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   Volume 8.07                                     April 18, 2001
                            Published by the
              Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
                            Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
[1] Medical Privacy Regulations Go Forward
[2] High Court Urged Not to Review Censorship Ruling
[3] Group Explains and Examines Financial Privacy Notices
[4] ChoicePoint Sells Personal Data to FBI
[5] Study Examines Public Opinion on Privacy and FOI
[6] EPIC Bill-Track: New Bills in Congress
[7] EPIC Bookstore - Digital Copyright
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events
[1] Medical Privacy Regulations Go Forward
Last week, President George W. Bush and Health and Human Services
(HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced that there will be no delay
in the implementation of the medical privacy regulations issued in the
final weeks of the Clinton presidency.  The development of the
regulations was mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act (HIPAA), a 1996 bill that provided for the
specification of standards to facilitate the transfer of electronic
medical data.  At the time, a bi-partisan consensus recognized that
the ease of communicating medical data could result in violations of
privacy.  Accordingly, HIPAA called for privacy protections to be
formulated by Congress or HHS.
The regulations provide the first baseline federal protection for the
privacy of medical information, whether communicated electronically,
by paper, or orally.  When fully implemented in 2003, patients will
have the right to notice of privacy policies, request restrictions on
disclosure, amend their records, receive an accounting of disclosures,
and file a complaint with the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Certain provisions of the regulations fail to adequately protect
patients' privacy.  For instance, one section allows law enforcement
agents to gain access to medical information without court oversight.
Another allows marketers to contact individual patients about their
conditions in order to send commercial solicitations.  Patients must
"opt-out" of these solicitations after they are contacted by the
In March, over a dozen members of the Privacy Coalition sent a letter
urging that implementation of the privacy regulations go forward
without further delay and that the Secretary close the law enforcement
and marketing loopholes.  The Bush administration has indicated that
some provisions of the regulations are likely to be changed.  EPIC
along with other groups will monitor these changes as they occur.
Privacy Coalition Letter to Secretary Thompson:
The HIPAA Privacy Regulations are available at:
[2] High Court Urged Not to Review Censorship Ruling
EPIC has joined with the American Civil Liberties Union and the
Electronic Frontier Foundation in asking the U.S. Supreme Court not to
disturb a lower court ruling that found the Child Online Protection
Act (COPA) to be unconstitutional.  In a brief filed on April 16, the
groups oppose a petition for certiorari submitted by the Justice
Department seeking Supreme Court review of the June 2000 decision of
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.  In
that opinion, a unanimous three-judge panel expressed its belief that
the 1998 censorship law is fatally flawed.
The legislation was introduced in Congress after an earlier effort to
regulate children's access to "indecent" material, the Communications
Decency Act (CDA), was held unconstitutional by a unanimous U.S.
Supreme Court in 1997.  To date, every federal judge to consider the
legality of either CDA or COPA has found that the Internet content
regulation laws violate the First Amendment.
COPA would make it a federal crime to "knowingly" communicate "for
commercial purposes" material considered "harmful to minors" to anyone
under the age of 17.  Penalties include fines of up to $50,000 for
each day of violation and up to six months in prison.  Compliance with
COPA would require websites to obtain identification and age
verification from visitors, a feature of the law that EPIC has argued
threatens online privacy and anonymity.
In arguing against Supreme Court review, the free speech groups tell
the Court that
     COPA suffers from the very same fundamental defects that
     caused this Court to strike down the CDA as unconstitutional.
     Both statutes, in their attempt to deny minors access to
     certain speech, "effectively suppress[] a large amount of
     speech that adults have a constitutional right to receive
     and to address to one another" and are therefore
     unconstitutionally overbroad.
Complete information on the COPA litigation, including the text of the
brief opposing Supreme Court review, is available at:
[3] Group Explains and Examines Financial Privacy Notices
Over the next several months, millions of Americans will begin
receiving notices concerning the protection of their personal
financial information.  Part of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB)
requires financial institutions to send consumers yearly notices on
how their personal financial data is used.  Despite the length of most
of the notices, financial institutions are only legally required to
provide an opt-out before sharing information with unaffiliated third
parties. By July 1, 2001, every financial institution should have sent
a notice to every one of its account holders.  Most of these notices
will probably be included with monthly account statements.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) has developed a number of fact
sheets on these financial privacy notices.  "Financial Privacy: How to
Read Your 'Opt-Out' Notices" helps break down some of the key terms
likely to be used in the privacy notices.  It also provides a sample
opt-out letter so that consumers can prevent unwanted information
sharing.  PRC has also released "Lost in the Fine Print: Readability
of Financial Privacy Notices," a study examining the clarity of the
financial privacy notices.  The study found that the privacy notices,
in terms of ease of understanding, were short of current state
readability requirements for other types of documents such as
insurance policies.
In other privacy news, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) and
the Progressive Policy Institute have recently released reports on
data protection issues.  On April 12, GAO posted a report looking at
"Record Linkage and Privacy: Issues in Creating New Federal Research
and Statistical Information."  The report examines issues such as how
de-identified data may become re-identified as describing a particular
person and how various techniques may help address the privacy
concerns.  At an April 16 event hosted by George Washington
University, the Progressive Policy Institute issued "Online Privacy
and a Free Internet Striking a Balance," a report containing its
recommendation for Congressional treatment of Internet privacy.  The
report recommended limited legislation that requires websites to
provide only notice and an opt-out and would pre-empt the states'
abilities to enact stronger privacy laws on their own.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Fact Sheets (some fact sheets also
available in Spanish):
"Lost in the Fine Print: Readability of Financial Privacy Notices":
[4] ChoicePoint Sells Personal Data to FBI
As reported in the Wall Street Journal on April 13, the FBI, the IRS
and other government agencies frequently purchase information
concerning U.S. citizens from private companies.  The Privacy Act of
1974 places restrictions on the collection, use and dissemination of
personal information by government agencies only and places no
limitations on the private sector.  Therefore government agencies have
begun to rely on the huge databases that are freely maintained by
private companies in order to retrieve information -- such as
birthdates, Social Security numbers, credit histories, purchasing
habits, financial and medical records -- that they could not otherwise
legally collect.
One of the largest providers of these kinds of services is
ChoicePoint, Inc.  This publicly-owned company offers easy searching
and "look-up" services for government officials.  It even maintains
customized Web sites for the FBI, the INS and the Department of
Housing and Urban Development.
These activities (and its role in the Presidential election
controversy in Florida last year) have earned ChoicePoint a special
kind of notoriety.  At Privacy International's Big Brother Award
ceremony held in Cambridge, MA on March 7, ChoicePoint received the
"Greatest Corporate Invader" award "for massive selling of records,
accurate and inaccurate to cops, direct marketers and election
Information about Privacy International's Third Annual Big Brother
Awards is available at:
[5] Study Examines Public Opinion on Privacy and FOI
On April 3, the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the First
Amendment Center released "Freedom of Information in the Digital Age,"
a study examining the public's attitudes towards privacy and open
government.  The study concludes that further efforts to ensure open
government must take into account the public's growing focus on
privacy issues.
In one of the first series of questions, the survey found that 61
percent of those polled were very concerned about privacy.  In
comparison, 65 percent were very concerned about crime and 63 percent
were very concerned about access to health care.  In addition, the
report also found that 60 percent of those questioned thought that
public access to government records is crucial to the operation of
good government.  A variety of opinions were received in response to
questions about the types of records that should be publicly
available.  Sixty-six percent of those polled believed that the
salaries of public officials should definitely be made available,
while only 18 percent thought the same of divorce records. Also,
forty-nine percent of respondents strongly agreed that citizens have
no control over personal information in the hands of government. An
identical 49 percent strongly agreed that citizens have no control
over personal data held by the private sector.
"Freedom of Information in the Digital Age" can be downloaded from:
[6] EPIC Bill-Track: New Bills in Congress
H.R.1215 Medical Information Protection and Research Enhancement Act
of 2001. To ensure confidentiality with respect to medical records and
health care-related information, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep
Greenwood, James C. (R-PA) Latest Major Action: 3/27/2001 Referred to
House committee: House Energy and Commerce; House Judiciary.
H.R.1223 Parolee LEADS Public Safety Grant Program Act of 2001. To
make grants to States for providing information regarding parolees to
local law enforcement agencies, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep
Baca, Joe (D-CA) Latest Major Action: 3/27/2001 Referred to House
committee: House Judiciary.
H.R.1259 Computer Security Enhancement Act of 2001. To amend the
National Institute of Standards and Technology Act to enhance the
ability of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to
improve computer security, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep
Morella, Constance A. (R-MD) Latest Major Action: 3/28/2001 Referred
to House committee: House Science.
H.R.1292 Homeland Security Strategy Act of 2001. To require the
President to develop and implement a strategy for homeland security.
Sponsor: Rep Skelton, Ike (D-MO) Latest Major Action: 3/29/2001
Referred to House committee: House Armed Services; House Judiciary;
House Transportation and Infrastructure; House Select Committee on
H.R.1408 Financial Services Antifraud Network Act of 2001. To
safeguard the public from fraud in the financial services industry, to
streamline and facilitate the antifraud information-sharing efforts of
Federal and State regulators, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep
Rogers, Mike (R-MI). Latest Major Action: 4/4/2001 Referred to House
committee: House Agriculture; House Financial Services; House
H.R.1424. To amend the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse
Prevention Act to direct the Federal Trade Commission to prescribe
rules that prohibit certain deceptive and abusive recovery practices
in connection with telemarketing. Sponsor: Rep Baca, Joe (D-CA).
Latest Major Action: 4/4/2001 Referred to House committee: House
Energy and Commerce.
H.R.1478. To protect the privacy of the individual with respect to the
Social Security number and other personal information, and for other
purposes. Sponsor: Rep Kleczka, Gerald D. (D-WI). Latest Major Action:
4/4/2001 Referred to House committee: House Financial Services; House
Ways and Means.
S.630, The Can Spam Act. A bill to prohibit senders of unsolicited
commercial electronic mail from disguising the source of their
messages, to give consumers the choice to cease receiving a sender's
unsolicited commercial electronic mail messages, and for other
purposes. Sponsor: Sen Burns, Conrad R. (R-MT). Latest Major Action:
3/27/2001 Referred to Senate committee: Senate Commerce, Science, and
S.722. A bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit
telemarketers from interfering with the caller identification service
of any person to whom a telephone solicitation is made, and for other
purposes. Sponsor: Sen Frist, Bill (R-TN) Latest Major Action:
4/5/2001 Referred to Senate committee: Senate Commerce, Science, and
EPIC Bill Track: Tracking Privacy, Speech, and Cyber-Liberties Bills
in the 107th Congress, is available at:
[7] EPIC Bookstore - Digital Copyright
Digital Copyright : Protecting Intellectual Property on the Internet
by Jessica Litman
The Internet has been hailed as the most revolutionary social
development since the printing press.  In many ways its astonishing
growth has outstripped any historical analogy we can unearth.  What
has fueled much of that growth has been the explosion of new
possibilities for connections--among people, among different formerly
discrete packages of information, among ideas.  Digital media and
network connections, it is said, are the most democratic of media,
promoting free expression and access to information wherever a
computer can be hooked up to a telephone line.
In this celebration of new possibilities, we tend to emphasize the
many things that become feasible when people have ready access to
information sources and to other people not practicably available
before.  The scope and the speed of interconnected digital networks
make conversations easy that before were unimaginable.  But the
technological marvel that makes this interconnection possible has
other potential as well.  Digital technology makes it possible to
monitor, record and restrict what people look at, listen to, read and
hear.  Why, in the United States, would one want to do such a thing?
To get paid.  If someone, let's call him Fred, keeps track of what we
see and hear, that enables Fred to ensure that we pay for our sights
and sounds.  Once information is valuable, an overwhelming temptation
arises to appropriate that value, to turn it in to cash.
Now that technology permits the dissemination of information on a
pay-per-view basis, we've seen the emergence of new way of thinking
about copyright: Copyright is now seen as a tool for copyright owners
to use to extract all the potential commercial value from works of
authorship, even if that means that uses that have long been deemed
legal are now brought within the copyright owner's control.  In 1998,
copyright owners persuaded Congress to enhance their rights with a
sheaf of new legal and technological controls.  Armed with those
copyright improvements, copyright lawyers began a concerted campaign
to remodel cyberspace into a digital multiplex and shopping mall for
copyright-protected material.  The outcome of that effort is still
uncertain.  If current trends continue unabated, however, we are
likely to experience a violent collision between our expectations of
freedom of expression and the enhanced copyright law.
For other books recommended by EPIC, browse the EPIC Bookshelf at:
EPIC Publications:
"The Consumer Law Sourcebook 2000: Electronic Commerce and the Global
Economy," Sarah Andrews, editor (EPIC 2000). Price: $40.
The Consumer Law Sourcebook provides a basic set of materials for
consumers, policy makers, practitioners and researchers who are
interested in the emerging field of electronic commerce.  The focus is
on framework legislation that articulates basic rights for consumers
and the basic responsibilities for businesses in the online economy.
"Privacy & Human Rights 2000: An International Survey of Privacy Laws
and Developments," David Banisar, author (EPIC 2000).
Price: $20. http://www.epic.org/phr/
This survey, by EPIC and Privacy International, reviews the state of
privacy in over fifty countries around the world.  The survey examines
a wide range of privacy issues including, data protection, telephone
tapping, genetic databases, ID systems and freedom of information
"The Privacy Law Sourcebook 2000: United States Law, International
Law, and Recent Developments," Marc Rotenberg, editor (EPIC 2000).
Price: $40. http://www.epic.org/pls/
The "Physicians Desk Reference of the privacy world." An invaluable
resource for students, attorneys, researchers and journalists who need
an up-to-date collection of U.S. and International privacy law, as
well as a comprehensive listing of privacy resources.
"Cryptography and Liberty 2000: An International Survey of Encryption
Policy," Wayne Madsen and David Banisar, authors (EPIC 2000).
Price: $20. http://www.epic.org/crypto&/
EPIC's third survey of encryption policies around the world. The
results indicate that the efforts to reduce export controls on strong
encryption products have largely succeeded, although several
governments are gaining new powers to combat the perceived threats of
encryption to law enforcement.
"Filters and Freedom: Free Speech Perspectives on Internet Content
Controls," David Sobel, editor (EPIC 1999). Price: $20.
A collection of essays, studies, and critiques of Internet content
filtering.  These papers are instrumental in explaining why filtering
threatens free expression.
Additional titles on privacy, open government, free expression,
computer security, and crypto, as well as films and DVDs can be
ordered through the EPIC Bookstore: http://www.epic.org/bookstore/
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events
Are the Crypto Wars Over?: Privacy, Digital Security and the Future of
Encryption Policy. The Cato Institute. April 19, 2001. Washington, DC.
For more information: http://www.cato.org/events/010419bf.html
Globalizing the Rule of Law Through Information Policy. Washington
College of Law, Fund for Constitutional Government and the Government
Accountability Project. April 20, 2001. Washington, DC. For more
information: http://www.wcl.american.edu/
Beyond the Information Superhighway: Searching for the Next Policy
Metaphor. Center for Law, Commerce & Technology, University of
Washington School of Law. April 20-22, 2001. Seattle, WA. For more
information: http://www.law.washington.edu/lct/
National Summit on Electronic Privacy. The National Institute for
Government Innovation. April 23-24, 2001. Washington, DC. For more
information: http://www.nigi.org/
Privacy Under Assault: Can Encryption Safeguard the Internet? 2001
Marconi Forum on Internet Privacy, Columbia University. April 24,
2001. New York, NY. For more information:
Technology and Us - A Vision for the Future. Center for Science,
Technology & Society, Santa Clara University. April 26, 2001. Santa
Clara, CA. For more information: http://sts.scu.edu/150th/
The First Annual Privacy and Data Protection Summit. Privacy Officers
Association. May 2-4, 2001. Arlington, VA. For more information:
The 26th Annual AAAS Colloquium on Science and Technology Policy.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. May 3-4, 2001.
Washington, DC. For more information:
Surveillance, Risk, and Social Categorization. The Surveillance
Project, Queen's University. May 3-5, 2001. Kingston, Ontario CANADA.
For  more information: http://qsilver.queensu.ca/sociology/
Future of the Internet: Preserving the Internet's Openness, Freedom,
and Diversity. Center for Media Education and Center for Digital
Democracy. May 9, 2001. Washington, DC. For more information:
The Internet and State Security Forum (ISSF). Cambridge Review of
International Affairs. May 19, 2001. Cambridge, England. For more
information: http://www.cria.org.uk/
Communication Research and Policy Workshop. Ford Foundation and
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR). May 24, 2001.
Washington, DC. For more information: http://www.cpsr.org/ICA_workshop
It's the Public's Right. National Freedom of Information Coalition.
May 25-27, 2001. Newport Beach, CA. For more information:
Call for Papers - June 1, 2001. Summer 2001 Issue on Cybermedicine.
John Marshall Journal of Computer and Information Law. For more
information: 5simondo@stu.jmls.edu
The Internet Security Conference (TISC) 2001. Core Competence, Inc.
June 4-8, 2001. Los Angeles, CA. For more information:
INET 2001: A Net Odyssey, Mobility and the Internet. The 11th Annual
Internet Society Conference. June 5-8, 2001. Stockholm, Sweden. For
more information: http://www.isoc.org/inet2001/
ETHICOMP 2001: Systems of the Information Society. Telecommunications
and Informatics Technical University of Gdansk, Poland. June 18-20,
2001. Gdansk, Poland. For more information:
Democracy Forum 2001: Democracy and the Information Revolution.
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. June
27-29, 2001. Stockholm, Sweden. For more information:
Call for Papers - June 30, 20001. CEPE2001: Computer Ethics,
Philosophical Enquiries. Lancaster University (UK). Centre for Study
of Technology in Organizations, Institute for Environment, Philosophy
and Public Policy. December 14-16, 2001. For more information:
Re-shaping the Culture of Research: People, Participation,
Partnerships & Practical Tools - Fourth Annual Community Research
Network Conference. The Loka Institute. July 6-8, 2001. Austin, TX.
For more information: http://www.loka.org/
Call For Submissions - August 3, 2001. Workshop on Security and
Privacy in Digital Rights Management 2001. Eighth Association for
Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Computer and Communications
Security. November 5, 2001. For more information:
ICSC 2001: International Conference on Social Computing. University of
Bremen. October 1-3, 2001. Bremen, Germany. For more information:
Privacy2001: Information, Security & Ethics for the New Century.
Technology Policy Group. October 3-4, 2001. Cleveland, Ohio. For more
information: http://www.privacy2000.org/
Nurturing the Cybercommons, 1981-2001. Computer Professionals for
Social Responsibility (CPSR) 20th Annual Meeting. October 19-21, 2001.
Ann Arbor, MI. For more information:
Learning for the Future. Business for Social Responsibility's Ninth
Annual Conference. November 7-9, 2001. Seattle, WA. For more
information: http://www.bsr.org/events/2001.asp
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About EPIC
The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interest
research center in Washington, DC.  It was established in 1994 to
focus public attention on emerging privacy issues such as the Clipper
Chip, the Digital Telephony proposal, national ID cards, medical
record privacy, and the collection and sale of personal information.
EPIC publishes the EPIC Alert, pursues Freedom of Information Act
litigation, and conducts policy research.  For more information,
e-mail info@epic.org, http://www.epic.org or write EPIC, 1718
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Thank you for your support.
  ---------------------- END EPIC Alert 8.07 -----------------------