [PDF]. Location: Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave., NW.

9:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's (HAC) Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing titled "Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission". Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a panel discussion titled "Internet Governance 101". The speakers will include David Gross (Department of State), Beckwith Burr (Wilmer Hale), Joe Sims (Jones Day), and Russ Hanser (Wilkinson Barker Knauer). The price to attend ranges from $15 to $20. For more information, call 202-626-3463. See, notice. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, 1250 H St NW B-1 Level.

Thursday, March 15

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. See, Rep. Hoyer's weekly calendar [PDF].

8:20 AM. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff will give a speech to the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Press contact: 202-282-8010. Location: McLean Hilton, 7920 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA.

9:00 AM - 4:30 PM. Catholic University of America's (CUA) law school will host a conference titled "Content Abundance in a Multimedia World: Challenges & Opportunities for Multi-Platform Content Delivery & Regulation". See, agenda and registration page [PDF]. Location: CUA, Columbus School of Law, 3600 John McCormick Road, NE.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) may hold a business meeting. The agenda includes consideration of S 236, the "Federal Agency Data Mining Reporting Act of 2007". The SJC rarely follows its published agendas. Press contract: Tracy Schmaler (Leahy) at 202-224-2154 or Courtney Boone (Specter) at Courtney_Boone at judiciary-rep dot senate dot gov or 202-224-2984. See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

11:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled "Combating Spyware: H.R. 964, The Spy Act". Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building.

12:00 NOON. Kyle McSlarrow, head of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) will hold a news briefing. The NCTA notice states, "Please contact Pam Ford at 202-222-2356 if you plan on attending". Lunch will be served. Location: NCTA Headquarters, 25 Massachusetts Ave., NW.

1:00 PM. The House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Trade will hold a hearing on HR 1229, the "Nonmarket Economy Trade Remedy Act of 2007". Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.

RESCHEDULED FROM MARCH 8. 2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Department of State's (DOS) International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to prepare advice on U.S. positions for the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Telecommunication Standardization Sector Study Group 3 (Tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues). See, original notice in the Federal Register, January 11, 2007, Vol. 72, Number 7, at Page 1363. See, rescheduling notice in the Federal Register, February 12, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 28, at Pages 6640-6641. Location: AT&T, Suite 210, 1133 21st St., NW.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Department of State's (DOS) International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to prepare advice for the meeting of the Telecommunication Development Advisory Group (TDAG). See, notice in the Federal Register: February 12, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 28, at Pages 6640-6641. Location: DOS, Room 2533A.

Deadline to submit comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) regarding the 2005 WTO ministerial decision on duty free quota free market access for the least developed countries. See, notice in the Federal Register, January 18, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 11, at Pages 2316-2317.

Friday, March 16

Rep. Hoyer's weekly calendar [PDF] states that "no votes are expected in the House".

2:00 PM. The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) will host a panel discussion titled "What Goes Up Must Come Down: Copyright and Process in the Age of User-Posted Content". The speakers will include Jim Delong (PFF moderator), Bill Rosenblatt (DRMWatch and GiantSteps Media Strategies), Solveig Singleton (PFF), and Don Verrilli (Jenner & Block). See, notice. Location: Room B340, Rayburn Building, Capitol Hill.

Saturday, March 17

Saint Patrick's Day.

Monday, March 19

7:30 AM - 5:00 PM. The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) will host an event titled "Beyond the Beltway 2007: State & Local Government IT Market Watch". See, notice. Location: Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, McLean, VA.

10:00 AM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will hold a public meeting to discuss its just released DTV coupon program rules. See, notice [PDF] to be published in the Federal Register. Location: DOC, Auditorium, 1401 Constitution Ave., NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regarding several proposed rule changes. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 16, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 32, at Pages 7583-7587.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding AT&T's petition for forbearance from enforcement of certain FCC cost assignment rules. See, Public Notice [3 pages in PDF] (DA 07-731). This proceeding is WC Docket No. 07-21.

Tuesday, March 20

10:30 AM - 12:30 PM. The House Science Committee's (HSC) Research and Science Education Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled "National Science Foundation Reauthorization, Part 1". The witnesses will be Arden Bement (Director of the National Science Foundation) and Steven Beering (Chairman of the NSF's National Science Board). Press contact: Alisha Prather at 202-225-6375 or alisha dot prather at mail dot house dot gov. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.

12:15 - 1:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Common Carrier Practice Committee will host an event titled "Practice before other agencies: Why it matters and what you should know". The speakers will be representatives of the NTIA, FTC and DOJ. For more information, contact Colleen Nunez at cnunez at gci dot com or 202-457-8815. Location: Sidley Austin, 1501 K Street NW, 6th Floor.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to Locus Telecommunications, Inc.'s petition for a declaratory ruling that calls to a prepaid calling card provider’s toll-free customer service numbers are not subject to payphone compensation or, in the alternative, to initiate a rulemaking. See, Public Notice [3 pages in PDF] (DA 07-513). This is proceeding is RM 11354.

Wednesday, March 21

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Day one of a two day public meeting of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB). See, notice in the Federal Register, July 12, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 133, at Pages 39318. Location: Room 7C13, GAO Building, 441 G St., NW.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "The Business of Telecommunications". For more information, contact Devin Crock at drcock at dc dot bhb dot com, Natalie Roisman at nroisman at akingump dot com, Chris Fedeli at chrisfedeli at dwt dot com, or Devin Crock at dcrock at dc dot bhb dot com. Location: Akin Gump, 1333 New Hampshire Ave., NW, 10th Floor.

Deadline to register to attend the Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) April 10 reception and dinner. The speaker will be FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. See, registration form [PDF].

Deadline to submit applications to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to participate in its 2007 Attorney Honors Program. This program is for new and recent law school graduates and judicial clerks. See, FCC release [PDF].

DOJ IG Releases Reports on Use of NSLs and Section 215 Authority

3/9. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report [30 MB in PDF] titled "A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of National Security Letters", and a second report [10 MB in PDF] titled "A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of Section 215 Order for Business Records".

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales gave a speech on Friday, March 9, 2007, in which he discussed these reports.

Alberto GonzalesGonzales said, with regard to national security letters (NSLs), that "the IG found that the FBI did not have sufficient controls, did not provide adequate training, and failed to follow its own policies and Attorney General Guidelines."

NSLs enable the government to seize records from internet service providers, phone companies, banks, credit card companies and other financial entities, without court approval. § 505(a) of the USA PATRIOT Act expanded the reach of NSL authority by removing the requirement that these NSLs pertain to an "agent of a foreign power", and by allowing NSLs to be used to compel ISPs to produce records about people who use their services. However, these provisions were not sunsetted, and hence, were not at the center of the Congressional debates in 2005 and early 2006 over extension of the sunsetted provisions.

Nevertheless, the House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Crime did hold a hearing, one topic of which was NSLs, on April 28, 2005. See, story titled "House Crime Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Library and ISP Records and § 215 of the Patriot Act and National Security Letters" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,125, April 29, 2005.

Gonzales also discussed the use of NSLs. He said that "an NSL is a letter request for information held by a third party that is issued by the FBI in connection with an authorized counterterrorism or counterintelligence investigation."

He continued that "We have had this tool for many years, but previously the letters had not been used as frequently. In this post-9/11 era, however, with concerns about terrorists operating inside our borders and the threat of homegrown terror cells, they have become much more valuable."

He asserted that "We use NSLs to begin to tie together the various threads of the life of a suspected terrorist -- where he lives, who his friends are, what phone numbers he is calling most often. In an era when prevention is critical, and time is of the essence, NSLs are vital to our national security."

Gonzales also commented on the Section 215 report. He said that this report "confirmed that the Department and the FBI have acted responsibly in exercising their authority under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which authorizes the government to obtain business records and other materials through the FISA Court. The IG reported only two examples where inadvertent errors, one by a case agent and one by a third party, resulted in the FBI getting more information than it should have. In both cases the data were either sequestered or destroyed, and the appropriate oversight authorities were notified."

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC), stated in a release that "National Security Letters are a powerful tool, and when they are misused they can do great harm to innocent people. The government expects Americans to follow the law, but the American people also have a right to expect that the government follows the law."

He added that "These improper and illegal violations might all be continuing if it were not for the sunshine provisions about the use of NSLs that we insisted on adding to the PATRIOT Act. I intend for the Senate Judiciary Committee to conduct extensive hearings on these findings, their significance and possible remedies in our ongoing oversight efforts, including at a hearing with the FBI Director later this month."

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the House Majority Leader, stated in a release that "I am deeply troubled by the Inspector General's report finding that the nation's premier law enforcement agency failed to implement and diligently follow all the controls necessary in obtaining thousands of financial and communications records."

He added that "President Bush, Attorney General Gonzales, and F.B.I. Director Mueller owe it to the American people to explain how they will correct the problems detailed in the report. It is not enough for this Administration to claim that it is upset by today's disclosures. It must also take full responsibility for the errors that occurred, hold the appropriate officials accountable for what happened, and, most important, ensure that it does not happen again."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) stated in a release that NSLs remain "an indispensable investigative tool". Also, FBI Director Mueller spoke at news conference. See, transcript. And, AG Gonzales wrote a letter [PDF] to the IG, Glen Fine, on March 9, 2007. Finally, the DOJ issued a release on Section 215.

More News

3/13. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a FCC Public Notice [PDF] (DA 07-1188) regarding its rural health care pilot subsidy program. The deadline to submit applications to the FCC for subsidies under this program is May 7, 2007.

3/13. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it will hold yet another hearing on regulation of media ownership on Monday, April 30, 2007. See, FCC notice [PDF]. This one will be somewhere in the Tampa St. Petersburg, Florida, area.

3/12. The House approved HR 1068 by voice vote. This untitled bill amends the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991.

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