Washington News – Alerts and Updates

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
March 18, 2015

* Congress continues to hold budget hearings.

* The White House invites nominations for the National Medal of Science. The deadline is April 27.

* The White House invites nominations for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The deadline is June 1.

Voting

* The U.S. Election Assistance Commission will hold a roundtable to discuss next steps for agency priorities, policies, and strategies on March 19. A live webcast will be available.

* The House Administration Committee approved the Election Assistance Commission Termination Act, H.R. 195.

Intellectual Property

* The USTR published the President’s Trade Policy Agenda for 2015 and 2014 Annual Report of the President on the Trade Agreements Program. For the year ahead, the Obama Administration expects to conclude negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement and make “significant progress” on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. The United States also will continue to negotiate for more products to be covered by the WTO Information Technology Agreement and to advance negotiations on a multilateral Trade in Services Agreement.

* The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating parties met last week in Hawaii. The USTR has not yet posted an update on those talks.

* The USTR published the 2014 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, an assessment of online and physical markets around the world with substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. Among the positive developments, several online websites took measures to reduce online copyright infringement. The report urges trading partner governments and ICANN to investigate and address the role of domain name registrars in supporting online copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting.

* The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “The Impact of Abusive Patent Litigation Practices on the American Economy.”

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held a hearing on “Update: Patent Demand Letter Practices and Solutions.”

* The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “The U.S. Copyright Office: Its Functions and Resources.”

* The Senate confirmed Michelle Lee to be USPTO Director.

* The Senate confirmed Daniel Henry Marti to be the White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.

* The USPTO will host a two-day Summit on Patent Quality on March 25-26. A live webcast will be available.

* The USPTO invites public comments on enhancing patent quality until May 6.

* USACM member Pamela Samuelson authored an article on “Copyrightability of Java APIs Revisited” for the “Legally Speaking” featured column in the March edition of the Communications of the ACM (CACM).

Tech Law

* The FAA is accepting comments on proposed regulations for the non-hobby or non-recreational use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The deadline for public comments is April 24.

* FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, in testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, called for legislative reforms to allow for greater flexibility by the FAA to grant exemptions for the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems.

* USACM member Pamela Samuelson authored an article on “Copyrightability of Java APIs Revisited” for the “Legally Speaking” featured column in the March edition of the Communications of the ACM (CACM).

* The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the challenge to Colorado’s Internet tax notice and reporting law.

Privacy and Security

* The House Judiciary Committee approved the Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 1147. The bill covers the expansion of mandatory electronic employment eligibility verification systems.

* The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on “The Growing Cyber Threat and Its Impact on American Business” on March 19.

* The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing on “America’s IT Transformation: Translating the Promise of Electronic Health Records Into Better Care.”

* The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency held a hearing on “Unmanned Aerial System Threats: Exploring Security Implications and Mitigation Technologies.”

* The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies held a hearing on “Industry Perspectives on the President’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Proposal.”

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held a hearing on the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015.

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on “Understanding the Cyber Threat and Implications for the 21st Century Economy.”

* The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology held a hearing on “Cybersecurity: The Evolving Nature of Cyber Threats Facing the Private Sector.”

* The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) invites public comments on a multistakeholder process to develop privacy best practices for commercial and private use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The deadline for comments is April 20.

* The White House released a discussion draft of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act.

* Researchers disclosed a new SSL/TLS vulnerability, known as the FREAK attack. It allows attackers to intercept HTTPS connections.

Accessibility

* The FCC Disability Advisory Committee held its first meeting on March 17. The committee discussed the roles and responsibilities of the committee and its members, as well as the scope of issues for the committee and its subcommittees. The archived webcast and meeting minutes will be made publicly available soon.

* The FCC invites nominations for the 4th Annual FCC Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility. The deadline for nominations is March 20.

* The U.S. Access Board is accepting public comments on the proposed updated ICT accessibility requirements under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the proposed updated accessibility guidelines under Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act. The deadline for public comments is May 28.

* The U.S. Access Board will hold a webinar on the proposed updated ICT accessibility requirements on March 31. Advance registration is required.

* The U.S. Access Board held two hearings on the proposed updated ICT accessibility requirements on March 5 in San Diego and March 11 in Washington, D.C.

* The U.S. Access Board elected Sachin Dev Pavithran as the new Chair. He is the Program Director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. He has been serving as the Chair of the Board’s Information and Communications Technologies Committee.

Digital Government

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on “FCC Reauthorization: Oversight of the Commission” on March 19.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission.”

* The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on “FCC: Process and Transparency.”

* The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing on “Three Years Later: Are We Any Closer to a Nationwide Public Safety Wireless Broadband Network?

* The Federal Communications Commission publicly released the new net neutrality regulations, which the FCC Commissioners approved on February 26.