TLJ News from October 6-10, 2007

Rep. Lampson Introduces Bill to Add Porn to List of Predicate Offenses for Wiretaps

10/10. Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Chris Carney (D-PA), and Rep. Sheila Lee (D-TX) introduced HR 3811 [LOC | WW], the "Intercept Child Predators Act of 2007"

This bill would amend 18 U.S.C. § 2516, which provides a long and growing list of crimes and classes of crimes that may serve as predicate offenses for the issuance of wiretap orders in federal and state proceedings.

Specifically, this bill would add "child sexual exploitation" and "child pornography" to the list of predicate offenses for the issuance of a state order for the "interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications".

The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee (HJC). Rep. Chabot and Rep. Lee are members.

Rep. Perlmutter Introduces Bill Regarding DHS Information Collection

10/10. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and others introduced HR 3815 [LOC | WW], the "Homeland Security Open Source Information Enhancement Act of 2007".

This bill states in its findings that "The Internet has profoundly expanded the amount, significance, and accessibility of all types of information, but the Department of Homeland Security has not sufficiently expanded its use of such information to produce analytical products."

The bill requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure that its "components responsible for information sharing and infrastructure protection ... make full and efficient use of open source homeland security information to develop and disseminate open source products".

This would entail the aggregation of personally identifiable information (PII) by the DHS, and then making this available to government and private sector entities.

The bill was referred to the House Homeland Security Committee. Rep. Perlmutter is a member.

More News

10/10. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division published a section in its web site regarding competition in the real estate industry. The DOJ stated in a release that the purpose of this web site is "to educate consumers and policymakers about the potential benefits that competition can bring to consumers of real estate brokerage services and the barriers that inhibit that competition."

10/10. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice announcing the renewal of the North American Numbering Council's (NANC) charter through September 27, 2009. See, notice in the Federal Register, October 10, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 195, at Pages 57573-57574.

10/10. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces, describes, sets the effective date (October 10, 2007) and recites its "Examination Guidelines for Determining Obviousness Under 35 U.S.C. 103 in View of the Supreme Court Decision in KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc." The USPTO also wrote that "These guidelines do not constitute substantive rule making", "do not have the force and effect of law" and are "neither appealable nor petitionable." See, Federal Register, October 10, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 195, at Pages 57526-57535. See also, April 30, 2007, opinion [31 pages in PDF] of the Supreme Court, and story titled "Supreme Court Rules on Patent Obviousness in KSR v. Teleflex" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,576, May 7, 2007.

Reps. Conyers and Reyes Introduce FISA Reform Bill

10/9. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Sylvestre Reyes (D-TX) introduced HR 3773 [PDF | LOC | WW], the "Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective Act of 2007" or RESTORE Act.

Rep. John ConyersRep. Conyers (at left) also scheduled this bill for a pop mark up by the full House Judiciary Committee (HJC) on Wednesday, morning, October 10, 2007, at 10:15 AM.

This a House Democrats' Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform bill. It contrasts on many issues with S 1927, which Bush administration representatives have urged be made permanent.

The Senate approved S 1927 [LOC | WW], the "Protect America Act" or "PAA", on August 3, 2007, by a vote of 60-28. See, Roll Call No. 309. The House approved the bill on August 4, 2007, by a vote of 227-183. See, Roll Call No. 836. President Bush signed the bill on August 5, 2007. It is now Public Law No. 110-55. It contains a six month sunset provision. See also, story titled "Summary of Protect America Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,638, September 11, 2007.

See, full story.

Reaction to RESTORE Act

10/9. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Sylvestre Reyes (D-TX) introduced HR 3773 [PDF | LOC | WW], the "Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective Act of 2007" or RESTORE Act, a FISA reform bill.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC), stated in a release that "Congress's hurried consideration of the Protect America Act was legislating at its worst. Congress must fix the fundamental flaws of that legislation -- the utter failure to protect the privacy of Americans at home and abroad, and the complete lack of meaningful judicial, congressional and administrative oversight. Congress must act responsibly and not be intimidated into giving the administration unnecessary powers it could too easily abuse. ..."

He also spoke in opposition to granting immunity for warrantless wiretapping. He said that "The House Democratic leadership is right to refuse to grant immunity for alleged cooperation with the President’s warrantless wiretapping program -- it would be irresponsible to grant immunity when the Administration still refuses to provide Congress with its legal opinions justifying that program."

Sen. Russ FeingoldSen. Feingold (at left) concluded that "any legislation to amend FISA also must protect the privacy of Americans in the U.S. making international communications. Americans are communicating with people overseas more than ever before. If an American businessperson wants to contact a foreign customer, or a student wants to email a friend she met while studying abroad, or a journalist wants to call a foreign source, they should not have to give up the protections granted to them by our Constitution."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) stated in a release that "Chairmen Conyers and Reyes have written a bill that restores many of the freedoms that were undermined by the White House’s bill passed this August."

Rep. Nadler was perhaps the harshest critic of the Bush administration and its surveillance at the HFC's hearing on September 18, 2007.

His release adds that "The RESTORE Act takes several steps to undo the damage done by the White House’s Protect America Act, which was stampeded through Congress in August."

The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) stated in its web site that the bill "would restore some limited judicial oversight of government eavesdropping affecting American citizens. CDT is urging Congress to further strengthen the role of the FISA Court . In particular, the legislation, which authorizes blanket warrants for periods of up to one year, should be amended to require individual court orders when surveillance targeted at persons abroad intrudes on the rights of Americans who are communicating with people overseas".

Caroline Fredrickson, of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), stated in a release that "The ACLU sees one major flaw in the RESTORE Act. As drafted, the RESTORE Act still allows for the US government to collect phone calls and emails from Americans without an individual warrant."

The ACLU release elaborates that "Program warrants -- sometimes called basket warrants, sometime called blanket warrants -- included in the draft bill are a crucial sticking point. There is no specific target when you use basket warrants, which contradicts the heart of the Fourth Amendment.  Essentially, a basket warrant really means no real warrant."

Summary of the RESTORE Act

10/9. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Sylvestre Reyes (D-TX) introduced HR 3773 [PDF | LOC | WW], the "Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective Act of 2007" or RESTORE Act, a bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which is codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1801 et seq. The following is a cursory summary.

Section 1 of the bill merely provides its title, and a table of contents.

Section 2 of the bill provides that acquisition of foreign to foreign communications, even if routed through the US, do not require a court order.

Specifically, the bill states that Section 105A of the FISA is amended to read as follows: "SEC. 105A. (a) FOREIGN TO FOREIGN COMMUNICATIONS.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, a court order is not required for the acquisition of the contents of any communication between persons that are not United States persons and are not located within the United States for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence information, without respect to whether the communication passes through the United States or the surveillance device is located within the United States."

Section 105A of the FISA, which was added in August by S 1927 (Protect America Act), follows the previously existing Section 105. Section 105 of the FISA, which is codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1805, is the provision that allows the government to obtain orders for electronic surveillance from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

Section 105A, created by S 1927 (PAA), provides in full that "Nothing in the definition of electronic surveillance under section 101(f) shall be construed to encompass surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States."

Section 101 of the FISA, which is codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1801, is a definitional section. Section 101(f) provides the definition of "electronic surveillance".

That is, the PAA's Section 105A redefines some of electronic surveillance -- that which is directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the U.S. -- as not constituting "electronic surveillance" within the meaning of the FISA.

The PAA's Section 105A considers only the location of the person at whom the surveillance is directed. It applies where the person at whom the surveillance is not directed is located in the US. In contrast, the RESTORE Act's Section 105A considers the location of both parties to the communication, and only allows the government to conduct warrantless surveillance when both parties are outside the US.

Under the RESTORE Act, if the government seeks electronic surveillance on the basis that it is directed at a person outside the US, it generally must obtain an order, and follow the procedure set forth in Section 105 (which existed prior to passage of the PAA), or procedures set forth in the RESTORE Act.

Section 2 of the RESTORE Act next provides that,

"(b) COMMUNICATIONS OF NON-UNITED STATES PERSONS OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act other than subsection (a), electronic surveillance that is directed at the acquisition of the communications of a person that is reasonably believed to be located outside the United States and not a United States person for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence information (as defined in paragraph (1) or (2)(A) of section 101(e)) by targeting that person shall be conducted pursuant to--
  (1) an order approved in accordance with section 105 or 105B; or
  (2) an emergency authorization in accordance with section 105 or 105C."

Section 101(e), which is codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1801(e), defines "foreign intelligence information" or FII. This includes not only terrorist information, but national defense related information, and any information that relates to "the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States". The RESTORE Act's reference to "paragraph (1) or (2)(A)" excludes (2)(B), which includes the "conduct of foreign affairs". Thus, while the RESTORE Act does not narrow the definition of FII generally, it limits the types of FII that apply in the new Section 105B. (Section 105A applies to the full range of FII.)

The PAA created a new Section 105B. It provides that the "Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, may for periods of up to one year authorize the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States", and elaborates on procedures for such authorizations, including certifications, and notice to the foreign intelligence surveillance court.

The RESTORE Act's Section 105A refers to both Section 105B and 105C. Section 3 of the RESTORE Act then provides a new Section 105B, which replaces the Section 105B of the PAA. It covers "Procedures for Authorizing Acquisitions of Communications of Non-United States Persons Located Outside of the United States". The PAA created no Section 105C. Section 4 of the RESTORE Act creates a Section 105C anew. It covers "Emergency Authorization of Acquisitions of Communications of Non-United States Persons Located Outside of the United States".

Section 3 of the RESTORE Act provides for the issuance of orders from the court. It provides, among other things, that "Notwithstanding any other law, no cause of action shall lie in any court against any person for providing any information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with an order issued under this subsection." This is in addition to the immunity long provided for by Section 105, and the immunity provided for by the PAA, which has a six month sunset.

Notably, the RESTORE Act does not provide immunity retroactively to those who cooperated in providing warrantless surveillance.

Rep. Conyers' summary states that "The bill is silent on retroactive immunity because the Administration has refused to provide Congress with documents on the specifics of the President’s warrantless surveillance program. However, the bill does provide prospective immunity for those complying with court orders issued pursuant to this authority."

Also, the PAA on its face extended to things other than wiretaps, such as acquisition of business records, physical searches, and interception of mail. Bush administration representatives downplayed the significance of these other types of gathering FII in testimony and written statements in September. The RESTORE Act contains no language that would extend to business records, physical searches, and mail.

Rep. Conyers wrote in his summary that "Administration officials indicated that they did not intend their legislation to authorize such warrantless domestic searches and expressed a willingness to consider alternative language."

Section 5 pertains to "Oversight of Acquisition of Communications of Non-United States Persons Located Outside of the United States".

Section 6 of the bill gives the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) the discretionary authority to sit en banc. Rep. Conyers wrote in his summary that "The FISA Court requested this, and the Administration does not oppose it."

Section 7 of the bill requires the DOJ's Inspector General to complete within six months "an audit of all programs of the Federal Government involving the acquisition of communications conducted without a court order on or after September 11, 2001, including the Terrorist Surveillance Program referred to by the President in a radio address on December 17, 2005."

It adds that "Such audit shall include acquiring all documents relevant to such programs, including memoranda concerning the legal authority of a program, authorizations of a program, certifications to telecommunications carriers, and court orders."

Section 8 pertains to record keeping by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

Section 9 of the bill also authorizes the appropriation of more funds for the DOJ's National Security Division, and the National Security Agency, for the purpose of processing FISA applications and submissions, and for complying with record keeping, reporting, and audit requirements.

Section 10 of the bill provides that "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance may be conducted for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence information." (Parentheses in original.)

Perhaps one consequence of this is that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) cannot serve as the basis for warrantless wiretaps. See, Public Law 107-40; 115 Stat. 224; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note.

Also, if the President has inherent authority under the Constitution to conduct warrantless wiretaps notwithstanding the FISA or any other statute, then one argument would be that a statute could not repeal that Constitutional power. Another argument might be that there is not such Constitutional authority, and this provision clarifies that the President has no such authority.

Bush Releases Statement of Homeland Security Strategy

10/9. President Bush released a document titled "National Strategy for Homeland Security". It is a wide ranging statement covering covers both natural threats, such as hurricanes, and man made threats, including terrorist attacks of many kinds.

First, there is a short cover letter from President Bush. Then, Section 1 is an overview.

Section 2 of the document recounts accomplishments to date, such as creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and recommends further changes, such as FISA reform.

It states that "We must make additional reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and ensure that the statute is permanently amended so that our intelligence professionals continue to have the legal tools they need to gather information about the intentions of our enemies while protecting the civil liberties of Americans."

Section 5 of the document is titled "Prevent and Disrupt Terrorist Attacks". Section 6 addresses cybersecurity, and protecting other critical infrastructures. These two sections contain most of the material that is pertinent to information and communications technologies.

Section 5 states that "In order to uncover terrorists and terrorist activity against the backdrop of our highly mobile, dynamic, and diverse society, we must attain domain awareness of the actions, events, and trends that occur throughout our land, maritime, air, space, and cyber domains."

It continues that "Our law enforcement and intelligence communities must have detailed knowledge of our Homeland adversaries, including their identities, sources of support, intentions, capabilities, and modi operandi. This information must be assessed against a current strategic threat picture that continues to integrate national intelligence."

Identification Systems. Section 5 addresses the numerous government identification systems developed or expanded since 2001. It states that "Continuing to strengthen our layered system of protections that start overseas and continue along our borders, at our ports, on our roadways and railways, and in our skies is fundamental to preventing terrorists, their weapons, and related materials from entering our country through exploitation of legitimate pathways. In order to do this, we must continue to act deliberately on several fronts."

Section 5 continues that "A critical component of screening people is travel document security, because official documents are the key enablers for screening all people at ports of entry. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and the REAL ID Act are additional efforts to improve the integrity of documents used for entry into the United States. Enhancing international security standards through the use of biometrics, including in passports and visas, has made it increasingly difficult to counterfeit travel documents, and we must encourage those countries not in the Visa Waiver Program to adopt biometric passports. In the face of resourceful terrorists, however, we must continue to expand the US-VISIT program's biometric enrollment from two fingerprints to ten fingerprints, as well as leverage science and technology to enable more advanced multi-modal biometric recognition capabilities in the future that use fingerprint, face, or iris data."

On October 8, 2007, the Cato Institute released a report titled "The Real ID Act: An Update", by Jim Harper.

FISA Reform. This strategy document states that "Since its enactment in 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), as amended, has provided a legal framework through which the Intelligence Community lawfully collects foreign intelligence information of value to our Nation's security, while simultaneously protecting the civil liberties of Americans."

But, it argues, "Revolutionary changes in technology since 1978 had the effect of expanding the scope of FISA's coverage to include foreign intelligence collection efforts that Congress did not intend to subject to the statute's requirements. This unintended expansion of FISA's scope meant that our intelligence professionals, in a significant number of cases, needed to obtain a court order to collect foreign intelligence information against a target located overseas."

It continues that "This circumstance created an unnecessary obstacle to our Intelligence Community's ability to gather real-time information about the intent of our enemies overseas and diverted scarce resources that would be better spent safeguarding the civil liberties of people in the United States, not foreign terrorists who wish to do us harm."

It also states that S 1927, the Protect America Act of 2007, which was enacted in August, and has a six month sunset provision, "was an important interim step in modernizing FISA to account for modern changes in technology and the threats that we face in the 21st century. Working with Congress, we must make additional reforms to FISA and ensure that the statute is permanently amended so that our intelligence professionals continue to have the legal tools they need to gather information about the intentions of our enemies while protecting the civil liberties of Americans -- now and in the future."

The White House press office also issued a release that states that the Congress should make FISA reform permanent. It states that the "Congress should help ensure that we have the necessary tools to address changing technologies and homeland security threats while protecting privacy and civil liberties. We must make additional reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and ensure that the statute is permanently amended so that our intelligence professionals continue to have the legal tools they need to gather information about the intentions of our enemies while protecting the civil liberties of Americans.

Both the strategy document and the release argue that the Congress should also change its committee structure. However, neither explains how. Perhaps the Bush administration would prefer to deal only with the House and Senate Intelligence and Appropriations Committees, and not with either the House or Senate Judiciary Committees. The former are more responsive to the administration, and more secretive. Both of the Judiciary Committees contains some of the leading Congressional critics of electronic surveillance policies.

Combining Intelligence and Police Functions. The just released document calls for "Intelligence-Led Policing".

It argues that "the law enforcement community, along with the intelligence community, must work to develop and implement national information requirements -- developing a process for identifying information gaps, determining critical information requirements, and meeting those requirements collaboratively."

It further states that "the Federal Government will recommend priorities for State, local, and Tribal homeland security activities that focus resources on the most pressing problems, adopt a formal intelligence process with requirements generation and tasking of information collection, and analyze and disseminate the information. Underlying our efforts to achieve domain awareness and identify and locate terrorists and terrorist activity in the Homeland is a fully developed and integrated Information Sharing Environment ..."

Terrorist Propaganda on the Internet. The strategy document states that "Terrorists also seek sanctuary in the cyber domain, particularly the Internet, an inexpensive, geographically unbounded, and largely unconstrained virtual haven for our enemies. Terrorists use the Internet to create and disseminate propaganda, recruit new members, raise funds, and plan operations. The Internet has become a training ground, with terrorists acquiring instruction once possible only through physical training camps."

The document is short on solutions. It states that "In addition to discrediting their terrorist propaganda on the Internet with the promotion of truthful messages, we will seek to deny the Internet to our terrorist enemies as an effective safe haven for their recruitment, fund-raising, training, and operational planning."

Cybersecurity. The President's document states that "Many of the Nation's essential and emergency services, as well as our critical infrastructure, rely on the uninterrupted use of the Internet and the communications systems, data, monitoring, and control systems that comprise our cyber infrastructure. A cyber attack could be debilitating to our highly interdependent CI/KR and ultimately to our economy and national security." (CI/KR is an acronym for critical infrastructures and key resources.)

It states that "A variety of actors threaten the security of our cyber infrastructure. Terrorists increasingly exploit the Internet to communicate, proselytize, recruit, raise funds, and conduct training and operational planning. Hostile foreign governments have the technical and financial resources to support advanced network exploitation and launch attacks on the informational and physical elements of our cyber infrastructure. Criminal hackers threaten our Nation's economy and the personal information of our citizens, and they also could pose a threat if wittingly or unwittingly recruited by foreign intelligence or terrorist groups. Our cyber networks also remain vulnerable to natural disasters."

But, the report assures, government entities are "working together to prevent damage to, and the unauthorized use and exploitation of, our cyber systems".

In addition, Fran Townsend, the Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland, gave a speech to, and answered questions from, reporters regarding the just released strategy document. See, transcript.

She said that "The purpose of our strategy is to guide, organize and unify our nation's homeland security efforts."

Rep. Poe Introduces Bill to Criminalize Sale of Certain Cell Phone Numbers

10/9. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced HR 3789 [LOC | WW], the "Consumer Cellphone Number Distribution Protection Act of 2007". This bill would add a new Section 1802 to Title 18, the criminal code, that criminalizes certain disclosures of cell phone numbers.

This bill provides that "Whoever knowingly discloses to another, for gain, a wireless subscriber's cell phone number without the express permission of the subscriber for that specific disclosure, if the number--
   (1) is not already readily publicly available; and
   (2) was obtained by the discloser or one in privity with the discloser as a condition of completing a commercial transaction that is in or affects interstate or foreign commerce and is unrelated to the disclosure;
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both."

The bill as introduced has no law enforcement or national security exemption.

The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee (HJC). Rep. Poe is not a member, and the bill has no original cosponsors.

3Com Huawei Transaction to be Reviewed by CFIUS

10/9. 3Com announced on September 27, 2007, that "it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Bain Capital Partners, LLC, a leading global private investment firm, for approximately $2.2 billion in cash". See, 3Com release and Huawei release.

This transaction will be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Bain Capital is a private investment firm based in Boston, Massachusetts, that also has offices in the People's Republic of China (PRC). The affiliates of Bain include Huawei companies, in the PRC.

See, full story.

Congressional Republicans Urge Approval of Broadcaster Freedom Act

10/9. Congressional Republicans renewed their arguments in favor of passage of the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007, which would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from repromulgating the rules that it previously titled the "Fairness Doctrine".

Last week, Congressional Democrats made vitriolic speeches against Rush Limbaugh, who makes vitriolic speeches about Democrats in his program broadcast by radio.

Congressional Republicans defended Limbaugh, and argued that the Democrats agenda is a return of the policy that the FCC called the "Fairness Doctrine". They urged passage of legislative to block the FCC from returning to its former policy.

On June 28, 2007, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), and a large number of Republican cosponsors, introduced HR  2905 [LOC | WW], the "Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007".

This bill provides that the FCC "shall not have the authority to prescribe any rule, regulation, policy, doctrine, standard, or other requirement that has the purpose or effect of reinstating or repromulgating (in whole or in part) the requirement that broadcasters present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance, commonly referred to as the `Fairness Doctrine', as repealed in General Fairness Doctrine Obligations of Broadcast Licensees, 50 Fed. Reg. 35418 (1985)."

Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) introduced the Senate versions of the bill, S 1742 and S 1748 [LOC | WW], also titled the "Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007", on June 28 and June 29, 2007. S 1748 has a large number of Republican cosponsors.

Rep. Pence spoke in the House on October 3, 2007. He said that "the enmity that exists between American talk radio and the Democratic Congress came into high relief this Monday as leaders in the Senate engaged in repeated and distorted personal attacks of a prominent American commentator. Now, while many see this as more politics as usual in Washington, DC, I see something more. I believe these attacks on talk radio are a precursor for returning censorship to the airwaves of America in the form of the Fairness Doctrine."  See, Congressional Record, October 3, 2007, at Page H11174.

Rep. Pence added that "The freedom of the press should not be a partisan issue. Let's reject the attacks on American radio personalities and ensure that the Fairness Doctrine stays on the ash heap of broadcast history, where it belongs."

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) spoke in the House on October 4. He said that "there's an even more insidious agenda by liberals going on and that is to reinstitute the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which is actually a way to silence conservatives on the radio waves. Mr. Limbaugh deserves mega-kudos for being a forceful and effective voice on the side of common sense and for being an example of the first amendment in action." See, Congressional Record, October 4, 2007, at Page H11255.

On October 1, 2007, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) attacked Limbaugh in a speech in the Senate. However, he did not mention FCC regulation of speech or the FCC's "Fairness Doctrine". See, Congressional Record, October 1, 2007, at Pages S12343-4.

Similarly, on October 3, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) attacked Limbaugh in a speech in the House, but did not mention FCC regulation of broadcast speech either. See, Congressional Record, October 3, 2007, at Page H11230.

Supreme Court News

10/9. The Supreme Court of the US (SCUS) denied certiorari in Thomas Mosey v. Dippin Dots, Sup. Ct. No. 07-22, and Dippin' Dots v. Thomas Mosely, Sup. Ct. No. 07-157. See, Orders List [15 pages in PDF] at page 2. This is a patent and antitrust case. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion [PDF] on February 9, 2007. The patent in suit, U.S. Patent No. 5,126,156, involves ice cream technology. The District Court granted summary of noninfringement and judgment following jury trial that all claims of that patent are obvious, that the patent is unenforceable due to inequitable conduct during prosecution, and that Dippin Dots violated antitrust law by asserting a patent that had been procured through fraud on the Patent Office. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgments of noninfringement, obviousness, and unenforceability, but reversed the antitrust judgment. The Court of Appeals cases numbers are 2005-1330 and 2005-1582. It heard appeals from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

10/9. The Supreme Court of the US (SCUS) denied certiorari in Compaq Computer Corporation v. Stephen Grider, Sup. Ct. No. 07-95. See, Orders List [15 pages in PDF] at page 2. This is a petition for writ of certiorari to the Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, Third Division, in a class action case brought by Stephen Grider against Compaq (now HP) alleging the sale of defective disk drives. At issue was the class certification. The case will proceed in the state court. See, Supreme Court docket.

People and Appointments

10/8. Sprint Nextel announced in a release that its Ch/P/CEO, Gary Forsee, "is stepping down ... effective immediately". It did not announce a replacement for any of these positions. However, it stated that James Hance "will assume the role of acting non-executive chairman of the Board", and that Paul Saleh, the current CFO, "will serve as acting CEO until a permanent replacement for Forsee is named."

People and Appointments

10/7. Christopher Hansen will be the next President and Chief Executive Officer of the AeA, which was once an acronym for American Electronics Association. Hansen will start on November 15, 2007. He will replace the long time head of the AeA, William Archey, who will remain with the AeA until February of 2008. Hansen is currently Group Executive Officer for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Before that he worked in government relations for Boeing and General Dynamics. See, AeA release.

People and Appointments

10/6. Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA) died. She was a member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee. She was also the sponsor of HR 516 [LOC | WW] the "Federal Agency Data Privacy Protection Act". See also, statement by President Bush.

Go to News from October 1-5, 2007.