Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
September 24, 2009, Alert No. 1,988.
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Sen. Hutchison Drops Effort to Block Net Neutrality NPRM

9/23. Sen. Kay Hutchison (R-TX) dropped her effort to amend the Department of Interior appropriations bill to include a provision that prevents the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from expending funds to develop and implement new network neutrality rules, a Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) source told TLJ on September 23.

Sen. Hutchison offered this amendment in reaction to the September 21 speech [8 pages in PDF] by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in which he proposed that the FCC promulgate rules that contain network neutrality mandates. See also, story titled "Genachowski, Copps and Clyburn Back Net Neutrality Rules" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,986, September 22, 2009.

The bill is HR 2996 [LOC | WW], the "Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010", which is being considered by the Senate. The amendment is SA 2447. It would add a new section titled "PROHIBITION ON FCC REGARDING NET NEUTRALITY", providing in full that "The Federal Communications Commission shall not expend any funds from any account in fiscal year 2010 -- (1) to implement any Internet neutrality or network management principles; or (2) to promulgate any rules relating to such principles."

In addition, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski agreed to meet with Sen. Hutchison regarding the rulemaking proceeding. That meeting has not yet taken place, the SCC source told TLJ.

See also, story titled "Sen. Hutchison Offers Amendment to Appropriations Bill to Block FCC Net Neutrality Rulemaking" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,986, September 22, 2009.

Members of Congress sometimes introduce bills, or offer amendments, not for the purpose of seeing them enacted into law, but rather for the purpose of obtaining concessions in return for withdrawal. Neither Sen. Hutchison nor Genachowski disclosed what concessions, if any, the FCC Chairman made to the Senator regarding the net neutrality rulemaking proceeding.

When Members of Congress and FCC Commissioners engage in these procedures, it renders the rulemaking process less open and transparent. Genachowski stated in his September 21 speech that "I will ensure that the rulemaking process will be fair, transparent ..."

Holder Issues Memorandum on State Secrets Privilege

9/23. Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memorandum [4 pages in PDF] to the heads of executive branch departments and agencies titled "Policies and Procedures Governing Invocation of the State Secrets Privilege".

The government has a history of aggressively asserting the privilege in litigation involving warrantless wiretaps.

Eric HolderHolder (at right) stated in an associated release that "This policy is an important step toward rebuilding the public’s trust in the government’s use of this privilege while recognizing the imperative need to protect national security".

For an analysis of the significance of assertion of the state secrets privilege for the protection of privacy and liberty interests in the context of information and communications technologies, see subsection titled "TLJ Analysis" in story titled "9th Circuit Rules in State Secrets Case" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,933, April 29, 2009.

Summary of Memorandum. This memorandum primarily pertains to the Department of Justice's (DOJ) process for deciding whether or not to assert the state secrets privilege. It is merely an internal statement of policy. It confers no rights or remedies upon anyone. It does not address the tactics or arguments that the DOJ will use once it has decided to invoke the privilege. It has no effect upon judicial decisions as to whether the privilege applies, and if so, what remedy to grant the DOJ.

The memorandum states that the DOJ "will defend an assertion of the stale secrets privilege ... in litigation when a government department or agency seeking to assert the privilege makes a sufficient showing that assertion of the privilege is necessary to protect information the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause significant harm to the national defense or foreign relations" of the US.

And then, "the privilege should be invoked only to the extent necessary to protect against the risk of significant harm to national security".

The DOJ will continue to "seek to dismiss a litigant's claim or case on the basis of the state secrets privilege ... to protect against the risk of significant harm to national security".

That is, it may continue to seek dismissal of an entire case -- not just seek to prevent discovery or disclosure of what is asserted to be state secrets. This can have the effect of precluding litigants from proceeding with their claims on the basis of non-privileged evidence. It can thus be used by the government to shield it or others from liability in a manner that is unnecessary for the protection of the state secrets.

The memorandum enumerates a series of limitations on the grounds for asserting the privilege. First, the DOJ "will not defend an invocation of the privilege in order to ... conceal violations of the law, inefficiency, or administrative error".

The memorandum also states that the DOJ "will not defend an invocation of the privilege in order to ... prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency of the United States government".

Notably, nothing in these limitations precludes the DOJ from defending use of the state secrets privilege to prevent embarrassment, loss of customers, or liability to companies that assist the DOJ in conducting wiretaps or other surveillance.

DOJ Procedure for Deciding Whether or Not to Assert the Privilege. The memorandum also specifies the procedure to be followed by government agencies that want to assert the privilege in litigation being handled by the DOJ.

The memorandum also provides for the creation of an internal DOJ committee titled the "State Secrets Review Committee". This committee will make a recommendation to the Deputy Attorney General, "who shall in turn make a recommendation to the Attorney General", who will make the final decision.

The memorandum also provides that the DOJ "will provide periodic reports to appropriate oversight committees of Congress with respect to all cases in which the Department invokes the privilege on behalf of departments or agencies in litigation, explaining the basis for invoking the privilege".

Finally, the memorandum limits its likely impact on government officials, and renders it unenforceable, by stating that "This policy statement is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit. substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person."

Restraining Competition. Holder's memorandum also states that the DOJ "will not defend an invocation of the privilege in order to ... restrain competition".

This is a weak restriction, that places only minimal constraints on the government. Nevertheless, this may implicate a pertinent issue: the relation between the DOJ's invocation of the state secrets privilege in wiretap cases, and the DOJ's application of antitrust laws to the affected companies.

The networks and facilities that people use to communicate are almost entirely privately held. The owner companies are concentrated, and the trend is towards greater concentration, so that antitrust issues arise in both the merger and single firm conduct contexts. Yet, it is in the interest of the surveillance agencies that these entities be concentrated, and that competition be limited. It is much easier for surveillance agencies and the DOJ to deal with just a few cooperative companies, than to deal with hundreds of competitors.

The nightmare scenario for the DOJ would be highly competitive markets in which the numerous companies compete as to which protects the privacy and liberty interests of its customers the most, not only against snoops and hackers, but also against illegal FISA wiretaps, abusive use of national security letters (NSLs), sweeping Section 215 demands for records, and other unreasonable government wiretaps, searches and seizures.

This scenario has not occurred. Rather, companies have been providing broad surveillance support at the request of the DOJ. At the same time, DOJ antitrust regulators have not been able to spot a single significant anticompetitive issue in a telecom merger since Bernie Ebbers was running WorldCom. And, the DOJ has aggressively asserted the state secrets privilege in warrantless wiretap cases, and vigorously sought and obtained retroactive immunity by Congressional legislation for the companies involved.

Just how far the DOJ's surveillance policy goals color its competition policy actions, and how much this has restrained competition (and inhibited innovation, raised prices, and decreased privacy), are questions that DOJ and telecom company employees have consistently refused to discuss with TLJ.

Judicial Precedent. The leading recent case regarding the state secrets privilege is Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion [26 pages in PDF] on April 28, 2009, reversing the judgment of the District Court, which dismissed the complaint pursuant to the state secrets privilege. For a summary of this opinion, see story titled "9th Circuit Rules in State Secrets Case" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,933, April 29, 2009.

This case is Binyam Mohamed, et al. v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 08-15693, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, D.C. No. 5:07-CV-02798-JW

Legislation. There is also pending legislation that would affect assertion of the state secrets privilege. See, S 417 [LOC | WW], the "State Secrets Protection Act". It has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC). The bill has appeared on the SJC's markup agenda. See, story titled "Senate Judiciary Committee to Consider State Secrets Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,933, April 29, 2009. However, the SJC has not yet been marked up the bill in this Congress.

This bill is a reintroduction of S 2533 [LOC | WW] from the 110th Congress. The SJC approved that bill on August 1, 2008. However, the full Senate did not take it up. The House did not pass it.

This bill would affect how courts rule on government assertions of the state secrets privilege. It would not restrict the government's decision to assert the privilege, or specify when the privilege should be asserted.

There is also HR 984 [LOC | WW], the "State Secret Protection Act of 2009", a different bill with the same title. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced this bill on February 11, 2009. This bill too only goes to judicial resolution of claims of the privilege.

Reaction. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Chairman of the SJC, and sponsor of S 417, stated in a release that "The administration policies announced today bring a higher degree of transparency and accountability to a process previously shrouded in darkness."

Sen. Patrick LeahySen. Leahy (at right) wrote that the memorandum includes several concepts drawn S 417. "The new policy adopts the standard that the government can only assert the state secret privilege in relation to information that could cause significant harm to national security. It also increases the number of internal controls, including the creation of a new Department of Justice State Secrets Review Committee, and requires the Attorney General to personally approve the assertion of the state secrets privilege."

However, he added that "I remain especially concerned with ensuring that the government make a substantial evidentiary showing to a federal judge in asserting the privilege, and I hope the administration and the Department of Justice will continue to work with Congress to establish this requirement."

He also wrote that "History shows that where it is abused, there are serious consequences. For the aggrieved parties, it can mean that the courthouse doors are closed forever. For the American people, it can mean that they will not know the mistakes their government has made."

The Constitution Project stated in a release that it welcomes this memorandum, and that it "marks a shift in policy away from the broad assertions of secrecy previously made by both the Bush and Obama administrations". The CP still advocates enactment of legislation to "protect and clarify the role of the courts in determining whether the state secrets privilege properly applies in given cases".

The CP's Sharon Franklin stated in this release that "The Obama administration has taken a significant and commendable first step in reining in the overbroad assertions of secrecy that have too often blocked litigation of cases involving national security policies. We welcome this new policy establishing tighter standards, a thorough review process, and increased oversight by Congress and Inspectors General. However, much work remains to safeguard the role of courts in evaluating the evidence to determine the validity of the government's claim for the need for secrecy. We call on Congress to promptly pass legislation to clarify that judges, and not the executive branch, have the final say about whether disputed evidence is subject to the privilege."

Obama Gives Speech on Innovation

9/21. President Obama gave a speech in Troy, New York, in which he announced a "strategy to foster new jobs, new businesses, and new industries by laying the groundwork and the ground rules to best tap our innovative potential".

He said that "Our strategy begin where innovation so often does: in the classroom and in the laboratory -- and in the networks that connect them to the broader economy. These are the building blocks of innovation: education, infrastructure, research."

In this lengthy speech he listed numerous components of his innovation agenda, including more spending on education, FCC imposed network neutrality mandates, appointment of an executive branch Chief Technology Officer, NSF and DARPA grants for communications research, increased government subsidization of basic research, competitive markets, making permanent the R&D tax credit, reduction to zero percent of the capital gains tax on "small or startup businesses", enactment of his health care sector proposal, adoption of information technology by the health care sector, and development of a "clean energy economy" and "smarter electric grid", and a raising of fuel economy standards.

However, he did not advocate reform of immigration laws to make it easier for talented aliens to come to the U.S. to study in U.S. universities, or to start or work for innovative companies. He did not advocate Congressional approval of any pending free trade agreements, or pursuit of the Doha development agenda. He proposed that "we reform and strengthen our intellectual property system", without stating what he meant, if anything. He said nothing about litigation reform.

Education. He stated that "The ability of new industries to thrive depends on workers with the knowledge and the know-how to contribute in those fields." He continued that to further education objectives, "we've increased Pell Grants and created a simplified $2,500 tax credit for college tuition. We've made student aid applications less complicated and ensured that that aid is not based on the income of a job that you've lost." And, "We've also passed a new G.I. Bill of Rights to help soldiers coming home ..."

He said that "we're going to reform and strengthen community colleges to help an additional 5 million Americans earn degrees and certificates in the next decade".

He also referenced pending legislation to "reform the student loan system". He elaborated that "Right now, the federal government provides a subsidy to banks to get them to lend money to students." He said "That doesn't make much sense. It costs us more than $80 billion. If we just cut out the middle-man -- the banks -- and lent directly to the students, the federal government would save that money and we could use it for what's actually important -- helping students afford and succeed in college."

The bill is HR 3221 [LOC | WW], the "Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 ". The House passed it on September 17, 2009. The Senate has not passed it.

Network Neutrality Mandates. Next, he said that "another key to strengthening education, entrepreneurship, and innovation ... is to harness the full power of the Internet, and that means faster and more widely available broadband, as well as rules to ensure that we preserve the fairness and openness that led to the flourishing of the Internet in the first place."

"FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is announcing a set of principles to preserve an open Internet in which all Americans can participate and benefit. And I'm pleased that he's taking that step." See, Genachowski's September 21 speech [8 pages in PDF], and story titled "Genachowski, Copps and Clyburn Back Net Neutrality Rules" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1986, September 22, 2009.

"That's an important role that we can play, laying the ground rules to spur innovation. That's the role of government -- to provide investment that spurs innovation and also to set up common-sense ground rules to ensure that there's a level playing field for all comers who seek to contribute their innovations."

Subsidies for Basic Research. He stated that "We also have to strengthen our commitment to research, including basic research, which has been badly neglected for decades. That's always been one of the secrets of America's success -- putting more and more money into research to create the next great inventions, the great technologies that will then spur further economic growth."

He continued that "basic research doesn't always pay off immediately. It may not pay off for years. When it does, the rewards are often broadly shared, enjoyed by those who bore it -- costs but also by those who didn't pay a dime for that basic research."

"That's why the private sector generally under-invests in basic science. That's why the public sector must invest instead." He concluded by stating that "I set a goal of putting a full 3 percent of our Gross Domestic Product, our national income, into research and development".

Other Items. President Obama said that "I've proposed grants through the National Science Foundation and through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ... to explore the next communications breakthroughs, whatever they may be."

"I've appointed the first-ever chief technology officer, charged with looking at ways technology can spur innovations that help government do a better and more efficient job."

He also made the statement that "it's also essential that we have competitive and vibrant markets that promote innovation, as well. Education and research help foster new ideas, but it takes fair and free markets to turn those ideas into industries."

He asserted that "My budget finally makes the research and experimentation tax credit permanent." Actually, Presidents have made numerous budgetary proposals that include a permanent R&D tax credit. The Congress, however, continually passes laws that include temporary extensions.

He also said that "I've also proposed reducing to zero the capital gains tax for investments in small or startup businesses".

He said that it is "essential that we enforce trade laws and work with our trading partners to open up markets abroad".

Finally, he said said it is essential "that we reform and strengthen our intellectual property system". But, he said nothing further about patent reform, the various proposals for changes to copyright law, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or any other intellectual property issues.

Reaction. Robert Holleyman, head of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), stated in a release that "The innovation strategy that President Obama has set forth is aligned with what the IT sector believes the role of government should be: to set ambitious goals, create incentives for innovation and investment, create a favorable business environment, and allow companies to compete."

He continued that "We are pleased to see President Obama recognize that innovation is a main driver for improving the American economy." Holleyman added that "Pro-innovation policies are the key to our long-term future, and we are pleased to see that many of the specific elements of the President’s innovation strategy are ones that BSA members have long embraced."

Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), stated in a release that the "CEA commends President Obama for championing free markets and entrepreneurship as part of his Innovation Agenda".

Shapiro also described an innovation agenda that includes many components not in President Obama's agenda.

Shapiro said that "Innovation means attracting the best and brightest to work in the U.S., promoting free trade, and adopting sensible energy and environmental policies." Also, "innovation is achieved by entrepreneurs and is threatened, not advanced, by dangerously excessive government spending. Companies must be allowed to succeed -- or fail -- on the strength of their ideas and execution, not on the government dole."

In This Issue
This issue contains the following items:
 • Sen. Hutchison Drops Effort to Block Net Neutrality NPRM
 • Holder Issues Memorandum on State Secrets Privilege
 • Obama Gives Speech on Innovation
 • People and Appointments
 • More News
Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Thursday, September 24

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. See, Rep. Hoyer's schedule for week of September 21, and schedule for September  24.

The Senate will meet at 9:30 AM for morning business. It will then resume consideration of HR 2996 [LOC | WW], the "Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010".

9:00 AM - 4:30 PM. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Online Safety and Technology Working Group (OSTWG) will meet. See, agenda [PDF] and notice in the Federal Register, September 8, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 172, at Pages 46099-46100. Location: Department of Commerce, Room 4830, 1401 Constitution Ave., NW.

10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet will hold a hearing titled "A National Interoperable Broadband Network For Public Safety: Recent Developments". See, notice. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The House Homeland Security Committee's (HHSC) Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment will hold a hearing titled "I&A Reconceived: Defining a Homeland Security Intelligence Role". The witness will be Bart Johnson, acting Under Secretary in charge of the DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The HHSC will webcast this hearing. See, notice. Location: Room 311, Cannon Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold an executive business meeting. The agenda includes consideration of HR 985 [LOC | WW] and S 448 [LOC | WW], both titled the "Free Flow of Information Act of 2009", and S 1670 [LOC | WW], the "Satellite Television Modernization Act of 2009". The agenda also includes consideration of four U.S. Attorney nomination: Paul Fishman (District of New Jersey), Jenny Durkan (Western District of Washington), Florence Nakakuni (District of Hawaii), and Deborah Gilg (District of Nebraska). See, notice. The SJC will webcast this event. The SJC rarely follows its published agendas. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission will hold one of a series of meetings to consider staff drafts of material for its 2009 Annual Report to Congress. See, notice in the Federal Register, August 5, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 149, at Pages 39145-39146. Location: Conference Room 231, Hall of States, 444 North Capitol St., NW.

1:00 PM. The House Small Business Committee's (HSBC) Subcommittee on contracting and Technology will hold a hearing titled "The Roles of Federal Labs in Spurring Innovation and Entrepreneurship Across the U.S." Location: Room 2360, Rayburn Building.

3:00 - 4:30 PM. The House Intelligence Committee (HIC) will hold a closed hearing. The witness will be Dennis Blair (Director of National Intelligence). See, notice. Location: Room HVC-304 Conference Room 1, Capitol Building.

Day three of a three day closed event hosted by the New America Foundation (NAF) titled "Beyond Broadband Access: Data Based Information Policy for a New Administration". See, notice. Location: NAF, Suite 400, 1899 L St., NW.

Deadline to submit comments, or petitions to deny, to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the applications of Caribbean Crossings Ltd. and Trinity Communications Ltd. for transfer of control pursuant to the Submarine Cable Landing Licensing Act and Section 214 of the Communications Act. Since the Bahamas is not a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) the applicants seek an FCC determination that the Bahamas provides effective competitive opportunities to U.S. carriers. See, public notice [PDF]. It is DA 09-1856 in IB Docket No. 09-149.

Friday, September 25

The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business. See, Rep. Hoyer's schedule for week of September 21.

9:00 - 10:30 AM. The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) will host a panel discussion titled "Next-Generation Parental Controls & Child Safety Efforts". The speakers will be Adam Thierer (PFF), Stephen Balkam (Family Online Safety Institute), Steve Crown (Microsoft), and Dane Snowden (CTIA). See, notice and registration page. Location, Room H-137, Capitol Building.

10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold a workshop titled "Ten-Digit Numbering and E911 Requirements for VRS and IP Relay". See, notice. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th St., SW.

TIME AND TITLE CHANGE. 10:30 AM - 12:15 PM. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will host an event titled "End-to-End Arguments, Internet Innovation, and the Net Neutrality Debate". The speakers will be Richard Bennett (ITIF), John Day (Boston University Metropolitan College), Christopher Yoo (University of Pennsylvania law school), William Lehr (MIT), and David Farber (Carnegie Mellon University). See, notice. The ITIF will webcast this event. Light refreshments will be provided. Location: ITIF, Suite 610A, 1101 K St., NW.

12:15 - 1:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "The Role of In-House Counsel". The speakers will be Eric Einhorn (Windstream Communications), Jerald Fritz (Allbritton Communications), Cristina Pauze (Time Warner Cable), and Richard Whitt (Google). For more information, contact Micah Caldwell at mcaldwell at fh-law dot com or Evan Morris at emorri05 at harris dot com. Location: Harris Corporation, Suite 650E, 600 Maryland Ave., SW.

12:30 - 2:00 PM. The New America Foundation (NAF) will host a brown bag lunch titled "Broadband Competition Policy Broadband Competition Policy: How Much Regulation is Enough?" The speakers will be Ben Scott (Free Press), Everett Ehrlich (ESC Company), Mark Cooper (Consumer Federal of America), Robert Atkinson (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation), and Michael Calabrese (NAF). See, notice. Drinks, but not lunch, will be provided. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the recommendations of its World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee (WRC-11 Advisory Committee). See, public notice [2 pages in PDF], Attachment 1 [54 pages in PDF], and Attachment 2 [18 pages in PDF]. It is DA 09-1994 in IB Docket No. 04-286.

Sunday, September 27

Yom Kippur begins at sundown.

Monday, September 28

Yom Kippur.

9:00 - 10:30 AM. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will host an event titled "Benchmarking Leading Countries' National Innovation Policies". The speakers will be Rob Atkinson (ITIF), Stephen Ezell (ITIF), Debra Amidon (Entovation International) and Peter Westerstråhle (government of Finland). See, notice. The ITIF will webcast this event. Location: ITIF, 1101 K St., NW.

12:00 NOON - 1:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Diversity Committee will host a brown bag lunch for planning purposes. For more information, contact Edgar Class at eclass at wileyrein dot com or 202-719-7504. Location: Wiley Rein, Conference Room 9E, 1750 K St., NW.

EXTENDED TO OCTOBER 16. Deadline to submit reply comments to the Copyright Office regarding its proposed rules regarding registration of copyright in online works. See, original notice in the Federal Register, July 15, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 134, at Pages 34286-34290, and extension notice in the Federal Register, September 22, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 182, at Page 48191. See also, story titled "Copyright Office Proposes New Rules for Registration of Online Only Works" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,970, July 15, 2009.

Tuesday, September 29

Opening conference of the Supreme Court, October Term 2009. See, Supreme Court calendar.

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. The Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS) and MOFCOM's High Technology Working Group (HTWG) will meet. At 1:30 - 3:00 PM there will be a panel on information technology. See, agenda. Location: Ronald Reagan International Trade Center.

1:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will host an event titled "open meeting". The agenda [PDF] includes a staff report on the status of the FCC drafting of document titled "National Broadband Plan". See also, revised notice released on September 22. For more information, contact Jen Howard at 202-418-0506 or jen dot howard at fcc dot gov. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th St., SW.

6:00 - 9:15 PM. The DC Bar Association will host an event titled "How to Protect and Enforce Trademark Rights". The speakers will be Shauna Wertheim (Marbury Law Group) and Steven Hollman (Hogan & Hartson). The price to attend ranges from $89 to $129. Most DC Bar events are not open to the public. This event qualifies for continuing legal education (CLE) credits. See, notice. For more information, call 202-626-3488. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, 1101 K St., NW.

Wednesday, September 30

9:00 AM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an event titled "Workshop: Cyber Security". See, FCC web page related to the drafting of a document titled "National Broadband Plan". Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th St., SW.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold a hearing titled "Advancing Freedom of Information in the New Era of Responsibility". The witnesses will be Thomas Perrelli (Associate Attorney General), Miriam Nisbet (National Archives and Records Administration), Tom Curley (AP), and Meredith Fuchs (National Security Archive). The SJC will webcast this event. See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

2:30 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee's (SJC) Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts will hold a hearing titled "Responding to the Growing Need for Federal Judgeships: The Federal Judgeship Act of 2009". See, notice. The SJC will webcast this event. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

Scheduled date for the Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Transportation's (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to approve and announce grant awards under under the E-911 grant program authorized by the ENHANCE 911 Act. See, notice in the Federal Register, June 5, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 107, at Pages 26965-26981, and story titled "NTIA and NHTSA Publish E-911 Grant Program Rules" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,949, June 5, 2009.

Deadline to submit to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominations for membership on its Technological Advisory Council (TAC). See, notice in the Federal Register, September 8, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 172, at Pages 46198-46199.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division (CSD) regarding its draft SP 800-81 Rev. 1 [118 pages in PDF] titled "Secure Domain Name System (DNS) Deployment Guide".

Thursday, October 1

8:30 AM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS) Emerging Technology and Research Advisory Committee (ETRAC) will hold a partially closed meeting. See, notice in the Federal Register, September 16, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 178, at Page 47558. Location: DOC, Room 4830, 14th St. between Pennsylvania and Constitution Aves., NW.

10:00 AM. The House Science Committee's (HSC) Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation will hold a hearing titled "The Department of Homeland Security’s R&D Priorities for Fiscal Year 2010". The HSC will webcast this hearing. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.

2:30 PM. The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Bureau of Economics will host a presentation by Kate Ho (Columbia). She has published papers on health care markets. Location: FTC, ground floor Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW.

Effective date of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rules changes that allow AM stations to use currently authorized FM translators for fill-in service within their current coverage areas. See, notice in the Federal Register, September 1, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 168, at Pages 45126-45131.

People and Appointments

9/15. Bruce Sewell joined Apple as General Counsel and SVP, Legal and Governmental Affairs. He was previously General Counsel and SVP of Intel. He will replace Daniel Cooperman who will retire at the end of September. See, Apple release.

More News

9/23. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Public Notice [PDF] that requests public comments regarding "the sufficiency of current spectrum allocations in spectrum bands, including but not limited to the prime spectrum bands below 3.7 GHz". This is to aid the FCC in drafting its "National Broadband Plan". The deadline to submit initial comments is October 23, 2009. The deadline to submit reply comments is November 13, 2009. This item is DA 09-2100 in GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, and 09-137.

9/23. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) announced in a release that they will extend the trial period for the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program for one year. The current PPH pilot program is scheduled to end on September 29, 2009.

9/23. The House passed without amendment by voice vote HR 3593 [LOC | WW], an untitled bill to amend the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 to extend by one year the operation of Radio Free Asia.

9/21. Dell and Perot Systems announced in a release that they "have entered a definitive agreement for Dell to acquire Perot Systems in a transaction valued at approximately $3.9 billion."

9/23. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil complaint in the U.S. District Court (NDTex) against Reza Saleh alleging violation of federal securities laws in connection with his trading of Perot Systems call options contracts just before and after Dell and Perot Systems announced that Dell would acquire Perot Systems. The SEC stated in a release that "Saleh made increasingly large purchases of Perot Systems call options contracts based on material, non-public information that he learned in the course of his employment with, or duties for, two Perot-related private companies and Perot Systems. Immediately following the tender offer announcement on Monday, September 21, Saleh sold all of the call option contracts in the accounts and reaped approximately $8.6 million in illicit profits."

9/22. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a paper [63 pages in PDF] titled "Explaining International IT Application Leadership: Health Care". It advocates adoption of heath care information technology, and provides comparative data on health care IT adoption for some developed countries.

9/21. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a paper [18 pages in PDF] titled "Driving a Digital Recovery: IT Investments in the G-20 Stimulus Plans". It is premised on the assumption that government spending increases economic output and employment. It asserts that "spurring investments in digital infrastructure can have a greater positive impact on job creation, while at the same time laying the groundwork for increases in productivity, innovation, and quality of life". Moreover, it argues that "investing in certain types of IT infrastructure offers superior job creation benefits in part because it creates a ``network effect.´´" And, it argues that there are greater network effects associated with "bringing broadband to underserved or unserved areas", than in "expanding a mature network using relatively mature technology".

9/16. The House amended and passed HR 3246 [LOC | WW], the "Advanced Vehicle Technology Act" by a vote of 312-114. See, Roll Call No. 709. This bill authorizes the appropriation of nearly $3 Billion over five years for numerous types of automobile and truck related research and development. This bill recites in its findings that "The integration of vehicle, communication, and infrastructure technologies has great potential for efficiency gains through better management of the total transportation system." It authorizes numerous types of research, including research regarding "communication and connectivity among vehicles, infrastructure, and the electrical grid".

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