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   Volume 4.07	                                   May 8, 1997
                            Published by the
              Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
                            Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
[1] House Subcommittee Approves Encryption Bill
[2] EPIC Testifies on SSA Privacy
[3] White House Task Force Issues Privacy Paper
[4] Global Coalition Protests German CompuServe Prosecution
[5] Digital Wiretapping Update
[6] Become a Statistic -- WWW Survey Now Underway
[7] New Compilation of Privacy Laws
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events
[1] House Subcommittee Approves Encryption Bill
On April 30, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and
Intellectual Property approved the Security and Freedom Through
Encryption (SAFE) Act, legislation designed to liberalize export
controls and affirm the right of Americans to use encryption.
Prior to the subcommittee action, a broad-based coalition of 27
organizations expressed support for the legislation but urged
reconsideration of a provision that would criminalize the use of
encryption "in furtherance of the commission of a criminal
offense." The Internet Privacy Coalition members wrote that,
"While well-intended, the provision could have a series of
unintended consequences that would easily undermine the other
desirable features of the bill."
During the subcommittee deliberations, Rep. Zoe Lofgren noted the
coalition letter and expressed her concern with the
criminalization provision.  She said she wants to accommodate the
concerns raised by the coalition before the full Committee finally
acts on the bill (expected within the next two weeks).
Subcommittee Chair Howard Coble indicated his willingness to work
with Rep. Lofgren and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (principal sponsor of the
SAFE Act) to address the issue at the full Committee level.
Sen. Bob Kerrey, an opponent of the Pro-CODE crypto liberalization
bill now pending in the Senate, has announced his intention to
introduce his own legislation in the next few days.  The Kerrey
bill is expected to closely track draft legislation floated by the
Clinton administration earlier this year.
The text of the Internet Privacy Coalition letter is available at:
[2] EPIC Testifies on SSA Privacy
The House Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on May 6
to discuss public concerns about the availability of earnings
statements at the web site of the Social Security Administration.
The service was suspended on April 9 following a front-page story
in USA Today.
The SSA continues to make the Personal Earnings and Benefits
Estimate Statements (PEBES) available by mail, by phone, and in
response to requests over the Internet though statements are then
sent by U.S. mail.
Witnesses before the Social Security Subcommittee included the
Acting Commissioner of the SSA, the SSA Inspector General, an
official from the General Accounting Office, Privacy Times
publisher Evan Hendricks, representatives of the Junior Chamber of
Commerce, and EPIC Director Marc Rotenberg.
A series of Public Forums are scheduled over the next two months
to solicit public comment and to provide opportunities for
technical experts, computer experts, and others to give guidance
to the SSA. The Washington, DC field hearing, which is being
sponsored by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, will be
held on June 16 at Georgetown University Law Center.
EPIC's testimony on SSA and privacy is available at:
More information about the SSA Public Forums and opportunities for
public comment may be found at:
[3] White House Task Force Issues Privacy Paper
An interagency task force has released "Options for Promoting
Privacy in the National Information Infrastructure."  The policy
paper considers a range of privacy options for the federal
government and the private sector, including the creation of a
federal privacy agency.  Notably, the paper looks beyond the
popular "notice and consent" mantra and examines the strengths and
weaknesses of privacy safeguards in the United States.
The report was prepared by the Information Policy Committee of the
National Information Infrastructure Task Force and released by the
Office of Management and Budget.  It explores the growing public
concern about personal information privacy and describes the lack
of protection for electronic data transactions and the absence of
fair information practices in the United States today.  The paper
looks in more detail at the laws and policies affecting
information privacy in four specific areas: government records;
communications; medical records; and the consumer market.
The Options Paper is the most comprehensive review of privacy laws
and shortcomings in U.S. privacy safeguards produced so far by the
Administration, though certain key issues were avoided and others
not well described.  For example, the OMB paper purposefully
ducked discussion of the encryption issue, even as it set out to
describe options for promoting privacy on the Internet.
The OMB paper also touched only briefly and mistakenly on the
issue of anonymity, raising concerns about Internet security.  In
fact, anonymity is one of the popular solutions to on-line privacy
concerns and will also play an important role in the emergence of
electronic payment systems.
In both areas, the reluctance of the White House to come to terms
with the important role of encryption in protecting online privacy
has once again created a flawed policy analysis.  But the authors
of the report are to be commended for their efforts, given the
political constraints that continue to hobble national policy-
making in the privacy arena.
Comments can be sent to: BERNSTEIN__M@A1.EOP.GOV before June 25.
The paper is available at:
[4] Global Coalition Protests German CompuServe Prosecution
Members of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC) have
written to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl protesting the
prosecution of the managing director of CompuServe's Germany
office for allowing members to access pornography over the
Internet.  The letter states the prosecution of the online service
manager is "ill-advised for both technical and regulatory reasons"
and will "have a harmful impact on Internet users around the
world."  The groups said that "the charges against CompuServe will
establish a harmful precedent, and may encourage other governments
to censor speech, limit political debate, control artistic
expression, and otherwise deny the opportunity for individuals to
be fully informed."
The coalition letter also expressed support for efforts now
underway in the German parliament to liberalize the use of the
Internet. "We believe that the measure now under consideration to
reduce liability for Internet services will do much to ensure the
protection of personal freedoms in the future," said the
The organizations signing the letter included EPIC, the American
Civil Liberties Union, Arge Daten, Association des Utilisateurs
d'Internet, Derechos Human Rights, the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, Human Rights Watch, the Internet Society, and Privacy
Additional information is available at the EPIC International
Censorship Page:
and at the Global Internet Liberty Campaign website:
[5] Digital Wiretapping Update
The FBI filed a notice in the Federal Register on May 6 requesting
comments on implementation of the Communications Assistance for
Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).  The notice responds to earlier
comments submitted by telephone carriers relating to the scope of
the FBI's demand for increased wiretapping capacity.
In the last Congress, after several years of refusing to fund
CALEA, Congress appropriated $60 million for implementation.  It
also authorized the creation of a "Telecommunications Carrier
Compliance Fund" that could receive money from law enforcement and
intelligence agencies.  However, Congress required that the FBI
provide an implementation plan before the funds could be spent. In
March, the Bureau issued the required plan. The telephone
companies have objected to the FBI's proposal, citing issues such
as the requirement that cellular phones be able to track location
information for individuals, and the amount of funding required to
make the required changes to the telecommunications network.
More information on the Digital Telephony issue is available at:
The ACLU has set up a free Internet-based fax service for
individuals who wish to contact their member of Congress to
express opposition to funding the Digital Telephony program. The
URL is:
[6] Become a Statistic -- WWW Survey Now Underway
The Graphics, Visualization & Usability Center's Seventh WWW User
Survey is now underway.  Express your views on Web usage, consumer
preferences, politics, privacy, and more.  The survey runs through
May 10, so act now!
The GVU Survey is the oldest and largest Web-based survey, and is
administered as a public service to the Web community by the GVU
Center -- an academic research center affiliated with Georgia
Tech's College of Computing.  The collected results have been
widely cited in all forms of the popular media as well as academic
and government circles.  Previous surveys have shown that strong
majorities of Internet users support online privacy and the right
to communicate anonymously.
The GVU Survey is located at:
Also, visit the EPIC Public Opinion page for information on
previous GVU polls and other privacy surveys:
[7] New Compilation of Privacy Laws
The Privacy Journal has published the 1997 edition of its
"Compilation of State and Federal Privacy Laws."  First published
in 1975, this compilation is the most comprehensive source of
information on privacy legislation in the United States and
Canada.  The compilation includes sections on bank records,
medical records, polygraph tests, Social Security numbers and
credit reports.
Copies of the compilation are available from the Privacy Journal,
P.O. Box 28577, Providence, RI 02908, for $31 and a $4 handling
fee.  Information is available via e-mail at
0005101719@mcimail.com or by telephone at +1 401 274 7861.
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events
Culture and Democracy revisited in the Global Information Society.
May 8 - 10, 1997. Corfu, Greece. Sponsored by IFIP-WG9.2/9.5.
Contact: http://www.math.aegean.gr/english/events/econf/ecnew/ewc97.htm
Scrambling for Safety: Privacy, security and commercial
implications of the DTI's proposed encryption policy. May 19,
1997. London, UK. Sponsored by Privacy International, Global
Internet Liberty Campaign and London School of Economics. Contact:
Guns, Ammunition and Cryptography: Is the Federal Government's
Policy on Encryption Creating a Crisis? May 22, 1997. New York,
NY. Sponsored by the Association of the Bar of the City of New
York. Contact: dcohen@bway.net
Privacy and the Corporate World: Private Practices or Legislation?
June 2, 1997, Metro Toronto Convention Services, Riley Information
Services Inc. and other sponsors. Contact: http://www.rileyis.com/
CYBER://CON.97: Rules for Cyberspace?: Governance, Standards and
Control. June 4 - 7, 1997. Chicago, Illinois. Sponsored by the
John Marshall Law School. Contact: cyber97@jmls.edu.
Ethics in the Computer Society: The Second Annual Ethics and
Technology Conference. June 6-7, 1997. Chicago, Ill. Sponsored by
Loyola University Chicago. http://www.math.luc.edu/ethics97
Public Workshop on Consumer Privacy. June 10-13, 1997. Washington,
DC. Sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission. Contact:
Cyberpayments 97. June 19-20, 1997. Washington, DC. Sponsored by
NACHA. Contact: http://www.nacha.org
INET 97 -- The Internet: The Global Frontiers. June 24-27, 1997.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Sponsored by the Internet Society.
Contact: inet97@isoc.org or http://www.isoc.org/inet97
Privacy Laws & Business 10th Anniversary Conference. July 1-3,
1997. St. John's College, Cambridge, England. Contact:
4th Annual Privacy Issues Forum., July 10-11, 1997. Auckland, New
Zealand. Sponsored by NZ Privacy Commissioner. Contact: Terry
Debenham, Fax +649-302  2305 or email privacy@iprolink.co.nz.
Communities, Culture, Communication, and Computers (C**5): On the
Role of Professionals in the Information Age.  August 20-22, 1997.
Paderborn, Germany. Sponsored by FIFF. Contact:
AST3: Cryptography and Internet Privacy. Sept. 15, 1997. Brussels,
Belgium. Sponsored by Privacy International. Contact:
pi@privacy.org. http://www.privacy.org/pi/conference/brussels/
19th Annual International Privacy and Data Protection Conference.
Sept. 17-18, 1997. Brussels, Belgium. Sponsored by Belgium Data
Protection and Privacy Commission.
International Conference on Privacy. September 23-26, 1997.
Montreal, Canada. Sponsored by the Commission d'Acces a
l'information du Quebec. http://www.confpriv.qc.ca/
Managing the Privacy Revolution '97. October 21-23, 1997.
Washington, DC. Sponsored by Privacy and American Business.
Contact: http://shell.idt.net/~pab/conf97.html
             (Send calendar submissions to alert@epic.org)
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The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interest
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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
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If you'd like to support the work of the Electronic Privacy
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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.
---------------------- END EPIC Alert 4.07 -----------------------

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