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July 30, 2007, Alert No. 1,618.
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US and EU Sign PNR Data Transfer Agreement

7/26. Representatives of the United States (US) and European Union (EU) signed and released a document [7 pages in PDF] titled "Agreement Between the United States of America and the European Union on the Processing and Transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) Data by Air Carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security".

The agreement provides that the EU "will ensure that air carriers operating passenger flights in foreign air transportation to or from the United States of America will make available PNR data contained in their reservation systems as requires by DHS."

The agreement adds that the "DHS is deemed to ensure an adequate level of protection for PNR data transferred from the European Union", and that the EU "will not interfere with relationships between the United States and third countries for the exchange of passenger information on data protection grounds."

Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, wrote in a statement that PNR data enables the DHS "to disrupt terrorist travel, deny admission to individuals presenting security concerns, and dismantle human trafficking and narcotics smuggling networks".

He added that the agreement "changes how the department collects PNR data from airline reservation systems. Air carriers will now transmit PNR data directly to the department. The agreement also provides legal assurance to European air carriers that they will not be in potential violation of European privacy law when complying with U.S. law concerning PNR data."

GAO Reports Significant Weaknesses in Information Security at Government Agencies

7/27. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [61 pages in PDF] titled "Information Security: Despite Reported Progress, Federal Agencies Need to Address Persistent Weaknesses".

The GAO examined 24 major federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Commerce (DOC), and Department of the Treasury. However, the GAO did not examine information security at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) or other offices in the Executive Office of the President (EOP).

The GAO reports finds that "Significant weaknesses in information security policies and practices threaten the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical information and information systems used to support the operations, assets, and personnel of most federal agencies. Recently reported information security incidents at federal agencies have placed sensitive data at risk, including the theft, loss, or improper disclosure of personally identifiable information on millions of Americans, thereby exposing them to loss of privacy and potential harm associated with identity theft."

The GAO reports finds that these 24 agencies "had weaknesses in one or more areas of information security controls. Most agencies did not implement controls to sufficiently prevent, limit, or detect access to computer networks, systems, or information. For example, agencies did not consistently (1) identify and authenticate users to prevent unauthorized access; (2) enforce the principle of least privilege to ensure that authorized access was necessary and appropriate; (3) establish sufficient boundary protection mechanisms; (4) apply encryption to protect sensitive data on networks and portable devices; (5) log, audit, and monitor security-relevant events; and (6) restrict physical access to information assets."

It adds that "agencies did not always configure network devices and services to prevent unauthorized access and ensure system integrity, such as patching key servers and workstations in a timely manner; assign incompatible duties to different individuals or groups so that one individual does not control all aspects of a process or transaction; and maintain or test continuity of operations plans for key information systems."

The report also states that "An underlying cause for these weaknesses is that agencies have not fully or effectively implemented agencywide information security programs. As a result, agencies may not have assurance that controls are in place and operating as intended to protect their information and information systems, thereby leaving them vulnerable to attack or compromise."

The report notes that the DOC's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which regulates exports, suffered a "security breach" in July of 2006.

People and Appointments

7/27. The U.S. District Court (DColo) imposed a sentence of 72 months in prison upon Joseph Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest Communications International. See, Department of Justice release.

7/26. Marisa Lino was named Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). See, DHS release.

7/26. Paul Rosenzweig was named Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). See, DHS release. The Assistant Secretary for Policy is Stewart Baker.

7/26. James Overdahl was named Chief Economist of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and head of the SEC's Office of Economic Analysis. He was previously Chief Economist of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). He has also worked for the Department of the Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. He will replace Chester Spatt, who will return to the business school at Carnegie Mellon University. See, SEC release.

7/26. Anthony Vinciquerra (P/CEO of Fox Networks Group) and Greg Brown (P/COO of Motorola) were elected to the Board of Directors of Motorola. See, release.

7/24. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) gave its Consumer Champion Award to Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). Both are members of the House Commerce Committee (HCC) and its Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. See, NCTA release.

7/20. David McCue was named Chief Information Officer of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). See, CSC release.

Court Opinions

7/27. The U.S. Court of Appeals (6thCir) issued its opinion [4 pages in PDF] in Tiseo Architects v. B&B Pools Service and Supply Company, a copyright case involving design and site plan drawings. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the District Court, which ruled against the copyright holder (Tiseo) on the basis that alleged infringers' designs were not "substantially similar". This case is Tiseo Architects, Inc. v. B&B Pools Service and Supply Company, et al., U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 06-1819, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit, D.C. No. 05-70537, Judge Nancy Edmunds presiding. Judge Rodgers wrote the opinion of the Court of Appeals, in which Judge Cook and Dowd joined.

7/27. The U.S. Court of Appeals (10thCir) issued its opinion [18 pages in PDF] in Union Telephone v. Qwest, a dispute between carriers regarding compensation for telecommunications services. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's summary judgment for Qwest. This case is Union Telephone Company v. Qwest Corporation, App. Ct. No. 06-8012, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, D.C. No. 02-CV-209-WFD. Judge Lucero wrote the opinion of the Court of Appeals, in which Judges Anderson and McConnell joined.

7/26. The U.S. Court of Appeals (10thCir) issued its opinion [11 pages in PDF] in Lane v. Simon, a First Amendment case involving state regulation of the content of a college newspaper. Katie Lane and Sarah Rice are former editors of a student newspaper at Kansas State University (KSU). They have graduated. They filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DKan) against two KSU officials, Todd Simon and Stephen White, alleging violation of the First Amendment in connection with their attempts to regulate the content of the newspaper. The District Court granted summary judgment to the KSU officials. The Court of Appeals ducked the weighty constitutional issues by ruling that the case is moot because the plaintiffs have graduated. Moreover, the Court of Appeals held that this case does not fit into the capable of repetition yet evading review exception because KSU will not threaten their First Amendment rights in the future. This case is Katie Lane and Sarah Rice v. Todd Simon and Stephen White, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, App. Ct. Nos. 05-3266 and 05-3284, appeals from the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, D.C. No. 04-CV-4079-JAR. Judge Lucero wrote the opinion of the Court of Appeals, in which Judges McConnell and Holmes joined.

More News

Alberto Gonzales7/27. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (at right) gave a speech in Indianapolis, Indiana. He said that "the Internet has enabled child rape and molestation to become an industry".

7/24. The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) released a paper [10 pages in PDF] that summarizes, analyzes, and comments upon the June 18, 2007, opinion [20 pages in PDF] of the U.S. Court of Appeals (6thCir) in Warshak v. U.S., a case regarding the 4th Amendment, the Stored Communications Act (SCA), and government access to e-mail held by internet service providers (ISPs). The Court of Appeals held that "individuals maintain a reasonable expectation of privacy in e-mails that are stored with, or sent or received through, a commercial ISP". Hence, the 4th Amendment's requirement that the government must obtain a warrant based upon probable cause applies to certain stored e-mail. The Court of Appeals added that alternatively the government can give prior notice to the targeted individual. The government cannot merely rely upon the statutory procedure set out in the SCA to seize stored e-mail. See also, story titled "6th Circuit Holds That People Have a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in E-Mail Stored With, or Sent or Received Through, an ISP" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,597, June 19, 2007. The CDT wrote that this case is a victory for internet users, and "brings a long-overdue measure of constitutional clarity to an area critical to privacy in the digital age". It added that "From a corporate perspective, the ruling brings some needed simplicity to the rules governing disclosure of stored email. The ruling should be welcome to email providers for another reason: as Internet users remain acutely sensitive to privacy, this case gives them some measure of confidence by specifying that online communications enjoy constitutional protection."

7/26. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted and released a Memorandum Opinion and Order [16 pages in PDF] in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Petition of Core Communications, Inc. for Forbearance from Sections 251(g) and 254(g) of the Communications Act and Implementing Rules". The FCC denied a petition filed by Core Communications requesting the FCC to forbear from the rate regulation preserved by 47 U.S.C. 251(g), the rate averaging and rate integration required by 47 U.S.C. 254(g), and all related implementing rules with respect to all telecommunications carriers. This item is FCC 07-129 in WC Docket No. 06-100.

7/26. Microsoft announced in a release that "it has agreed to acquire AdECN, Inc.," but without disclosing any financial details. Microsoft stated that AdECN is "an advertising exchange platform company" and that its "technology serves as a hub where advertising networks can come together in a neutral, real-time auction marketplace for buying and selling display advertising."

7/24. America Online (AOL) announced in a release that "it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire TACODA, an online behavioral targeting advertising network."

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Monday, July 30

The House will meet at 10:30 AM for morning hour, and at 12:00 NOON for legislative business. It will consider numerous non-technology related items. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 PM. See, Rep. Hoyer's weekly calendar [PDF].

The Senate will meet at 2:00 PM for morning business, and at 3:00 PM for legislative business. It will resume consideration of HR 976 [LOC | WW].

5:00 PM. The National Science Foundation (NSF) will host a closed meeting, on site and by teleconference, regarding an Office of the Inspector General report. See, notice in the Federal Register, July 18, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 137, at Page 39467. Location: National Science Board Office, NSF, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its request to refresh the record of its 2001 Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding "the status of the market for the provision of telecommunications services in Multiple Tenant Environments (MTEs), and on whether the prohibition on exclusive access contracts in commercial MTEs should be extended to residential MTEs". See, notice in the Federal Register, May 30, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 103, at Pages 29928-29929. This item is DA 07-1485 WT Docket No. 99-217 and CC Docket No. 96-98.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division (CSD) regarding its Draft Special Publication 800-38D [29 pages in PDF] titled "Recommendation for Block Cipher Modes of Operation: Galois/Counter Mode (GCM) for Confidentiality and Authentication".

Tuesday, July 31

The House will meet at 9:00 AM for morning hour, and at 10:00 AM for legislative business. See, Rep. Hoyer's weekly calendar [PDF].

9:00 AM - 4:30 PM. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) will hold a hearing. The USCC web site stated that the title is "Freedom of Expression in China: Internet and Media Controls". The USCC's notice in the Federal Register states that the hearing is titled "Access to Information in the People's Republic of China", and that it will examine "developments in Chinese information control mechanisms". See, Federal Register, July 18, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 137, at Pages 39479-39480. Location: Room 385, Russell Building, Capitol Hill.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold a hearing titled "The Leegin Decision: The End of the Consumer Discounts or Good Antitrust Policy". This pertains to the June 28, 2007, opinion [55 pages in PDF] of the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCUS) in Leegin Creative Leather Products v. PSKS, an antitrust case regarding minimum resale price maintenance by manufacturers and intermediate distributors. See, story titled "SCUS Holds That All Vertical Price Restraints Are Subject to Rule of Reason" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,603, June 28, 2007. The witnesses will be Pamela Harbour (FTC Commissioner), Robert Pitofsky (Arnold & Porter), Marcy Syms (SYMS), Stephan Bolerjack (Dykema Gossett, for the National Association of Manufacturers), and Janet McDavid (Hogan & Hartson). See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an event titled "Open Meeting". The FCC stated that it will adopt rules regarding the upcoming auction of spectrum usage rights in 700 MHz band for wireless services (WT Docket No. 06-150, etc.), and an order regarding roaming obligations of CMRS providers (WT Docket Nos. 05-265 and 00-193). See, FCC agenda [2 pages in PDF] and notice in the Federal Register, July 27, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 144, at Pages 41326-41327. The event will be webcast by the FCC. The FCC does not always follow its published agenda. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, Room TW-C305, 445 12th St., SW.

10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property (SCIIP) will hold a hearing titled "Ensuring Artists Fair Compensation: Updating the Performance Right and Platform Parity for the 21st Century". See, notice. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

2:30 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing titled "Oversight of Telemarketing Practices and the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA)". The witnesses will be Lydia Parnes (Director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection), Richard Johnson (AARP), Joanne Faulkner, Robin Holland (Equifax), and Steve St. Clair (Assistant Attorney General, Iowa). See, notice. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division (CSD) regarding its Draft Special Publication 800-53A [PDF] titled "Guide for Assessing the Security Controls in Federal Information Systems".

Wednesday, August 1

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

9:00 AM - 1:30 PM. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host a conference titled "Lawsuits and Global Competitiveness: Is the U.S. Litigation System a Beacon or Barrier to Foreign Investment?". See, notice. Prices vary. For more information, contact Danielle Walker at 202-463-5500 or ncfevents at uschamber dot com. Location: Chamber, 1615 H St., NW.

10:00 AM. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a business meeting. It will mark up S 1000 [LOC | WW], the "Telework Enhancement Act of 2007". It will also consider the nomination of Jim Nussle to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). See, agenda [PDF]. Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.

12:30 PM. Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will give a speech. Location: Ballroom, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

2:30 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing titled "Oversight of the U.S. Department of Commerce". See, notice. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

Deadline to submit applications to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Media Bureau requests seeking preemption flexibility in connection with the children's television obligations of digital television broadcasters. See, FCC's July 27, 2007, Public Notice (DA 07-3386).

Thursday, August 2

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

9:00 AM. The House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Trade will hold a hearing titled "Legislation Related to Trade with China". See, notice. Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will meet in executive session. The agenda lists four bills, including S 781 [LOC | WW], a bill to extend the authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to collect Do-Not- Call Registry fees to fiscal years after fiscal year 2007, and S 602 [LOC | WW], the "Child Safe Viewing Act of 2007". See, notice. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

Friday, August 3

The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business. See, Rep. Hoyer's weekly calendar [PDF].

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to its requests for comments regarding its collection of information to facilitate its forecasting the number of future patent applications. See, notice in the Federal Register, June 4, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 106, at Pages 30777-30779.

Monday, August 6

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Dolby Labs v. Lucent Technologies, App. Ct. No. 2006-1583, a patent infringement case. Location: Courtroom 203, 717 Madison Place, NW.

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in PostX Corp. v. Secure Data in Motion, Inc., App. Ct. No. 2006-1565. See, Federal Circuit calendar. Location: Courtroom 201, 717 Madison Place, NW.

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Overview Books v. U.S., App. Ct. No. 2006-5138. This is an appeal from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, in a inartfully plead and argued challenge to the Library of Congress's (LOC) Cataloging in Publication (CIP) program, which discriminates against certain small publishers. See, Federal Circuit calendar. Location: Courtroom 201, 717 Madison Place, NW.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its request for comments regarding what constitutes a "near reservation" area for federal Lifeline and Link-Up support purposes. See, DA 07-1239 in CC Docket No. 96-45, and notice in the Federal Register, July 5, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 128, at Pages 36706-36708.

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