Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
June 4, 2007, Alert No. 1,590.
Home Page | Calendar | Subscribe | Back Issues | Reference
2nd Circuit Vacates and Remands FCC Profanity Order

6/4. The U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCir) issued its divided opinion [53 pages in PDF] in Fox Television v. FCC, a broadcast profanity case.

The majority wrote that "We find that the FCC抯 new policy sanctioning ``fleeting expletives创 is arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act for failing to articulate a reasoned basis for its change in policy. Accordingly, the petition for review is GRANTED, the order of the FCC is VACATED, and the matter is REMANDED to the agency for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

The Court did not decide any of the Constitutional issues. However, it wrote in extensive dicta that "we are skeptical that the Commission can provide a reasoned explanation for its ``fleeting expletive创 regime that would pass constitutional muster".

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin issued a long release [PDF] in which he criticized the Court's opinion, and the broadcast programs at issue. Notably, he did not state that the FCC would issue another order. Instead, he suggested that Congressional action would be appropriate. In contrast, Commissioner Michael Copps wrote in a release [PDF] that this must remain a "Commission priority".

Order Under Review. On November 6, 2006, the FCC issued an Order [36 pages in PDF] on remand regarding complaints that four broadcast television programs contained indecent and/or profane material. The Order concluded, among other things, that comments made by Nicole Richie during "The 2003 Billboard Music Awards" and by Cheryl LaPiere during the "The 2002 Billboard Music Awards" were indecent and profane. This order is FCC 06-166.

Fox, CBS, and ABC filed petitions for review of the FCC's order. See also, stories titled "FCC Releases Indecency Orders" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,332, March 20, 2006, and "FCC Releases Order on Remand Regarding Broadcast Indecency" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,484, November 7, 2006.

Court of Appeals Opinion. The reasoning in support of the holding is narrow. The Court of Appeals granted the petitions solely on the grounds that the order represents a dramatic change in agency policy without adequate explanation and is hence arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Court did not decide other arguments that the order is arbitrary and capricious. The Court did not rule on the arguments that the FCC's indecency regime is unconstitutionally vague, that it is a content based regulation of speech in violation of the First Amendment, or that it permits the FCC to make subjective determinations about the quality of speech in violation of the First Amendment.

However, while the Court did not rule on the other arguments, it proceeded, in lengthy dicta, to suggest that the FCC's order, or any similarly rewritten order, would also fail on Constitutional grounds. However, this is dicta, and were to the FCC to issue another order on remand, the inevitable challenges to that order might not be heard by the Second Circuit.

While the Court did not decide the Constitutional issues, it added that "we are skeptical that the Commission can provide a reasoned explanation for its ``fleeting expletive创 regime that would pass constitutional muster". The Court added that the FCC is likely to rewrite its order, with articulation of its basis, and that the broadcasters are likely to challenge that order.

It wrote that "we question whether the FCC抯 indecency test can survive First Amendment scrutiny. For instance, we are sympathetic to the Networks' contention that the FCC抯 indecency test is undefined, indiscernible, inconsistent, and consequently, unconstitutionally vague."

Pacifica's Pervasiveness Rationale. The judicial precedent upon which the FCC primarily relied was the Supreme Court's opinion in the case involving comedian George Carlin's use of "filthy words", FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978).

In Pacifica, the Supreme Court upheld the FCC's order regarding a radio broadcast of Carlin's monologue. It wrote that "We have long recognized that each medium of expression presents special First Amendment problems. ... And of all forms of communication, it is broadcasting that has received the most limited First Amendment protection. Thus, although other speakers cannot be licensed except under laws that carefully define and narrow official discretion, a broadcaster may be deprived of his license and his forum if the Commission decides that such an action would serve ``the public interest, convenience, and necessity.创"

The Supreme Court has offered various rationales for regulation of broadcast speech, including scarcity of spectrum, and pervasiveness of broadcast media, both of which are becoming increasingly irrelevant. In Pacifica, the Court cited the rationale that "the broadcast media have established a uniquely pervasive presence in the lives of all Americans".

In the present case, the broadcasters argued that the pervasiveness rationale has eroded with the proliferation of new media.

The Court wrote, in dicta, that "Whatever merit these arguments may have, they cannot sway us in light of Supreme Court precedent. ... Nevertheless, we would be remiss not to observe that it is increasingly difficult to describe the broadcast media as uniquely pervasive and uniquely accessible to children, and at some point in the future, strict scrutiny may properly apply in the context of regulating broadcast television." (See, page 36 of slip opinion.)

The Court added that "The proliferation of satellite and cable television channels -- not to mention internet-based video outlets -- has begun to erode the ``uniqueness创 of broadcast media, while at the same time, blocking technologies such as the V-chip have empowered viewers to make their own choices about what they do, and do not, want to see on television."

It concluded that "technological advances may obviate the constitutional legitimacy of the FCC抯 robust oversight."

John Morris of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and Adam Thierer of the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) argued in an amicus curiae brief [40 pages in PDF] that "broadcast indecency law is rife with First Amendment and other constitutional and statutory problems". They also argued that "As the broadcast medium becomes less relevant, and as video entertainment moves to media that have robust parental controls (such as cable and the Internet), the entire constitutional foundation for any enhanced governmental authority over otherwise lawful content is diminishing."

They added that "Not only are new and varied media technologies being developed, their convergence with broadcast makes the ``pervasiveness创 rationale increasingly irrelevant. The rise of new user empowerment technologies, available for traditional broadcast as well as other video and audio media, justifies a shift away from government regulation to a more user-centric model that respects individual choice and encourages personal responsibility -- and, critically, still protects children."

Profanity. The Court also wrote, in dicta, about the broadcasters' argument that the FCC employed an improper definition of profane.

The Court wrote that "Although we need not reach this argument to dispose of this appeal, on remand, the FCC may desire to explain its gloss on the definition of ``profane.创"

It added that "we do not believe the FCC has proffered a reasonable construction of the term ``profane.创 While we may owe Chevron deference to the FCC's construction, the FCC must still demonstrate that its construction is reasonable, particularly in light of Congressional intent, the canons of statutory construction, and the historical view of the plain meaning of this term."

Martin's and Copp's Reactions. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin responded in a release [PDF]. He wrote that "I completely disagree with the Court's ruling and am disappointed for American families. I find it hard to believe that the New York court would tell American families that ``shit创 and ``fuck创 are fine to say on broadcast television during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience."

"The court even says the Commission is ``divorced from reality.创 It is the New York court, not the Commission, that is divorced from reality in concluding that the word ``fuck创 does not invoke a sexual connotation", said Martin. "These words were used in prime time, when children were watching."

Kevin MartinMartin (at right) continued that "the court implies that the existence of blocking technologies is one reason the FCC shouldn抰 be so concerned. But even a vigilant parent using current blocking technologies such as the V-Chip couldn抰 have avoided this language, because they rely on the program抯 rating, and in this case the programs were rated appropriate for family viewing."

He concluded that "If we can't restrict the use of the words ``fuck创 and ``shit创 during prime time, Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want."

The FCC's current statutory authority is 18 U.S.C. 1464. It provides in full that "Whoever utters any obscene, indecent, or profane language by means of radio communication shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

Chairman Martin also wrote that "Today's decision by the Court increases the importance of Congress considering content-neutral solutions to give parents more tools and consumers generally more control and choice over programming coming into their homes. By allowing them to choose the channels that come into their homes, Congress could deliver real power to American families."

He added that "Permitting parents to have more choice in the channels they receive may prove to be the best solution to content concerns. All of the potential versions of a la carte would avoid government regulation of content while enabling consumers, including parents, to receive only the programming they want and believe to be appropriate for their families. Providing consumers more choice would avoid the First Amendment concerns of content regulation, while providing real options for Americans."

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps wrote in a release [PDF] that "This decision is disappointing to me and to millions of parents and concerned citizens across the land. But it doesn't change the FCC's legal obligation to enforce the indecency statute. So any broadcaster who sees this decision as a green light to send more gratuitous sex and violence into our homes would be making a huge mistake. The FCC has a duty to find a way to breathe life into the laws that protect our kids. That may entail an appeal of this decision. Certainly it includes strong enforcement action of the many indecency complaints before us that are untouched by today's decision. Enforcing the laws against indecency, profanity and obscenity must remain a Commission priority -- America's families and children expect and deserve no less."

This case is Fox Television Stations, Inc., et al. v. FCC and USA, and consolidated petitions for review of a final order of the FCC, App. Ct. Nos. 06-1760-ag (L), 06-2750-ag (CON), and 06-5358-ag (CON). CBS and ABC also filed petitions for review. Judge Pooler wrote the opinion of the court, in which Judge Hall joined. Judge Leval dissented.

Rep. Jefferson Indicted

6/4. A grand jury of the U.S. District Court (EDVa) returned a 16 count indictment that charges Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) with various crimes related to the performance of his official duties, including soliciting and offering bribes in connection with the award of telecommunications contracts. Arraignment is scheduled for June 8, 2007.

Charles Rosenberg, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and other Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, held a news conference to publicize the indictment. He stated that the indictment includes "two counts of conspiracy to solicit bribes and to commit wire fraud, and in the first conspiracy also to violation the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, two counts of soliciting bribes as a member of Congress, six counts of wire fraud, one count of violating the Foreign Corrupt practices act, three counts of money laundering, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of violating the Racketeer-Influenced Corrupt Organization or RICO Act through a pattern of activity including 11 different bribe schemes".

Rosenberg alleged that "Jefferson solicited bribes from IGate, a Kentucky telecommunications company. IGate paid those bribes to Mr. Jefferson so that he would use his position as a member of Congress to push IGate抯 business interests in Nigeria and Ghana."

The DOJ alleged in a release that "Jefferson met with Nigerian Official A at the official's residence in Potomac, Md., and offered Official A a bribe to induce him to use his position to assist in obtaining commitments from NITEL, the government-controlled main telecommunications service provider in Nigeria."

Litigation regarding the legality of the DOJ's search of Rep. Jefferson's office in the Rayburn House Office Building is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir). See, story titled "District Court Denies Rep. Jefferson's Motion for Return of Property" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,408, July 11, 2007. At issue is whether the DOJ's Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) search violated the speech or debate clause of the Constitution and the doctrine of separation of powers.

The DOJ officials were asked at the news conference if this indictment is "tainted or suspicious or something because of the recent controversies involving the Justice Department". Rosenberg responded, "we don't give a damn about politics".

Rep. Jefferson was previously a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. He is a Democrat who supported trade promotion authority and free trade agreements. See for example, stories in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 323 , December 7, 2001.

GAO Reports on Information Security Weaknesses at FBI

5/24. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [30 pages in PDF] titled "Information Security: FBI Needs to Address Weaknesses in Critical Network".

The report notes that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) "FBI relies extensively on information technology", and that "FBI information system security weaknesses have been exploited by insiders in the past". The report addresses the example of the Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent, and convicted spy, who exploited "inadequacies in the bureau's information system security controls".

The report states that "Certain information security controls over the critical internal network reviewed were ineffective in protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and information resources. Specifically, FBI did not consistently (1) configure network devices and services to prevent unauthorized insider access and ensure system integrity; (2) identify and authenticate users to prevent unauthorized access; (3) enforce the principle of least privilege to ensure that authorized access was necessary and appropriate; (4) apply strong encryption techniques to protect sensitive data on its networks; (5) log, audit, or monitor security-related events; (6) protect the physical security of its network; and (7) patch key servers and workstations in a timely manner."

The GAO report concludes that "Taken collectively, these weaknesses place sensitive information transmitted on the network at risk of unauthorized disclosure or modification, and could result in a disruption of service, increasing the bureau抯 vulnerability to insider threats."

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Monday, June 4

The Senate will meet at 2:30 PM. It will resume consideration of S 1348, a bill related to immigration and other matters.

9:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science
(NCLIS) will meet. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 22, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 98, at Page 28714. Location: Room 642, Madison Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., SE.

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Microstrategy v. Business Objects, App. Ct. No. 2006-1320. Location: Courtroom 203.

10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will hold a public meeting regarding the Public Safety Interoperable Communications Grant Program. See, NTIA notice and notice in the Federal Register, May 22, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 98, at Pages 28685-28686. Location: Auditorium, Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave., NW.

5:00 PM. Deadline to submit applications to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for funding for "basic research in the field of nanoscale electronics focused on developing the next logic switch beyond complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS)". See, notice in the Federal Register , May 4, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 86, at Pages 25264-25267.

Tuesday, June 5

The House will return from its Memorial Day District Work Period at 2:00 PM. It will consider numerous non-technology related items under suspension of the rules. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 PM. See, Rep. Hoyer's weekly calendar [PDF].

9:00 AM. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Investigations will hold a hearing on stock options. See, notice. Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.

9:00 AM - 3:00 PM. The U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) will meet. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 22, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 98, at Page 28714. Location: Room 642, Madison Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., SE.

11:30 AM. Henry Paulson (Secretary of the Treasury) will give a speech. For more information, contact Lester Romero at 202-675-1761 or lester dot romero at heritage dot org. Location: Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave., NE.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will host a panel discussion titled "E-Government and Electronic Tax Filing, Comparative Strategies of the United Kingdom and United States". The speakers will be Ian Liddell-Grainger (Conservative Party Member of the U.K. House of Commons) and Cunningham (former Labour MP). See, notice. RSVP to Torey Liepa at 202-449-1351 or tliepa at itif dot org. Location: Hyde Room (H-139), Capitol Building.

12:00 NOON. Anthony Romero, head of the ACLU, will speak on his book titled "In Defense of Our America: The Fight for Civil Liberties in the Age of Terror" [Amazon]. See, notice and registration page. Lunch will be served after the program. Location: Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., NW.

12:45 PM. Eric Solomon (Department of the Treasury's Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy) will give a speech titled "U.S. Tax System as it Relates to U.S. Competitiveness in the Global Marketplace" at the United States Council for International Business/OECD Conference. Location: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

1:00 - 3:00 PM. The New America Foundation (NAF) will host an event titled "From Silicon to Photovoltaics: A Nasdaq Blue Chip抯 Trip into Solar Energy Cell Production". The speaker will be Michael Splintner, P/CEO of Applied Materials. Location: Room 366, Dirksen Building.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The House Science Committee (HSC) will hold a hearing titled "The Role of Technology in Reducing Illegal Filesharing: A University Perspective". See, notice. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.

6:00 - 8:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar titled "The Judicial Year in Review". The price to attend ranges from $50 to $125. See, registration form [PDF]. Registrations are due by 5:00 PM on Friday, June 1. Location: undisclosed.

TIME? The AeA will host its annual event titled "Annual Technology for Government Dinner". The keynote speaker will be Jonathan Schwartz, P/CEO of Sun Microsystems. The AeA states that this event is for "government CIO抯 and government leaders together with high-tech Industry executives". Prices vary. See, notice. For more information, contact Anne Caliguiri at 202-682-4443 or anne_caliguiri at aeanet dot org. Location: Independence Ballroom, Grand Hyatt, 1000 H St., NW.

Wednesday, June 6

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. It may consider HR 964 [LOC | WW], the "Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act", the House Commerce Committee's spyware bill. See, Rep. Hoyer's weekly calendar [PDF].

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold a hearing titled "Patent Reform: The Future of American Innovation". The witnesses will be Jon Dudas (head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office), Bruce Bernstein (InterDigital Communications Corporation), Mary Doyle (Palm, Inc.), and Moshe Malina (Citi). See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing titled "U.S. Interests in Reform of China's Financial Services Sector". See, notice. Location: Room 2128, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) will hold a hearing titled "Trade and Globalization: Adjustment for a 21st Century Workforce". The witnesses will be Lael Brainard (Brookings Institute), Kim Didier (Newton Development Corporation), Jane Pines (AFL-CIO), Howard Rosen (Trade Adjustment Assistance Coalition), and Jerry Ann Ross (participant in the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program). See, notice. Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.

12:00 NOON. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) will host an event titled "Media briefing to announce a new cable industry initiative regarding online safety and literacy". RSVP to Pam Ford at 202-222-2356. A light lunch will be served at the conclusion of the program. Location: Ticonderoga Room, Hyatt Regency Hotel, 400 New Jersey Ave., NW.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The House Science Committee's (HSC) Subcommittee on Research and Science Education will hold a hearing titled "Federal STEM Education Programs". See, notice. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.

2:00 PM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in MEMC Electronic Materials v. Mitsubishi, App. Ct. No. 2006-1305. Location: Courtroom 201.

Deadline to submit to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) requests to testify at, and prepared statements for, its hearing on June 20, 2007, on the potential effects of a U.S. Korea Free Trade Agreement. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 23, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 99, at Page 28997.

Thursday, June 7

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. It may consider HR 964 [LOC | WW], the "Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act", the House Commerce Committee's spyware bill. See, Rep. Hoyer's weekly calendar [PDF].9:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Department of State's (DOS) International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to prepare for ITU-T Study Group 16. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 12, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 28, at Pages 6640-6641. Location: Communications Technologies Inc, 14151 Newbrook Drive, Suite 400, Chantilly, VA.

9:00 - 10:30 AM. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will host an panel discussion titled "The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property". See, notice. RSVP to Torey Liepa at 202-449-1351 or tliepa at itif dot org. Location: ITIF, 1250 I St., NW.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) may hold an executive business meeting. The agenda includes consideration of Leslie Southwick to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (5thCir) and Robert James Jonker to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

CHANGE OF TOPIC AND SPEAKERS. 12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Transactional Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "Investing Safely in Foreign Countries or How Not to Fall Afoul of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act". The speakers will be Tara Giunta (Paul Hastings), Aileen Pisciotta (Trans-World Telecom Caribbean), and Mel Schwechter (LeBoeuf Lamb). RSVP to Almira Kennedy at 202-418-1743 or Almira dot Kennedy at fcc dot gov. Location: Paul Hastings, 875 15th St., NW.

1:00 - 5:00 PM. The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences will hold a meeting. The first topic on the agenda is "Science of Science and Innovation Policy". See, notice in the Federal Register, May 11, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 91, at Page 26850. Location: 4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 920, Arlington, VA.

2:00 PM. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will hold a hearing titled "Constitutional Limitations on Domestic Surveillance". See, notice. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

2:00 PM. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's (HOGRC) Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives will hold a hearing titled "Federal IT Security: The Future for FISMA". Location: Room 2154, Rayburn Building.

2:00 PM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear en banc oral argument in In Re Seagate Technology, App. Ct. No. 2006-M830. Location: Courtroom 201. 

3:00 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) President's Export Council (PEC) will meet. The deadline to register to attend is June 1, 2007. See, notice in the Federal Register: May 18, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 96, at Page 28030. Location: Room 628, Dirksen Building.

Day one of a two day conference titled "Broadband Policy Summit III". See, conference web site. Location: Ritz Carlton, Pentagon City, Arlington, VA.

Friday, June 8

8:00 - 9:15 AM. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) and the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) will jointly host a breakfast titled "Trends in Communications Technologies". The speaker will be Ed Thomas (Harris Wiltshire & Grannis). RSVP to Meghan Exley at 703-770-7807 or meghan dot exley at pillsburylaw dot com. Location: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, 1650 Tysons Blvd., McLean, VA.

Day two of a two day conference titled "Broadband Policy Summit III". See, conference web site. Location: Ritz Carlton, Pentagon City, Arlington, VA.

Monday, June 11

1:00 PM. The Fiber to the Home Council (FTTH) will host a web seminar titled "Presenting on Next-Generation: FTTH Architectures and Enabling Technologies". See, notice, with registration and call in information.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding installation of smaller antennas by Fixed Service (FS) operators. This NPRM is FCC 07-38 in WT Docket No. 07-54. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 25, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 79, at Pages 20494-20499.

More News

6/4. The Supreme Court denied certiorari in JMC Telecom v. AT&T. See, Orders List [7 pages in PDF], at page 2. See also, Supreme Court docket. This lets stand the December 1, 2006, opinion [19 pages in PDF] of the U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir). See also, story titled "3rd Circuit Construes Sherman Act in Dispute Between AT&T and Prepaid Phone Card Seller" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,498, December 4, 2006. This case is JMC Telecom, LLC v. AT&T Corp., Sup. Ct. No. 06-1314, a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, App. Ct. No. 05-1304. The Court of Appeals heard an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, D.C. No.99-cv-02578.

5/31. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) submitted prepared testimony [12 pages in PDF] to the Ohio state legislature titled "Public Entities, Personal Information, and Identity Theft". The FTC wrote that "Governments collect sensitive personal information that can be misused by identity thieves", and that there have been several "government data breaches" involving the loss of laptop computers. It also states that "government must consider what information it collects and maintains from or about consumers and must better protect the data it does collect. In this regard, eliminating unnecessary collection, use, and disclosure of Social Security numbers -- an important tool of identity thieves -- can play a key role.

5/29. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [3MB PDF file] titled "DHS Privacy Office: Progress Made but Challenges Remain in Notifying and Reporting to the Public".

About Tech Law Journal

Tech Law Journal publishes a free access web site and subscription e-mail alert. The basic rate for a subscription to the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert is $250 per year. However, there are discounts for subscribers with multiple recipients. Free one month trial subscriptions are available. Also, free subscriptions are available for journalists, federal elected officials, and employees of the Congress, courts, and executive branch. The TLJ web site is free access. However, copies of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert are not published in the web site until one month after writing. See, subscription information page.

Contact: 202-364-8882.
P.O. Box 4851, Washington DC, 20008.

Privacy Policy
Notices & Disclaimers
Copyright 1998-2007 David Carney, dba Tech Law Journal. All rights reserved.