TLJ News from February 1-5, 2012

People and Appointments

2/3. Luke McCormack will become the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Chief Information Officer (CIO) in late March. He will replace Vance Hitch, who left the DOJ in August of 2011. Eric Olson, the DOJ's Deputy CIO, is also currently the acting CIO. McCormack was previously CIO of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). See, DOJ release.

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2/3. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Infomation Administration (NTIA) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces that its Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee will meet at Stanford University on March 1, 2012. It will "deliberate on the findings and recommendations from its four subcommittees (Search for 500 MHz, Spectrum Sharing, Spectrum Management Improvements, and Unlicensed), and identify future requirements for assessments". (Parentheses in original.) The meeting will take place from 9:00 AM to12:00 NOON, Pacific Standard Time, at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR). See, Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 23, Friday, February 3, 2012, at Pages 5494-5495.

2/3. The U.S. District Court (DMd) sentenced Attila Nemeth to serve 30 months in prison following his plea of guilty on November 23, 2011, to violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in connection with his unauthorized accessing of the computer systems of the Marriot International Corporation. The Department of Justice (DOJ) stated in a release that "Nemeth emailed Marriott personnel, advising that he had been accessing Marriott’s computers for months and had obtained proprietary information. Nemeth threatened to reveal this information if Marriott did not give him a job maintaining the company’s computers. On Nov. 13, 2010, after receiving no response from Marriott, Nemeth sent another email containing eight attachments, seven of which were confirmed as documents stored on Marriott’s computer system. These documents included financial documentation and other confidential and proprietary information. Nemeth admitted that through an infected email attachment sent to specific Marriott employees, he was able to install malicious software on Marriott’s system that gave him a ``backdoor´´ into the system.  Using the``backdoor,´´ Nemeth was able to access proprietary email and other files belonging to Marriott." He then met an undercover U.S. Secret Service agent for what he thought was a job interview, in which he further incriminated himself.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Watford for 9th Circuit

2/2. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) approved the nomination of Paul Watford to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) by a vote of 10-6-2, in a party line vote.

Watford has represented clients in appellate proceedings in many significant technology related cases. For example, he represented Rambus in patent and antitrust litigation, defended Verizon in phone bill cramming litigation, and represented Jeppesen DataPlan in a landmark state secrets privilege case.

However, opposition to his nomination is based primarily upon his court briefs, responses to the SJC, and speeches regarding state immigration statutes, the death penalty, and judicial consideration of foreign or international law.

See, full story.

People and Appointments

2/2. President Obama nominated Stephanie Rose to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. See, White House news office release and release. Rose is a long time federal prosecutor, and the current U.S. Attorney for Northern District of Iowa.

2/2. President Obama nominated Michael Shea to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. See, White House news office release and release. This nomination is for the seat previously held by Judge Christopher Droney. President Obama nominated, and the Senate confirmed, Droney to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCir). Shea is a partner in the Hartford, Connecticut, office of the law firm of Day Pitney.

2/2. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stated in a release that Joel Gurin, Chief of the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGAB), "will step down from his position as of February 17", and that Kris Monteith, who is currently a Deputy Chief in the FCC's Media Bureau, will be acting CGAB Bureau Chief.

2/2. Randy Mitchell, a Commissioner of the South Carolina Public Service Commission, was appointed to the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service. He takes the seat previously held by Larry Landis. See, FCC order.

Google Responds to Representative's Questions Regarding New Privacy Policy

2/1. Leaders of the House Commerce Committee (HCC) and other Representatives sent a letter to Google on January 26, 2012, regarding its announcement that it will consolidate some of its privacy policies. Google responded by letter dated January 30.

Google announced in a release on January 24 that it currently has 70 "privacy documents", and that it is "rolling out a new main privacy policy that covers the majority of our products" that will take effect on March 1. Google noted that "Regulators globally have been calling for shorter, simpler privacy policies".

The six Representatives wrote that "While Google suggests that the purpose of this shift in policy is to make the consumer experience simpler, we want to make sure it does not make protecting consumer privacy more complicated."

They also propounded numerous interrogatories to be answered by February 16. For example, they ask Google to "describe all information that Google collects from its consumers now", and ask "How will this information change after the new privacy policy has been implemented?"

The six who signed the letter are Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA).

See also, Google's January 26 release, January 31 release, and February 1 release.

People and Appointments

2/1. Mike Bloomquist was named General Counsel of the House Commerce Committee (HCC). He had previously been the Deputy General Counsel. He replace Jim Barnette. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the HCC Chairman, praised Bloomquist in a release, and stated that "I'm sorry to see Jim leave the committee, but grateful that over his many years of service he left an indelible imprint of professionalism and good humor that continue to characterize our team".

More News

2/1. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [17 pages in PDF] titled "OPM Retirement Modernization: Progress Has Been Hindered by Longstanding Information Technology Management Weaknesses".

Go to News from January 26-31, 2012.