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Monday, April 9, 2012, Alert No. 2,366.
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BLS Employment Data Shows Downward Trend in Communications and Upward Trend in IT

4/6. The Department of Labor's (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released employment data for the U.S. for the month of March, 2012.

The BLS stated in a release that "Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.2 percent".

Table B-1 attached to the report reveals employment trends in various industry sectors, including information and communications technology (ICT).

The data for some older communications and publishing industries shows a continuing decrease in total employment, which may be considered bleak from the perspective of promoting full employment, but bright from the perspective of increasing efficiency.

The ongoing downward trend in employment in telecommunications equipment manufacturing continues. The downward trend in telecommunications services is even sharper. Employment in non-internet publishing also continues to decline.

See, table below, and tables in stories titled "Bureau of Labor Statistics Reports on Overall and ICT Employment" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,281, August 6, 2011, and "BLS Reports on Employment" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,171, December 7, 2010.

The impact of the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA, and the impact of the blocking of that merger, on employment has been hotly debated. The BLS data shows, in the least, that employment in telecommunications services overall was down sharply in March, down sharply from one year ago. Morever, BLS data shows that this is part of a long run trend.

Communications companies are providing more and better services, with fewer employees, with advancing technologies. However, nothing in BLS data enables one to separate out the effects of technological innovation and industry consolidation on efficiency and employment.

TLJ asked the BLS about this. A BLS spokesman responded, "BLS does not comment on the reasons for employment change".

Employment in non-internet broadcasting was up in March, but down slightly from a year ago. The longer term trend is downwards.

Employment in the movie and record industries was down in March, but about even with one year ago.

Employment in IT sectors is growing. Employment in manufacturing of both computers and peripherals, and semiconductors, were almost unchanged from one month ago, but up slightly from one year ago.

Employment in both "Other information services" and "Computer systems design" are up for the month, up for the year, and continue a longer term trend.

Legal employment was down slightly in March, but up slightly from one year ago.

The table below contains ICT related excerpts from the BLS table titled "Table B-1. Employees on nonfarm payrolls by industry sector and selected industry detail". This is the seasonally adjusted data.

Table: Total Number of Employees in Thousands by ICT Industry Sector
  March
2011
Jan.
2012
Feb.
2012
March
2012
Manufacturing:        
  Computer & peripheral equipment 157.1 162.4 162.7 163.0
  Communication equipment 116.1 111.1 111.0 111.1
  Semiconductors & electronic comp. 381.2 387.0 387.7 387.5
  Electronic instruments 405.0 402.0 401.1 402.8
Information Services:        
  Publishing industries, except Internet 749.6 741.6 740.8 740.2
  Motion picture & sound recording 362.4 352.3 370.7 362.8
  Broadcasting, except Internet 283.0 280.4 279.8 282.7
  Telecommunications 882.1 847.0 841.2 837.6
  Data processing, hosting & related serv. 243.1 240.6 241.2 240.6
  Other information services 151.1 166.3 166.9 168.2
Professional Services:        
  Legal services 1,114.3 1,117.5 1,117.7 1,116.4
  Computer systems design & related serv. 1,509.9 1,558.8 1,570.0 1,573.9
Source: BLS, April 2012 employment report, Table B-1.

BLS Table B-1 contains detail on employment by industry sector. The BLS also released tables that contain detail on employment by demographic characteristics, such as race, sex, age, disability status, and educational attainment. (See, Tables A-1 through A-7.)

However, these tables do not enable one to examine employment by both demographic characteristic (such as race) and by industry sector.

The BLS does release limited data on employment by sector and sex, but not by race.

Allegations of Race Discrimination at Tech Companies

4/9. The web site titled "Online IT Degree" published a short piece titled "Is Tech Racist" last July. It is a short collection of graphics, with little text. It states that "It's one of the world's most rapidly growing industries, and yet from where it starts in Silicon Valley to where it ends in the hands of consumers, technology presents an irreconcilable flaw: It seems to be racist."

This piece states that the Silicon Valley "employment population" is 1.5% black and 4.7% black, while the overall U.S. population is 12.8% black and 15.4% hispanic.

This piece also refers to HP's "face tracking" technology. It also states that "Microsoft patented an app dubbed ``avoid ghetto.". This piece states that the "app's purpose" is "Helping pedestrians navigate around black neighborhoods".

This piece also quotes briefly from a self published article by Andrew Wilson titled "Workers Leaving the Googleplex" that states that Google has a class of workers, with its own badge color and restricted set of privileges, that is "mostly people of color".

Also, the Minority Media & Telecom Council's (MMTC) Tiffany Bain wrote an article titled "Is the Tech Industry Biased Against Minorities?" which the MMTC published in its web site on April 8, 2012. This article discusses, among other things, Wilson's article.

Wilson stated in his July 2011 article that he previously worked jointly for Google and Transvideo Studios, which had a contract to do video production for Google at its headquarters in Mountain View, California.

He related that Google has white badges for full time employees, red badges for contractors, and green badges for interns. He then wrote that "a fourth class exists at Google that involves strictly data-entry labor, or more appropriately, the labor of digitizing. These workers are identifiable by their yellow badges, and they go by the team name ScanOps. They scan books, page by page, for Google Book Search".

"Most of them are people of color and are supposedly involved in the labor of digitizing information. Im interested in issues of class, race, and labor". He continued that he "found it interesting that these workers, who perform labor similar to that of many red-badge contractors, such as software engineers, custodians, security guards, etc., are mostly people of color and cannot eat Google meals, take the shuttle, ride a bike, or step foot anywhere else on campus."

He relates that he also attempted to interview some of these workers, but was stopped, and that he twice videotaped them leaving work at the end of their shift.

He stated also that he was terminated after he videotaped these workers.

He did not disclose that Google also had a non-race related reason for blocking his access to these workers, and for separating the books program from other Google activities. There is major ongoing copyright infringement litigation against Google arising out of its books program.

Strickling Writes FCC Regarding FirstNet

4/3. Lawrence Strickling, head of the Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the establishment of a "First Responder Network Authority", as required by the spectrum bill enacted in February of this year.

Lawrence StricklingStrickling (at right) wrote that the DOC and NTIA "are working to implement the Act's directives as expeditiously as possible.

He added that "we encourage the Commission to work with dispatch to reallocate the D Block spectrum and prepare the 700 MHz spectrum license for grant to FirstNet as soon as possible. NTIA will notify you when FirstNet is prepared to accept the Commission's grant of the 700 MHz license."

Rep. Engel Again Introduces Bill to Regulate Prepaid Calling Card Disclosures

3/29. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduced HR 4319 [LOC | WW], the "Calling Card Consumer Protection Act".

This bill provides that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "shall promulgate regulations that require prepaid calling card providers and prepaid calling card distributors to accurately disclose the terms and conditions applicable to prepaid calling cards".

This bill states that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may also regulate prepaid calling card disclosures. It also provides for enforcement of the FCC's rules by the FCC and by states. It also preempts state statutes that are not identical to the FCC's rules.

Rep. Eliot EngelRep. Engel (at right) stated in a release that "This bill will put a stop to the deceptive practices of unscrupulous prepaid calling card providers, who have been costing consumers and the industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year".

He added that "I learned of these fraudulent practices after hearing numerous complaints from constituents whose cards did not provide the number of minutes advertised. Calling card fraud harms those who are among the most vulnerable; poor, minority, and immigrant populations as well as our military serving overseas".

Rep. Engel sponsored a similar bill in the 111th Congress. See, HR 3993 [LOC | WW], the "Calling Card Consumer Protection Act". He also sponsored a similar bill in the 110th Congress. See, HR 3402 [LOC | WW].

Rep. Engel introduced HR 3993 (111th Congress) on November 3, 2009. The HCC's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection held a hearing the next day. The Subcommittee amended and approved the bill on March 24, 2010. The full Committee amended and approved the bill on May 5, 2010. The House passed it on June 23, 2010, by a vote of 381-41. See, Roll Call No. 383. All of the no votes were cast by Republicans.

The Senate did not pass that bill. The related bill in the Senate in the 111th Congress was S 562 [LOC | WW], titled the "Prepaid Calling Card Consumer Protection Act of 2009".

See also, story titled "House Subcommittee Approves Calling Card Consumer Protection Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,065, March 25, 2010.

More News

4/6. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a tentative agenda of its event on April 27, 2012 titled "Open Meeting".

4/5. President Obama signed into law HR 3606 [LOC | WW], the "Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act", a bill to reduce regulatory barriers to capital formation by small and start up companies. See, White House news office release. It is now Public Law No. 112-106.

4/3. The Media Access Project (MAP) announced that it will suspend its operations effective May 1, 2012.

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In This Issue
This issue contains the following items:
  BLS Employment Data Shows Downward Trend in Communications and Upward Trend in IT
  Allegations of Race Discrimination at Tech Companies
  Strickling Writes FCC Regarding FirstNet
  Rep. Engel Again Introduces Bill to Regulate Prepaid Calling Card Disclosures
  More News
Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Monday, April 9

The House will not meet on the week of Monday, April 2, through Friday, April 6, or on the week of Monday, April 9, through Friday, April 13, except for pro forma sessions.

The Senate will not meet on the week of Monday, April 2, through Friday, April 6, or on the week of Monday, April 9, through Friday, April 13, except for pro forma sessions.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host an on site and teleconferenced panel discussion titled "Navigating the Landmines of Data Security Breaches: Practical Lessons Learned in Unearthing, Disarming, and Avoiding Cyber Threats and Digital Disasters". The speakers will be Lucy Thomson (CSC), Kimberly Peretti (Price Waterhouse Coopers), Robin Campbell (Crowell & Moring), and David Bodenheimer (Crowell & Moring). The price is $15. No CLE credits. See, notice. Location: Crowell & Moring, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to its request for comments regarding its practice guide for the proposed trial rules to advise the public on the general framework of the proposed regulations, including the structure and times for taking action in each of the new proceedings. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 27, Thursday, February 9, 2012, at Pages 6868-6879.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding rules of practice to implement the provisions of the Leahy Smith America Invents Act that provide for trials before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 27, Thursday, February 9, 2012, at Pages 6879-6914.

Tuesday, April 10

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. The American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), and American Bar Association (ABA) will host an event titled "USPTO Design Day". Free. See, notice and registration page. Location: Madison Auditorium, USPTO, 600 Dulaney St., Alexandria, VA.

1:00 - 2:30 PM EST. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast panel discussion titled "Piracy Update: IPR Center Strategies and Successes". The speakers will be Lev Kubiak (Director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center) and Alexandra Darraby (The Art Law Firm). Prices vary. CLE credits. See, notice.

CANCELLED. 6:00 - 7:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Commendations and Acknowledgements and Young Lawyers Committees will host an event titled "Mentoring Panel and Networking Reception: Reflections on a Career in Communications Law". Location: Drinker Biddle & Reath, 2nd floor, 1500 K St., NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding creation, pursuant to the Leahy Smith America Invents Act, of a new derivation proceeding to be conducted before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 28, Friday, February 10, 2012, at Pages 7028-7041.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding creation, pursuant to the Leahy Smith America Invents Act, of a new inter partes review proceeding to be conducted before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 28, Friday, February 10, 2012, at Pages 7041-7060.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding creation, pursuant to the Leahy Smith America Invents Act, of a new post grant review proceeding to be conducted before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 28, Friday, February 10, 2012, at Pages 7060-7080.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding creation, pursuant to the Leahy Smith America Invents Act, of a new transitional post grant review proceeding for covered business method patents to be conducted before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 28, Friday, February 10, 2012, at Pages 7080-7095.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding regulations for determining whether a patent is for a technological invention in a transitional post grant review proceeding for covered business method patents. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 28, Friday, February 10, 2012, at Pages 7095-7108.

Wednesday, April 11

12:00 NOON - 6:00 PM. Day one of a two day meeting of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advisory Committee for Engineering. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 61, Thursday, March 29, 2012, at Page 19036. Location: NSF, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1235, Arlington, VA.

12:30 - 2:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Homeland Security and Emergency Communications and Engineering and Technical Practice Committees will host a brown bag lunch titled "An Interoperable Public Safety Broadband Network: The Challenge of Standards Development". The speakers will be Dereck Orr (NTIA's Public Safety Communications Research Program), Jeffrey Bratcher (NTIA/PSCRP), Jesus Trujillo Gomez (Cisco Systems), Jean-Paul Emard (Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions), Thomas Hengeveld (Harris Corp.), Ajit Kahaduwe (Nokia Siemens Networks), and Vint Cerf (Google). For more information, contact Gina Harrison at 202-482-2695 or rharrison at ntia dot doc dot gov. Location: National Association of Broadcasters, 1771 N St., NW.

12:30 - 2:00 PM. The DC Bar Association's Media Law Committee will host a closed brown bag lunch meeting to discuss media and communications law developments. Free. No CLE credits. Reporters are barred from covering this event. For more information, contact the DC Bar at 202-626-3463 or Kurt Wimmer (Covington & Burling) at kwimmer at cov dot com or Jim McLaughlin at mclaughlinj at washpost dot com. See, notice. Location: Covington & Burling, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

6:00 - 9:15 PM. The DC Bar Association will host an event titled "Open Source Licensing: Legal Strategies and Risks". The speakers will be Victoria Hall (solo practice), Daniel Berlin (Google), and Jay Westermeier (Finnegan Henderson). CLE credits. The price to attend ranges from $89 to $129. See, notice. For more information, call 202-626-3488. The DC Bar has a history of barring reporters from its events. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, 1101 K St., NW.

Deadline for communications carriers, handset manufacturers, and operating system developers to respond to letters sent by House Commerce Committee (HCC) Democrats regarding regarding what they are doing to combat theft of smart phones, and protect consumers from theft of personal and financial information. See, story titled "House Commerce Committee Democrats Question Companies Regarding Smart Phone Theft" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,356, March 25, 2012.

Thursday, April 12

8:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Day two of a two day meeting of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advisory Committee for Engineering. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 61, Thursday, March 29, 2012, at Page 19036. Location: NSF, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1235, Arlington, VA.

9:00 - 10:30 AM. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will host a panel discussion titled "Grand Innovation Challenges of the 21st Century". The speakers will be Thomas Kalil (Deputy Director for Policy of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Rick Valencia (Qualcomm Life), and Robert Atkinson (ITIF), See, notice. Location: ITIF/ITIC: Suite 610, 1101 K St., NW.

5:30 - 2:00 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a program titled "Ethics and E-Discovery Searches". The speakers will be Ellen Pyle (McDermott Will & Emery), Bennett Borden (Williams Mullen), and Maura Grossman (Wachtell Lipton). The price to attend ranges from $89 to $129. CLE credits. See, notice. For more information, call 202-626-3488. The DC Bar has a history of barring reporters from its events. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, 1101 K St., NW.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding jurisdictional separations, the process by which incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) apportion regulated costs between the intrastate and interstate jurisdictions. The FCC once again proposes to extend the current freeze, through June 30, 2014. This item is FCC 12-27 in CC Docket No. 80-286. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 56, Thursday, March 22, 2012, at Pages 16900-16902.

Friday, April 13

RESCHEDULED FROM MARCH 30. 12:00 NOON - 1:00 PM. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Robert McDowell will speak. Free. Brown bag lunch. The FCBA states that this is an FCBA event of its Young Lawyers Committee. Location: FCC, 8th floor South Conference Room, 445 12th St., SW.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [14 pages in PDF] regarding allowing Economic Area (EA) based 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) licensees to exceed a channel spacing and bandwidth limitation. The FCC adopted this NPRM on March 7, 2012, and released the text on March 9. It is FCC 12-25 in WT Docket No. 12-64; WT Docket No. 11-110. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 61, Thursday, March 29, 2012, at Pages 18991-18996.

Saturday, April 14

Passover ends at sundown.

Monday, April 16

The House will return from its two week recess at 12:00 NOON. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 PM.

The Senate will return from its two week recess. It will resume consideration of S 2230 [LOC | WW], a tax bill.

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a conference titled "Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Annual Spring Program 2012". The price to attend ranges from $75 to $450. See, notice. Location: Pepco Holdings, 701 9th St., NW.

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS) Emerging Technology and Research Advisory Committee (ETRAC) will hold a closed meeting. The BIS agenda for this meeting is undisclosed. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 62, Friday, March 30, 2012, at Page 19179. Location: Room 6527, DOC Hoover Building, 14th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues, NW.

1:00 - 2:00 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host an on site and telecast panel discussion titled "Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation: Cross Border Privacy Rules Introduction And Spotlight on Canada". The speakers will be Daniele Chatelois (Canadian government's Industry Canada) and Josh Harris (U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce). Free. No CLE credits. See, notice. Location: Fulbright & Jaworski, 801 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

TIME? The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a telecast panel discussion titled "Legal Issues Stemming from the Impending Shortage of Wireless Spectrum". The speakers will be Tarak Anada (Jones Walker), Babette Boliek (Pepperdine University School of Law), Michael Goggin (AT&T Mobility), and Daniel Brenner (Hogan Lovells). Different ABA notices provide different times. One states 3:00 - 4:00 PM. The other states 4:00 - 5:00 PM. See, notice.

The Executive Office of the President's (EOP) President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will hold a partially closed meeting. The agenda includes a discussion of a report on the PCAST's Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP). The public portion of the meeting will be teleconferenced from 4:30 - 5:00 PM. The deadline to register to register is 12:00 NOON on April 12. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 60, Wednesday, March 28, 2012, at Pages 18798-18799.

5:00 PM. Deadline to submit comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) following its March 29 hearing to assist it in preparing its 2011 Annual GSP Product Review. See, original notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 34, Tuesday, February 21, 2012, at Pages 10034-10036. See also, notice of change of date in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 52, Friday, March 16, 2012, at Page 15841.