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EPIC Alert 3.06 [1996] EPICAlert 6


Volume 3.06 March 18, 1996

Published by the

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

[1] House Approves Weakened Counter-Terrorism Bill

[2] House and Senate Debate Immigration Legislation

[3] Internet "Indecency" Hearing Begins This Week

[4] Commerce Dep't to Release More Info on Foreign Crypto

[5] Doctors Group Criticizes Senate Medical Bill

[6] Netscape CEO Defends Right to Privacy

[7] EPIC/PI Sponsor 2nd Conference on Surveillance Technologies

[8] Upcoming Conferences and Eventss

[1] House Approves Weakened Counter-Terrorism Bill

The House of Representatives on March 14 approved a modified version ofHR 2703, the Effective Death Penalty and Public Safety Act of 1996.
The bill was watered down the previous day after a coalition of liberalDemocrats and conservative Republicans approved (by a vote of 246 to141) an amendment introduced by Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) which deletedprovisions on wiretapping; access to consumer reports and telephonerecords; and the use of secret information in deportation hearings.
The final bill includes no funding for the 1994 FBI Digital Telephonylegislation. It still retains limitations on appeals to federal courtsfrom state actions (habeas corpus). A replacement bill supported bycivil liberties groups and introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) wasdefeated.

The bill now goes to a conference committee to reconcile with theSenate bill which was passed last June. The Senate bill includesfunding for digital telephony, increased use of wiretaps, and increasedlaw enforcement access to consumer reports. President Clinton and Rep.
Henry Hyde, the sponsor of the House bill, have called on theConference Committee to include those provisions in the final bill.

EPIC opposed funding for the digital telephony legislation as well theproposals to expand wiretapping and law enforcement access to consumerreports.

A copy of the final House bill and other information on the terrorismbills is available at:

[2] House and Senate Debate Immigration Legislation

The Senate Judiciary Committee on March 6 voted to defeat an amendmentby Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-MI) to strike all identification registriesout of the Senate immigration bill. Senators supporting the amendmentwere Abraham, Specter, Thurmond, Thompson, DeWine, Leahy, Heflin,
Feingold and Hatch. Senators opposing the amendment to strike theidentity registry were Simpson, Grassley, Brown, Kyl, Biden, Kennedy,
Simon, Kohl and Feinstein.

The Committee then approved an amendment offered by Sen. Ted Kennedy(D-MA) to replace a mandatory registry with pilot programs in fivestates (which would expire in four years) and to require the AttorneyGeneral to submit a report on the programs to Congress.

Abraham vowed to bring up his amendment on the Senate floor. The billstill requires states to place Social Security Numbers on driverslicenses and to obtain fingerprints or some other form of biometricidentification for licenses.

The House is expected to vote on immigration legislation (H.R. 2202) onWednesday, March 20. Rep. Lemar Smith (R-TX), the chief sponsor of thebill, has said that due to opposition, he will modify the identityregistry provisions to make them voluntary rather than mandatory. TheHouse will also vote on a proposal by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) tostrike the identification provisions from the bill. Rep. Bill McCollum(R-FL) will introduce a proposal to require the Social SecurityAdministration to issue a tamperproof identity card with a biometricidentifier.

[3] Internet "Indecency" Hearing Begins This Week

The constitutional challenge to the Communications Decency Act goes tocourt this week in Philadelphia. Beginning on March 21, a specialthree-judge federal court panel will begin hearing testimony andviewing on-line presentations designed to explain the nature of theInternet and interactive communications. This is expected to be thefirst time that a judicial proceeding has included a real-timedemonstration of the Internet.

The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU, EPIC and a broad coalition ofon-line organizations on February 8, immediately after the CDA becamelaw. A second lawsuit, filed by the American Library Association and acoalition of publishers, content providers and commercial accessproviders, has been consolidated with the ACLU/EPIC case. Bothplaintiff groups will present evidence in the upcoming hearing.

EPIC will continue to provide up-to-date information on the judicialproceedings at:

[4] Commerce Dep't to Release More Info on Foreign Crypto

In response to a lawsuit filed by EPIC, the US Department of Commercehas agreed to release some previously withheld portions of a classifiedreport on the international market for encryption software. Thereport, which was jointly produced by the Commerce Department's Bureauof Export Administration and the National Security Agency, reviews theforeign availability of encryption products and other nations' import,
export and domestic use policies.

A sanitized version of the report was released in January (See EPICAlert 3.02). Significant portions were withheld at the request of theNSA. EPIC had earlier filed suit under the Freedom of Information Actto obtain a full copy of the report. In recently filed court papers,
the Department has agreed to release additional information by March30.

A copy of the sanitized Executive Summary of the report and moreinformation on crypto policy is available at:

[5] Doctors Group Criticizes Senate Medical Bill

The American Medical Association has written to Sen. Nancy Kassenbaum(R-KS) urging the Senate to revise S. 1360, the Medical RecordsConfidentiality Act of 1995, before enacting it into law. The AMA citedinadequate privacy safeguards as the primary problem.

The AMA called for substantial changes to the bill: "The bill asintroduced does not assure adequate confidentiality protections forpersonally identifiable medical information, and the AMA woulddiscourage the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee fromreporting such language without significant reexamination andmodification."

The AMA recommended several changes to the bill, including limitingdisclosures of personally identifiable information, requiring lawenforcement to obtain a warrant based on a "probable cause" showingthat the particular information is needed for an immediate lawenforcement purpose, preventing the use of personally identifiableinformation for research without the consent of the patient, andlimiting federal pre-emption to allow states to enact stronger laws.

The committee is expected to consider the comments of the AMA as wellas the proposal of the Medical Privacy Coalition, a group that includesthe Coalition for Patient Rights, the Justice Research Institute, EPIC,
the Consumer Project on Technology, the ACLU, and others, and mark-upthe bill in early May.

More information on medical privacy is available at:

[6] Netscape CEO Defends Right to Privacy

Computer Reseller News recently discussed cryptography policy withJames Barksdale, chief executive of Netscape Communications. Barksdalehad this to say on the issue of electronic privacy and governmentsurveillance:

There's also just an issue of right and wrong, of First
Amendment rights, freedom of speech, probably the principal
differentiator of the United States from all other forms of
government. I don't even accept that there's an inalienable
right for the government to eavesdrop on conversations
between two private individuals. ... Why is it we've given up
this basic right? I don't want to give up more of that
right. I feel very strongly about this.

These remarks are consistent with Netscape's published policy onencryption export, which notes that "Corporate and individual rights toprivacy are placed in question by the current U.S. Government escrowproposal and process."

The Netscape policy is available at:

[7] EPIC/PI Sponsor 2nd Conference on Surveillance Technologies

Privacy International and EPIC will sponsor the second conference onAdvanced Surveillance Technologies (AST II) in Ottawa, Canada onSeptember 16, 1996. The conference will examine new technologies ofsurveillance are being used by government and industry. Topicstentatively include artificial intelligence systems; new videosurveillance; digital cash; and intelligent vehicle highways. Therewill also be extensive discussion of the sources of these technologiesand legal and technological solutions.

Two other conferences will also be held the same week in Ottawa. OnSeptember 17, Industry Canada (the Canadian government agency in chargeof commerce) will be holding a one day conference on Internet Commerce.
On Sept 18 and 19, privacy commissioners from around the world will beholding their annual meeting hosted by the Canadian Privacy Commission.

More information on AST II is available at:

[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events

C|NET's Electronic Commerce Conference, March 20-22, 1996. FourSeasons Hotel, Newport Beach, California. Contact: (415) 395-7805 x.
165; or

1996 NY MacFair Seminar. March 23, 1996. NY Hilton Hotel, 54th Street
& 6th Avenue. Sponsored by NYMUG.

Computers Freedom and Privacy '96. March 27-30, 1996. Cambridge, Mass.
Sponsored by MIT, ACM and WWW Consortium. Contact or

Conference on Technological Assaults on Privacy, April 18-20, 1996.
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York. Papers shouldbe submitted by February 1, 1996. Contact: Wade Robison,, by FAX at (716) 475-7120, or by phone at (716)

Electronic Democracy, April 24-25, 1996. Ottawa, Ontario. Sponsoredby Riley Information Services. Contact: or

IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, May 6-8, 1996. Oakland, CA.
Sponsored by IEEE. Contact: or

Visions of Privacy for the 21st Century: A Search for Solutions. May9-11, 1996. Victoria, British Columbia. Sponsored by The Office ofInformation and Privacy Commissioner for the Province of BritishColumbia and the University of Victoria. Program at
Internet Privacy and Security Workshop. May 20-21, 1996. Haystack
Observatory, MA. Sponsored by Federal Networking Council andMIT. Contact:

InfoWarCon (Europe) '96, Defining the European Perspective. May 23-24,
1996. Brussels, Belgium. Sponsored by the National Computer SecurityAssociation. Contact:

Australasian Conference on Information Security and Privacy. June24-26, 1996. New South Wales, Australia. Sponsored by AustralasianSociety for Electronic Security and University of Wollongong.
Contact: Jennifer Seberry (

Personal Information - Security, Engineering and Ethics. 21-22 June,
1996. Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge. Sponsored by CambridgeUniversity and British Medical Association. Paper submission due 10 May1996. Contact: Ross Anderson (

Privacy Laws & Business 9th Annual Conference. July 1-3, 1996. St.
John's College, Cambridge, England. Contact: Ms. Gill Ehrlich +44 181423 1300 (tel), +44 181 423 4536 (fax).

Advanced Surveillance Technologies II. Sponsored by EPIC and PrivacyInternational. September 16, 1996. Ottawa, Canada. Contact: or

18th International Conference of Data Protection and PrivacyCommissioners. September 18-20, 1996. Ottawa, Canada. Sponsored bythe Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

(Send calendar submissions to

The EPIC Alert is a free biweekly publication of the ElectronicPrivacy Information Center. To subscribe, send email with the subject: "subscribe" (no quotes).

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The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interestresearch center in Washington, DC. It was established in 1994 to focuspublic attention on emerging privacy issues relating to the NationalInformation Infrastructure, such as the Clipper Chip, the DigitalTelephony proposal, medical record privacy, and the sale of consumerdata. EPIC is sponsored by the Fund for Constitutional Government, anon-profit organization established in 1974 to protect civil libertiesand constitutional rights. EPIC publishes the EPIC Alert, pursuesFreedom of Information Act litigation, and conducts policy research.
For more information, email, HTTP:// orwrite EPIC, 666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 301, Washington, DC20003. +1 202 544 9240 (tel), +1 202 547 5482 (fax).

If you'd like to support the work of the Electronic Privacy Information
Center, contributions are welcome and fully tax-deductible. Checks should
be made out to "The Fund for Constitutional Government" and sent to EPIC,
666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 301, Washington DC 20003.

Your contributions will help support Freedom of Information Act and First
Amendment litigation, strong and effective advocacy for the right of
privacy and efforts to oppose government regulation of encryption and
funding of the National Wiretap Plan.

Thank you for your support.

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