|ITIF Argues for Economic Stimulus
Spending on IT Infrastructure
1/7. The Information Technology and
Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a
paper [22 pages
in PDF] titled "The Digital Road to Recovery: A Stimulus Plan to
Create Jobs, Boost Productivity and Revitalize America". The authors
are the ITIF's Robert Atkinson, Daniel Castro, and Stephen Ezell.
This paper argues that government spending is an effective strategy
during an economic downturn. It also argues that spending on bridges is
necessary and important. But, the ITIF argues that government spending on
"national information technology (IT) infrastructure ... will have a
greater positive impact on jobs, productivity, and innovation." It
further argues for spending on "infrastructure investments"
rather than on "consumption".
It states that "Investments in America's digital infrastructure
will spur significant job creation in the short run." It advocates
government spending on broadband networks, health IT, and a smart power
This paper also argues that government spending on digital infrastructure
will create a network effect, or network externality, that will offer superior
job creation benefits because of the network multiplier.
This paper also argues that spending on digital infrastructure "will lead to
higher productivity, increased competitiveness, and improved quality of life in
the moderate to long term".
This paper mentions the possibility of a "$10 billion of investment in 1 year
in broadband networks". It suggests that this could be accomplished with "tax
incentives, grants, or other means".
This paper further argues that the government should focus on three broadband
goals: "(1) getting broadband to unserved areas; (2) expanding network speeds in
areas currently served by first-generation broadband (3 Mbps or less); and (3)
spurring increased adoption of broadband by households." (Parentheses in
For unserved areas, the ITIF suggests "tax credits of between 30 to 60
percent" and "$5 billion in grants".
For expanding network speeds, the ITIF proposes "incremental tax credits of
20 percent for investments in networks supporting speeds of at least 20 Mbps and
40 percent for investments supporting speeds of at least 50 Mbps. In order to
ensure that these incentives actually spur additional investment, the credits
should apply only to capital expenditures that exceed 85 percent of 2008 capital
expenditures for companies."
The ITIF adds that there should also be grant funding "to upgrade networks
for schools, libraries, hospitals, and government buildings".
This paper concludes that "With the U.S. economy now mired in a deep, and
potentially prolonged, recession, increased investment is one of the best tools
to stimulate aggregate demand and quickly get American workers back on payrolls.
Spurring investments in IT infrastructure not only can provide an important
short-term boost to the U.S. economy; it also can lay the groundwork for
long-term economic growth, international competitiveness, and significant
improvement in Americans' quality of life." (Footnote omitted.)
|CCIA Releases IT
Recommendations for Obama Transition
1/7. The Computer and Communications
Industry Association (CCIA) released a
paper [20 pages in PDF] that offers recommendations to President elect Obama's transition team
regarding technology policy. This is a twenty page wish list of
changes to statutes, regulations, and agency goals and policies across many
areas of law and policy.
The CCIA advocates the pursuit of network neutrality policies
through FCC rulemaking, FCC adjudication, Congressional legislation, and
actions by antitrust agencies. The CCIA also advocates changes to both patent
and copyright law and policy. It also advocates freedom from government
censorship and internet spying in the U.S. and P.R.C.
Network Neutrality. The CCIA paper advocates "rules to maintain
With respect to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the CCIA
advocates appointing Commissioners who "support strong enforcement and promotion
of open Internet principles and would prohibit network discrimination based on
source, ownership, or content".
The CCIA urges the FCC to then "Issue regulations that codify its ``Four
Freedoms´´ of an open Internet along with prohibition of unreasonably
discriminatory network management practices", and adopt "strict consumer
disclosure rules involving network management practices".
This paper also urges the Obama administration to support Congressional
It also urges the FCC to implement its plan for unlicensed use of white
spaces. See, story titled "FCC Adopts White Space Order" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 1,852, November 4, 2008.
The CCIA also looks forward to changes in personnel and policy at the
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the
Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust
Division. The paper states that the CCIA want these agencies to promote "an
open Internet through vigorous use of pro-competition and consumer protection
Patents. The CCIA paper advocates numerous changes to patent law.
It advocates reintroduction of the Patent Reform Act. In the 110th Congress,
the Senate Judiciary
Committee (SJC) approved S 1145 [LOC |
the "Patent Reform Act of 2007", on July 19, 2007. However, the full Senate did
not approve the bill. The related bill in the House was HR 1908 [LOC |
also titled the "Patent Reform Act of 2007". The House passed that bill on
September 7, 2007, by a vote of 220-175. See,
Call No. 863.
The CCIA paper also proposes the creation of "a politically insulated unit within the Office
to research innovation economics and patent policy, in order to support informed
policy development." The paper does not elaborate on the concept of political insulation.
The paper also proposes an initial agenda for this USPTO policy office. It
should "Explore making patent practice transparent by requiring patent owners to
register with PTO any assignments, licenses, and notice letters as a
prerequisite to enforcing patents and accruing damages." It should also
"Evaluate the benefits of an independent invention/innocent infringement defense
to patent infringement". Finally, it should evaluate "raising the threshold
standard of patentability" in IT.
The CCIA paper also advocates creation of an interagency task force that
would consider ways to "protect open standards against predatory patenting and
This task force would include the FTC, which has suffered
setbacks in its efforts in this area. See, April 22, 2008,
opinion [24 pages in PDF] of the
U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) in Rambus v. FTC, and
titled "Court of Appeals Rules in Rambus v. FTC" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 1,752, April 23, 2008.
Copyright. The CCIA paper makes numerous recommendations regarding
It states that "It is time to modernize the current
international copyright scheme, which predates the current era of Web 2.0 and
the participatory Internet."
It also states that the "FTC should conduct hearings and publish
a similar study on competition and copyright law and policy in the information
In 2003 the FTC released a landmark study on patent law, titled
"To Promote Innovation: The Proper Balance of Competition and Patent Law and
Executive Summary [18 pages in PDF] and
Report [2.28 MB in
PDF]. See also, story titled "FTC Releases Report on Competition and Patent Law"
in TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 768, October 29, 2003.
The CCIA paper urges Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) to
"Suspend negotiations" on the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
See, story titled "OUSTR Holds Meeting Regarding ACTA" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 1,830, September 23, 2008.
Surveillance and Censorship. The CCIA paper also contains numerous
recommendations related to surveillance, internet censorship, privacy and
The paper recommends that "When legislation connected to the PATRIOT Act
expires in 2009, checks and balances on government surveillance should be
It also proposes that there be an investigation into the "extent and scope of
It further urges the Obama administration to impose limits on the exercise of
surveillance authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The CCIA paper also argues that the FCC should ban network operators from
using deep packet inspection (DPI) technology unless an end user agrees to opt
The CCIA also wants the U.S. to work to "guarantee freedom of
expression" around the world, and treat government censorship of internet speech
as a trade barrier".
The paper cites the People's Republic of China's (PRC) censoring
of "domestic Internet access to legitimate sites and services", and urges the
OUSTR to complain to the World Trade Organization
(WTO) about this.
Other Items. The CCIA urges the Congress to make the research and
development tax credit permanent, increase the annual cap on H1B visas, extend
trade promotion authority to the President, and approve the U.S. Korea free
The CCIA also seeks a "more targeted and efficient export control regime".
The CCIA wants the Department of Commerce (DOC) to create an Office of
The CCIA also advocates various e-government initiatives that "bring greater
openness and transparency to the government".
|AAI Submits Antitrust
Recommendations to Obama Transition
12/10. The American
Antitrust Institute (AAI) released a
paper [2 pages in PDF] to the Obama transition team regarding antitrust
This paper primarily concerns the Federal
Trade Commission (FTC), but also touches on the Department of Justice's
(DOJ) Antitrust Division.
The AAI often advocates the interests of the plaintiffs antitrust bar,
and activist roles for government regulators.
This paper complains that the antitrust activities of the FTC have been
limited by "ideological (read: Chicago School) blinders".
(Parentheses in original.)
However, it recommends that "Unlike the Antitrust Division, there is no need
for dramatic or immediate change" at the FTC. Rather, it states that the FTC
should become "more progressive ... incrementally".
It urges the FTC "to continue their exploration of bundled rebates,
standards setting problems ... and development of the law at the
intersection between intellectual property rights and antitrust policy ..."
The paper also urges regulators to "take a more aggressive approach to mergers".
It also argues that the "administrative adjudication process should be revitalized. There should not
be a movement toward a single approach based on the DOJ model."
The DOJ, pursuant to its statutory authority, files actions in the District
Court to block or condition mergers. The FTC recently, in the Whole Foods case,
reasserted its authority to block mergers by administrative orders, without
having to obtain an order of the District Court. Whole Foods has filed a
complaint in the U.S. District Court (DC) to stop the FTC. See, story titled "Whole
Foods Files Complaint Against FTC" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,871, December
The AAI paper also criticizes the Supreme Court's opinion in Leegin. This
case, which pertains to resale price maintenance, impacts the
marketing of consumer electronics devices. See, June 28, 2007,
[55 pages in PDF] of the Supreme Court
of the U.S. (SCUS) in Leegin Creative Leather Products v. PSKS.
The AAI paper states that "The FTC should take a lead in developing a
structured rule of reason approach wherever per se illegality does not apply,
with a special need for reforming the handling of RPM in light of the Leegin
case. Indeed, the consumer harm caused by Leegin is sufficiently great to
warrant proposing legislative reform as part of an overall stimulus/bailout
See also, story titled "SCUS Holds That All Vertical Price
Restraints Are Subject to Rule of Reason" in
E-Mail Alert No. 1,603, June 28, 2007.
The AAI also released a
table [17 pages in PDF] that summarizes the proposals for antitrust reform
offered by the AAI, the Antitrust Modernization Commission (AMC), and by the
American Bar Association (ABA).
The AMC and the AAI are seeking to move antitrust law and policy in opposite
directions. See also, story titled "Antitrust Modernization Commission Releases
Report" in TLJ
Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,560, April 4, 2007.
On October 6, 2008, the AAI released a
report titled "The Next Antitrust Agenda: The American Antitrust Institute's
Transition Report on Competition Policy to the 44th President".
On January 26, 2009, the AAI and the
Silicon Flatirons Center (SFC)
will host a conference in Boulder, Colorado, titled "Antitrust Law
for the New Administration". See, AAI
notice and SFC
This issue contains five stories regarding IT
policy recommendations for the Obama administration:
• ITIF Argues for Economic Stimulus Spending on IT Infrastructure
• CCIA Releases IT Recommendations for Obama Transition
• AAI Submits Antitrust Recommendations to Obama Transition
• CDT Releases IT Policy Proposals for Obama Administration
• CSIS Urges Obama Administration to Mandate Authentication on
|Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
The House and Senate will meet in joint session at 1:00 PM to
conduct the formality of counting electoral votes for President. See, Rep.
schedule for week of January 5, 2009.
RESCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 15.
9:30 AM. The
Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) may hold a hearing on the likely
Eric Holder to be Attorney General in the Obama administration. The SJC
will webcast this hearing. Location? See,
10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of
Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Narton v. Schukra USA,
App. Ct. No. 2008-1363. This is an appeal to the U.S. District Court (EDMich)
in a patent infringement case involving the issue of lack of standing to sue
based upon failure of all inventors to be named on a patent and to join in the
suit. Location: Courtroom 402, 717 Madison Place, NW.
10:30 - 11:45 AM. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman
Kevin Martin will give a speech titled "Balancing Deregulation and
Consumer Protection". See,
notice. Location: American Enterprise
Institute, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding
implementation of S 3663 [LOC
WW], "Short-term Analog Flash and Emergency Readiness Act". The FCC
adopted and released this
NPRM [21 pages in PDF] on December 24, 2008. It is FCC 08-281in MB Docket
No. 08-255. See,
notice in the Federal Register, December 31, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 251, at
The House may meet at 10:00 AM. See, Rep. Hoyer's
schedule for week of January 5, 2009.
10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of
Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in RFID Tracker v. Wal-Mart
Stores, App. Ct. No. 2008-1412. Location: Courtroom 402, 717 Madison
12:00 - 1:30 PM. Google and the
New America Foundation (NAF) will
host a panel discussion titled "Wiki White House: Can Obama Use Technology
to Transform Government?". The speakers will be Craig Newmark (Craigslist),
Mindy Finn (former Director of E-Strategy for Mitt Romney for President),
Ellen Miller (Sunlight Foundation), Sascha Meinrath (NAF), and Nicholas
Thompson (NAF). The NAF states in its
for this event that it is full. Location: Google, 1101 New York Ave., NW.
12:30 - 2:30 PM. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Homeland
Security Advisory Council (HSAC) will hold a closed meeting. See,
notice in the
December 30, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 250, at Pages 79894-79895. Location: DHS,
Nebraska Avenue Complex.
Effective date of the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO)
rules of practice amendments that adjust the transmittal and search fees for
international applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
See, notice in
the Federal Register, November 12, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 219, at Pages
Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) in response to its Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule
Making (2ndFNPRM) regarding rules to protect AM stations from the potential
effects of nearby tower construction. The FCC adopted this 2ndFNPRM on
September 24, 2008, and released the
text [28 pages in PDF] on September 26, 2008. It is FCC 08-228 in MM
Docket No. 93-177. See,
notice in the
Federal Register, December 11, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 239, at Pages 75376-75381.
Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)
regarding creating a new replacement digital television translator service
that will permit full service television stations to continue to provide
service to viewers within their coverage area who have lost service as a
result of those stations' digital transition. The FCC adopted this item on
December 22, 2008, and released the
text [14 pages in PDF] on December 23, 2009. It is FCC 08-278 in MB Docket
No. 08-253. See,
notice in the Federal Register, January 2, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 1, at Pages
8:00 - 10:00 AM. The BroadbandCensus dot com [http colon slash slash
broadbandcensus dot com] will host a breakfast event titled "What Will
Broadband Do to the Universal Service Fund?" The speakers will include
Greg Rhode (E-Copernicus/E9-1-1 Institute). For more information, contact Drew
Clark at drew at broadbandcensus dot com or 202-580-8196. Breakfast begins at
8:00 AM. The program begins at 8:40 AM. The price to attend these monthly
events is $45. These events are open to the public. Location:
Old Ebbitt Grill, 675 15th St., NW.
9:00 - 10:30 AM. The
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will host panel
discussion titled "Globalization and Technology Standards: The Case for
Expanded U.S. Leadership". The speakers will be Rob Atkinson (ITIF),
Donald Purcell (Center for Global Standard Analysis), Jeff Weiss (Office of
the U.S. Trade Representative), and Mary Saunders (Department of Commerce). A
light breakfast will be served. Location: ITIF, Suite 200, 1250 Eye St., NW.
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)
Advisory Committee for the 2011 World Radiocommunication Conference will
meet. See, notice
in the Federal Register: December 22, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 246, at Page 78358.
Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th St., SW.
12:15 - 1:30 PM. The
Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA)
Mass Media Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "Understanding
BIA/Arbitron Reports and the Local Radio Ownership Rule". The speakers
will be Mark Fratrik (BIA Financial Network), John Pelkey (Garvey Schubert
Barer), and Bill Getz (Carl T. Jones Corp.). See,
notice and registration page. Location: National Association of
Broadcasters, 1771 N St., NW.
5:00 - 7:00 PM. The Center for Democracy and
Technology's (CDT) Internet Caucus will host a reception and technology
demonstration associated with its January 14 event titled "State of the Net
8:30 AM. The Center for Democracy and
Technology's (CDT) Internet Caucus will host an event titled "State of
the Net Conference". See,
notice. Location: Hyatt
Regency Capitol Hill.
10:00 - 11:00 AM. Chris Essid, Director of the Department of Homeland
Office of Emergency Communications will give a speech on "latest news and
developments on public safety communications and related initiatives". See,
notice. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, TW-C305.
RESCHEDULED FROM JANUARY 8. 9:30 AM. The
Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC)
may hold a hearing on the likely nomination of Eric Holder to be
Attorney General in the Obama administration. See,
notice. The SJC will webcast this hearing. Location: Room 325, Russell
5:00 PM. Deadline to submit applications to the
National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA) for a grant for the Pan-Pacific Education and
Communications Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT) Program. See,
notice in the Federal Register, December 5, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 235, at
|CSIS Urges Obama
Administration to Mandate Authentication on
12/8. The Center for Strategic and
International Studies' (CSIS) Commission
on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency released a
report [96 pages in PDF] titled "Securing Cyberspace for the 44th
It states that "cybersecurity is now a major national security problem". It
recommends a "comprehensive national security strategy for cyberspace" that
includes "creating a new office for cyberspace in the Executive Office of the
It suggests the name, "National Office for Cyberspace".
The CSIS recommends that "The President should appoint an assistant
for cyberspace and establish a Cybersecurity Directorate" in the National
Security Council (NSC) that absorbs existing Homeland Security Counsel (HSC)
It also recommends the merging of the National Cyber Security Center and the Joint Inter-Agency Cyber
It adds that the government should "set minimum standards for securing cyberspace".
Moreover, the government should
"mandate strong authentication for access to critical infrastructure".
It also recommends that the Congress should "update" cyber security statutes.
This paper's proposal to mandate authentication may raise
concerns about government use of personal information and the
creation of a centralized identity system or card.
Authentication enables the collection of information on individuals.
While it addresses some security threats, it can create new risks.
|About Tech Law
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Copyright 1998-2008 David Carney. All rights reserved.