FSC Deposition Deemed a Success, Lawyers Say

Gretchen Gallen
WASHINGTON – Four of the lawyers representing the Free Speech Coalition in its lawsuit against the federal government concluded a four-hour deposition today of Howard Schmidt, a technology expert and government witness. Schmidt contends that the amended 2257 record-keeping law is not burdensome on primary and secondary producers.

Attorneys Greg Piccionelli, Louis Sirkin, Paul Cambria and Jennifer Kingsley deposed Schmidt in Washington in what Piccionelli told XBiz was a very successful session and “another great day for the industry.”

Schmidt’s opinion is that 2257 compliance is not as challenging as it is believed to be by the attorneys representing the FSC and its members in a federal lawsuit seeking to obtain a permanent injunction against the amendments. The FSC believes that the updated record-keeping process is so complex and demanding that it could put many webmasters out of business.

Schmidt is widely recognized as an expert in the field of computer forensics and computer evidence collection.

“We definitely obtained our goals,” Piccionelli told XBiz. “It went very well and we accomplished everything we set out to do and then some. The government was definitely thrown by some of our questions.”

A former chief technology strategist for Microsoft and then for eBay in 2003, Schmidt returned to his post with the federal government in 2004 to work with the Homeland Security Department as head of The National Cyber Security Division, which Schmidt took control of after top cybersecurity official Amit Yoran resigned last year. He has an $80 million budget and 60 employees.

Schmidt worked formerly as a special cybersecurity adviser to President Bush in 2001 and helped draft the government’s cybersecurity plan. Schmidt also worked as police officer in the late 1980s.

Before Microsoft, Schmidt was a supervisory special agent and director of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Computer Forensic Lab and Computer Crime and Information Warfare Division. He also worked formerly with the FBI at the National Drug Intelligence Center, where he headed the Computer Exploitation Team.

Today’s deposition will be the only one the FSC legal team will conduct prior to the Aug. 1 court hearing in Denver.