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EPIC Alert 6.03 [1999] EPICAlert 3 (19 February 1999)






EPIC ALERT

 
 

Volume 6.03 February 19, 1999
 
Published by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Washington, D.C.
 
http://www.epic.org 

Table of Contents

 

[1] Feds Funded Private Driver's Photo Database
[2] Groups Urge Congress to Examine Federal Databases
[3] EPIC Seeks Government Records on Intel Identifier
[4] Library Commission Rejects Internet Filtering
[5] Computers, Freedom and Privacy: Register Now
[6] EPIC Bookstore - The End of Privacy
[7] EPIC Bill-Track: New Bills in Congress
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events 


[1] Feds Funded Private Driver's Photo Database

 
The Washington Post reported on February 18 that the U.S. SecretService provided money and technical assistance to the New Hampshirecompany that purchased 22 million digital driver's license photographsfrom three states before public protests stopped the transfers (seeEPIC Alert 6.02).
 
Image Data LLC received $1.46 million in funding and technicalassistance from the Secret Service following a request by eightmembers of Congress that money be set aside in the appropriations billfor the effort. State officials who had previously supported theproject were not told of the federal funds. The support was providedin the hopes that photos could be used by law enforcement agencies tocombat terrorism, immigration abuses and other "identity crimes."
 
A state judge in South Carolina rejected a request filed by StateAttorney General Charles Condon demanding the return of 3.5 millionphotographs. Condon is currently appealing the decision. A Floridajudge blocked the transfer of photos in that state last week, andactivists in Florida and South Carolina are planning to file classaction suits.
 
EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the SecretService asking for all information relating to the database and anyother similar projects currently being pursued by the agency.
 


[2] Groups Urge Congress to Examine Federal Databases

 
EPIC joined with a diverse coalition of organizations on February 17in a letter to Congress requesting public hearings on the growth andmisuse of federal databases. The groups wrote that "the proliferationof massive federal databases with virtually no safeguards amounts to apiecemeal erosion of the American people's privacy and undermines ourcivil liberties." The request was submitted on the eve of pressdisclosures that the U.S. Secret Service was involved in a plan tobuild a national database of driver's license photographs (see above).
 
The letter, which was sent to the leadership of the House GovernmentReform Committee, said "We are concerned about proposals that thefederal government use database information, initially gathered forone purpose, for completely unrelated purposes, without the consent ofthe person to whom the data relates. Uses and content of many of thedatabases authorized by Congress, despite privacy objections, arebeing expanded without Congressional or public debate." The groupscited as examples the "New Hires" database, the national workerdatabase and the proposed national health care ID number.
 
The coalition letter proved to be very timely. The day after it wassent to Capitol Hill, news reports revealed that Congress had quietlyauthorized nearly $1.5 million in federal funds and technicalassistance to Image Data LLC of New Hampshire, a firm involved inpurchasing state driver's license photographs. The Image Data flap isjust the latest in a series of incidents that have resulted in vocalgrassroots concern over the misuse of personal information.
 
The text of the coalition letter to Congress is available at:
 
http://www.epic.org/privacy/databases/joint_letter_2_99.html 


[3] EPIC Seeks Government Records on Intel Identifier

 
EPIC has filed a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requeststo federal agencies requesting documentation of any role thegovernment may have played in persuading Intel Corporation to includea Processor Serial Number (PSN) in each of its Pentium III chips (seeEPIC Alert 6.02). The requests were submitted to more than a dozenagencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the NationalSecurity Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department ofCommerce and various Pentagon components.
 
Government involvement in the Intel PSN decision would not beunprecedented. FOIA requests filed by EPIC in 1993 revealed that theJustice Department pressured AT&T to install the controversial ClipperChip in the company's secure telephone unit, rather than a DES chipthat did not provide law enforcement with "spare key" access toencrypted communications. The Department also assured AT&T that itwould purchase a substantial number of the wiretap-friendly devices;
DOJ ended up buying 10,000 Clipper phones, with only a handfulpurchased by other buyers.
 
As a major purchaser of desktop computers, the federal governmentcould have similar influence with respect to hardware features likethe PSN. Law enforcement agencies -- most notably the FBI -- haveexpressed a strong interest in encouraging the development oftechnical means to identify Internet users and limit the ability tocommunicate anonymously. The PSN has been widely criticized as apotentially invasive tool that would significantly damage onlineprivacy.
 
More information on the Pentium III and the PSN is available at:
 
http://www.bigbrotherinside.com/
 


[4] Library Commission Rejects Internet Filtering

 
In a significant setback for proponents of mandatory filteringsoftware in public libraries, the National Commission on Libraries andInformation Science (NCLIS) has recommended the adoption of locallibrary "acceptable use" policies rather than national filteringrequirements. The recommendation follows an NCLIS public hearing lastNovember that was dominated by library filtering proponents andfeatured descriptions of the "dark side of the Internet." Despite therhetoric of the hearing, the NCLIS findings adopt many of theapproached suggested by EPIC and other members of the Internet FreeExpression Alliance in a joint submission to the Commission lastDecember, noting that "decisions must be local ones, based on theculture, customs and character of each community."
 
"NCLIS believes that libraries and their governing boards can takeeffective action at the local level to mitigate the perils facingchildren using the Internet," the Commission concluded. "Thus, theCommission recommends strongly that each library have a written'acceptable use policy,' approved by its governing structure andreviewed periodically to adjust to the continuous changes in theInternet."
 
Notably, the NCLIS's mandate is to advise the President and Congresson library and information policy. The only pending legislation inCongress addressing the issue is contrary to the Commission'srecommendations. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Bob Franks (R-NJ)
have introduced bills that would require libraries and schools toinstall filtering software as a condition of receiving federalInternet funds.
 
The NCLIS recommendations (in PDF format) are available at:
 
http://www.nclis.gov/info/kid_inter.pdf 
The Internet Free Expression Alliance submission to the Commission isavailable at:
 
http://www.ifea.net/joint_nclis_statement.html 


[5] Computers, Freedom and Privacy: Register Now

 
[Circulate until March 15, 1999]
 
Register now for the cyber event of the year:
 
 
C COMPUTERS, FREEDOM, AND PRIVACY F THE GLOBAL INTERNET P 9 WASHINGTON, DC 9 Omni Shoreham Hotel . April 6-8, 1999 O R G 
For almost a decade, the conference on Computers, Freedom andPrivacy has shaped the public debate on the futureof privacy and freedom in the online world. Register now for thenumber one Internet policy conference. Join a diverse audience fromgovernment, industry, academics, the non-profit sector, the hackercommunity and the media. Enjoy the U.S. Capital in the Spring at oneof Washington's premier hotels.
 
* Keynote speakers include Tim Berners-Lee (Director, World Wide Web Consortium), Vint Cerf (President, Internet Society),
Congressman Ed Markey (sponsor of "The Electronic Bill of Rights Act"), Congressman Ron Paul (sponsor of the Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act), Henrikas Yushkiavitshus (Associate Director, UNESCO)
 
* Lively and thought-provoking panels on -- "the Creation of a Global Surveillance Network," "Access and Equity on the Global Internet," "Anonymity and Identity in Cyberspace," "Free Speech and Cyber Censorship," "Is Escrow Dead? And what is Wassenaar?", "Self-Regulation Reconsidered" and more 
* Tutorials -- "The Electronic Communications Privacy Act" (Mark Eckenwiler); "Cryptography: Basic Overview & Nontraditional Uses" (Matt Blaze and Phil Zimmermann), "Free Speech, The Constitution and Privacy in Cyberspace" (Mike Godwin),
"Techniques for Circumventing Internet Censorship" (Bennett Haselton and Brian Ristuccia)
 
Early Registration Deadline - March 15, 1999
 
Register on-line at http://www.regmaster.com/cfp99.html or call +1 407628 3602. Registration inquiries may also be sent tomannregmaster.com.
 
- Mark the dates - April 6-8, 1999 
- Note the place - Washington, DC 
- Make your hotel reservations.
 
See you at CFP99.
 
For more information about CFP99, visit http://www.cfp99.org/ or call+1 401 628 3186 
Sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery 


[6] EPIC Bookstore - The End of Privacy

 
Just off the presses is a new book by Canadian political scienceprofessor Reg Whitaker that has been generating a buzz in the privacycommunity and beyond.
 
The End of Privacy: How Total Surveillance is Becoming a Reality byReg Whitaker (http://www.epic.org/bookstore/amazon_books.html).
 
Hailed as "a brilliant portrayal and analysis of the dangers of thenew information technology," The End of Privacy examines the causesand implications of today's surveillance, which is no longer the solemonopoly of the state. Whitaker ably makes the point that we havemuch to fear from the private sector, where computers can monitor ourwork lives, spy satellites can track our every move, private e-mailcan be read and huge dossiers of personal information can be createdthat are far more intrusive than the files formerly built up by statepolice and security agencies.
 
Whitaker's writing is clear and intelligent, and what he has to say isthought provoking. Highly recommended.
 
This and other book titles and videos are available for purchaseonline at the EPIC Bookstore:
 
http://www.epic.org/bookstore/
 


[7] EPIC Bill-Track: New Bills in Congress

 
* House Bills *
 
H.R. 438. Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999.
Mandates location information for cellular phones for 911 calls.
Limits use of information. Sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL).
Referred to the House Committee on Commerce on 2/2/99. SubcommitteeHearings Held on 2/3/99. Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by VoiceVote on 2/11/99.
 
H.R. 448. Patient Protection Act of 1999. Sets rules onconfidentiality of health care information. Sponsored by Rep. MichaelBilirakis (R-FL). Referred to the Committee on Commerce, and inaddition to the Committees on Education and the Workforce, Ways andMeans, and the Judiciary.
 
H.R. 514. Wireless Privacy Enhancement Act of 1999. Prohibitsinterception of wireless communications, scanners. Sponsored by Rep.
Heather Wilson (R-NM). Referred to the Committee on Commerce. Referredto the House Committee on Commerce on 2/2/99. Subcommittee HearingsHeld on 2/3/99. Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by Voice Vote on2/11/99.
 
H.R. 516. Know Your Customer' Sunset Act. Prohibits government fromimplementing the "Know Your Customer" rules. Sponsored by Rep. RonPaul (R-TX). Referred to the Committee on Banking and FinancialServices.
 
H.R. 517. FinCen Public Accountability Act. Requires FinCen to besubject to the Privacy Act. Sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).
Referred to the Committee on Banking and Financial Services , and inaddition to the Committee on Government Reform.
 
H.R. 518. Bank Secrecy Sunset Act. Prohibits government fromimplimenting the "Know Your Customer" rules, ends provisions of BankSecrecy Act that requires disclosure of info to government. Sponsoredby Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). Referred to the Committee on Banking andFinancial Services.
 
H.R. 522. Parent-Child Privilege Act of 1999. Creates new privilegefor parent-child communications to prevent their use in court cases.
Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
 
H.R. 530. American Financial Institutions' Privacy Act. Prohibits KnowYour Customer Regulations for going into effect without Act ofCongress. Sponsored by Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) and Majority Whip TomDeLay (R-TX). Referred to the Committee on Banking and FinancialServices.
 
H.R. 543. Children's Internet Protection Act. Requires theinstallation and use by schools and libraries of a technology forfiltering or blocking material on the Internet on computers withInternet access to be eligible to receive or retain universal serviceassistance. Sponsored by Rep. Bob Franks (R-NJ). Referred to the HouseCommittee on Commerce.
 
H.R. 545. SSI Fraud Prevention Act of 1999. Expands access to state,
bank, and Medicare information for data matching purposes. Sponsoredby Rep. Nancy L. Johnson (R-CT). Referred to the House Committee onWays and Means.
 
H.R. 575. Know Your Customer Regulations Termination Act. Prohibitsgovernment from implimenting the "Know Your Customer" rules. Sponsoredby Rep. Richard H. Baker (R-LA). Referred to the Committee on Bankingand Financial Services.
 
H.R. 621. Know Your Customer Program Abolishment Act. Prohibitsgovernment from implimenting the "Know Your Customer" rules. Sponsoredby Rep. Van Hilleary (R-TN). Referred to the Committee on Banking andFinancial Services.
 
H.R. 631. SSI Fraud Prevention Act of 1999. Expands access to state,
bank, and Medicare information for data matching purposes. Sponsoredby Rep. Nancy L. Johnson (R-CT). Referred to the House Committee onWays and Means.
 
H.R. 640. To authorize appropriations for the United States CustomsCybersmuggling Center. Creates Customs Service center to fight childporn. Sponsored by Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX). Referred to the Committeeon Ways and Means.
 
H.R. 649. Real Estate Transaction Privacy Promotion Act. Prohibits alender from requiring a borrower in a residential mortgage transactionto provide the lender with unlimited access to the borrower's taxreturn information. Sponsored by Rep. Lynn N. Rivers (D-MI). Referredto the Committee on Banking and Financial Services.
 
H. R. 654. Congressional Research Accessibility Act. Makes reports ofthe Congressional Research Service available directly to the public inelectronic form. Sponsored by Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT). Referredto the House Committee on House Administration.
 
* Senate Bills *
 
S. 393. Congressional Openness Act. To provide Internet access toCongressional documents, including certain Congressional ResearchService publications, Senate lobbying and gift report filings, andSenate and Joint Committee documents. Sponsored by Sen. John McCain(R-AZ). Referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration.
 
S. 403. Prohibits implementation of "Know Your Customer" regulationsby the Federal banking agencies. Sponsored by Sen. Wayne Allard(R-CO). Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and UrbanAffairs.
 
More information on pending bills is available at:
 
http://www.epic.org/privacy/bill_track.html 


[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events

 
FC '99: Third Annual Conference on Financial Cryptography. February22-25, 1999. Anguilla, B.W.I. Contact: http://fc99.ai/
 
Electronic Commerce and Privacy Legislation -- Building Trust andConfidence. February 23, 1999. Ottawa, Canada. Sponsored by RileyInformation Services. http://www.rileyis.com/seminars/Feb99/
 
Communitarian Summit. February 27-28, 1999. Arlington, Virginia.
Contact: http://www.gwu.edu/~ccps 
1999 ASAP Western Regional FOIA and Privacy Training Conference.
February 28 - March 3, 1999. Portland, Oregon. Contact:
http://www.podi.com/asap/
 
CYBERSPACE 1999: Crime, Criminal Justice and the Internet. March 29 &
30, 1999. York, UK. Sponsored by the British and Irish Legal EducationTechnology Association (BILETA). http://www.bileta.ac.uk/
 
Computers, Freedom and Privacy (CFP) '99. April 6-8, 1999. Washington,
DC. Sponsored by ACM. Call for proposals available. Contact:
http://www.cfp99.org/
 
Encryption Controls Workshop. May 13, 1999. Raleigh, NC. Sponsored bythe U.S. Dep't of Commerce. Contact: (202) 482-6031 
1999 EPIC Cryptography and Privacy Conference. June 14, 1999.
Washington, DC. Sponsored by EPIC. Contact: infoepic.org 
Cryptography & International Protection of Human Rights (CIPHR'99).
August 9-13, 1999. Lake Balaton, Hungary. Contact:
http://www.cryptorights.org/
 

Subscription Information

 
The EPIC Alert is a free biweekly publication of the ElectronicPrivacy Information Center. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send emailto epic-newsepic.org with the subject: "subscribe" (no quotes) or"unsubscribe". A Web-based form is available at:
 
http://www.epic.org/alert/subscribe.html 
Back issues are available at:
 
http://www.epic.org/alert/
 

About EPIC

 
The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interest researchcenter in Washington, DC. It was established in 1994 to focus publicattention on emerging privacy issues such as the Clipper Chip, theDigital Telephony proposal, national ID cards, medical record privacy,
and the collection and sale of personal information. EPIC is sponsoredby the Fund for Constitutional Government, a non-profit organizationestablished in 1974 to protect civil liberties and constitutionalrights. EPIC publishes the EPIC Alert, pursues Freedom of InformationAct litigation, and conducts policy research. For more information,
e-mail infoepic.org, http://www.epic.org or write EPIC, 666Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20003. +1 202 544 9240(tel), +1 202 547 5482 (fax).
 
If you'd like to support the work of the Electronic Privacy InformationCenter, contributions are welcome and fully tax-deductible. Checksshould be made out to "The Fund for Constitutional Government" and sentto EPIC, 666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20003.
 
Your contributions will help support Freedom of Information Act andFirst Amendment litigation, strong and effective advocacy for the rightof privacy and efforts to oppose government regulation of encryptionand expanding wiretapping powers.
 
Thank you for your support.
 
END EPIC Alert 6.03







 



 
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