EPIC logo

       @@@@  @@@@  @@@  @@@@      @    @     @@@@  @@@@  @@@@@
       @     @  @   @   @        @ @   @     @     @  @    @
       @@@@  @@@    @   @       @@@@@  @     @@@   @@@     @
       @     @      @   @       @   @  @     @     @  @    @
       @@@@  @     @@@  @@@@    @   @  @@@@  @@@@  @   @   @
   Volume 8.09                                       May 17, 2001
                            Published by the
              Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
                            Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
[1] European Union Considering Data Retention Requirements
[2] WA State Court Finds Compelling Interest in Protecting SSNs
[3] Court Decisions Uphold Financial Privacy Protections
[4] "Cyber Security" FOIA Exemption Likely to Resurface
[5] House Hearing Examines Public Perceptions of Privacy
[6] EPIC Bill-Track: New Bills in Congress
[7] EPIC Bookstore - Filters & Freedom 2.0
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events
[1] European Union Considering Data Retention Requirements
A new report by Statewatch, a London-based civil liberties research
group, says that the Council of the European Union is preparing to
back police agency proposals to require the retention of all telephone
calls, e-mails, faxes, and Internet activity for up to seven years.
The proposal seeks a review of existing EU laws on data protection and
privacy to meet the demands of law enforcement agencies for access to
all telecommunications content and traffic data.  The report is based
upon documents obtained by Statewatch reflecting the deliberations of
the Council's Working Party on Police Cooperation.
A November 2000 memorandum from the Working Party states, "It is
impossible for investigation services to know in advance which traffic
data will prove useful in a criminal investigation.  The only
effective national legislative measure would therefore be to prohibit
the erasure or anonymity of traffic data."  Existing EU legislation
requires police agencies to obtain permission each time they seek to
intercept electronic communications or search for evidence during
investigations.  The existing laws also restrict the length of time
that service providers can keep data before it must be destroyed.
Previous efforts to grant sweeping investigative powers to European
law enforcement agencies have been defeated due to objections from the
EU Data Protection Commissioners and public opposition.  Early drafts
of the Council of Europe's Cybercrime Convention included data
retention requirements that have been scaled back in more recent
drafts (see EPIC Alert 8.06).  The European Commission's Justice and
Home Affairs Council is scheduled to debate the most recent data
retention proposal on May 28.
The European Commission has recently published a new guide entitled
"Data Protection in the European Union."  Among other principles, the
guide notes that, under the EU Data Directive, "data that identifies
individuals must not be kept longer than necessary."
The Statewatch report on surveillance of telecommunications in Europe
is available at:
The guide, "Data Protection in the European Union," is available at:
[2] WA State Court Finds Compelling Interest in Protecting SSNs
A Washington State Court has found a compelling interest in protecting
Social Security numbers (SSNs) from public dissemination, and has
ordered a website operator to remove lawfully obtained SSNs from an
Internet site.  In City of Kirkland v. Sheehan, a website operator
posted police officers' personal information on Justicefiles.org, an
Internet site critical of law enforcement.  The personal information
included names, addresses, phone numbers, and Social Security numbers.
The court found that the site operator posted the information "to
cause at least some degree of fear and apprehension in the minds of
law enforcement personnel."  The website operator promised to remove
the personal information if the officers' departments would adopt
civilian police oversight boards.
The City of Kirkland brought suit to enjoin the website operator from
posting the officers' personal information, alleging that the activity
invaded the officers' privacy interests.  The web site operator
claimed a First Amendment right to post the personal information,
which apparently had been culled from public records.
The King County Superior Court allowed the website operator to
continue posting the names, addresses, and other information relating
to the police officers.  The court held that the First Amendment
protected the publication of lawfully obtained personal information
for political purposes, absent a credible specific threat of harm.
However, the court enjoined the site operator from publishing the
officers' Social Security numbers.  The court reasoned that SSNs,
unlike names and addresses, do not "facilitate or promote substantive
communication."  Further, access to Social Security numbers allows
others to "obtain access to and to control, manipulate or alter other
personal information."  Accordingly, the court held that the
government has a compelling interest in preventing the dissemination
of SSNs that overrides the operator's right to publish.
The decision in City of Kirkland v. Sheehan is available at:
[3] Court Decisions Uphold Financial Privacy Protections
In a significant blow to the information selling industry, U.S.
District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle on April 30 issued a decision
upholding regulations restricting the sale of personal information by
credit reporting agencies and information brokers.
The case arose after the FTC and five other regulatory agencies,
following the directive of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB),
promulgated regulations to restrict the distribution of "credit
headers" -- the information such as name, address, and Social Security
number that appears at the top of a credit report.  The FTC found that
such protections are required because this data is often used by
financial institutions when providing or offering financial products
to consumers.  Therefore, following the regulations, credit reporting
agencies and credit bureaus that compile databases on consumers are
required to provide notice and opt-out before purchasing or selling
this information.
Information brokers, represented by plaintiffs Trans Union and
Individual References Services Group (IRSG), challenged the
regulations as outside the scope of the agencies' rulemaking
authority and unconstitutional.  Judge Huvelle followed precedent of
administrative law by deferring to the agencies' clarification of
"personally identifiable financial information," the definition in
question during the rulemaking.  She similarly disposed of the
plaintiffs' First Amendment freedom of speech argument, holding that
the speech in question was not of public concern because credit header
information "consists of information of interest solely to the speaker
and the client audience."  Therefore, under a lower level of scrutiny
than that required by speech of public concern, the regulations
directly advanced a substantial governmental interest: "to protect the
privacy of consumers -- particularly the security and confidentiality
of their nonpublic personal information."
Because GLB expressly exempts the dissemination of nonpublic personal
information in order to prevent fraud or to comply with a civil,
criminal or administrative order or ruling, uses that are legitimately
"of public concern" -- such as prevention of identity fraud and
conformation with court orders -- are not subject to a notice and
opt-out.  In combination with a recent ruling against Trans Union
upholding an FTC restriction on the sale of target marketing lists,
these cases signal that federal privacy rules protect a substantial
governmental interest and will likely withstand legal challenges from
the information broker industry.
Individual References Services Group, Inc. v. Federal Trade
Commission, et. al.:
Trans Union Corporation v. Federal Trade Commission:
[4] "Cyber Security" FOIA Exemption Likely to Resurface
Two members of Congress have recently announced plans to introduce
legislation that would exempt information concerning "cyber security"
and "critical infrastructure protection" from the disclosure
requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  Rep. Tom Davis
(R-VA) plans to reintroduce a bill to protect such information shared
by private companies with federal agencies.  The new bill would likely
be modeled after the Cyber Security Information Act, which Davis
co-sponsored last year with Rep. James Moran (D-VA).  It would create
a specific FOIA for information companies share with federal
organizations such as the Federal Computer Incident Response Center,
the coordinating center for civilian agencies on cyberattack alerts
and analysis, and the National Infrastructure Protection Center at the
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) has announced plans to introduce a similar
bill in the Senate.  Some private companies and trade associations
have been lobbying for an exemption to cover information provided to
the government that relates to weaknesses and vulnerabilities in their
computer systems. Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 63, signed by
President Clinton in May 1998, identified as "critical infrastructure"
systems such as those that run the nation's electric power grid and
telecommunications networks. PDD-63 requires federal agencies to
coordinate efforts to secure those systems, most of which are under
the control of the private sector.
In Congressional testimony last year, EPIC General Counsel David Sobel
said the Cyber Security Information Act was unneeded because existing
law adequately protects security information submitted by the private
sector. He warned that "the proposed exemption would hide from the
public essential information about critically important -- and
potentially controversial -- government activities undertaken in
partnership with the private sector."
EPIC's testimony on the Cyber Security Information Act is available at:
Resources on Critical Infrastructure Protection are available at:
[5] House Hearing Examines Public Perceptions of Privacy
On May 8, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer
Protection convened a hearing on "Opinion Surveys: What Consumers Have
To Say About Information Privacy."  Hearing panelists included
representatives from the Gallup Poll, the Pew Internet & American Life
Project, Privacy and American Business, the Harris Poll and opinion
research firm Wirthlin Worldwide.
In his written testimony, Dr. Frank Newport of the Gallup Poll
presented a survey of Internet users in which about half of those
polled said that the federal government should be doing more to
protect privacy online, a third approved of the current approach and
only thirteen percent thought the government should be doing less.
In addition, the Gallup poll found that about sixty-three percent of
Internet users are "very concerned" about government surveillance of
e-mail communications and that a nearly equal sixty percent were
similarly concerned about online databases of personal information.
The testimony of Humphrey Taylor of the Harris Poll presented polls
stating that ninety-four percent of Internet users want companies to
ask for their permission before their data is used for any other
purpose than what it was originally provided.  Also, the Harris polls
found that eighty-seven percent of Internet users want companies to
explain what information is collected from them and how it is to be
used, eighty-two percent want to be able to see the information
companies have stored about them and eighty-two percent want to know
how their data is secured in transmission and storage.  Dr. Alan
Westin of Privacy and American Business added in his testimony that
consumers report that their views on privacy come from their own
experiences, as well as those of their family and friends.  He also
noted that privacy now "scores as one of the top consumer and
social-policy issues in the U.S."
In related privacy news, European Commissioner Bolkestein, in a May 11
press conference, stated that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) does
not adequately compare to privacy protection guaranteed to EU citizens
by the EU Data Protection Directive.  Bush Administration officials
and representatives of the financial industry have been seeking an
adequacy determination for the past year.  Now that GLB has been found
inadequate, and given that the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor agreement does not
accomodate financial institutions, the only other route of compliance
with the EU Directive for the financial industry is the adoption of
model contractual clauses.  The European Commission is currently
proceeding with its model contract clauses despite earlier Bush
Administration criticisms (see EPIC Alert 8.06).  Internal Market
Commissioner John Mogg replied to those criticisms by noting that Bush
Administration officials' letter did "not specify what difficulties
you have with the text, but you refer to the objections raised by
business organisations" and added that other proposed model contracts
can be presented to the European Commission for approval at a later
Written testimony and an archived audio recording of the May 8 House
hearing on "Opinion Surveys: What Consumers Have To Say About
Information Privacy" are available at:
Information about the European Commission's draft decision on model
contract clauses, including replies to letters sent by business
organizations and the U.S. government is available at:
[6] EPIC Bill-Track: New Bills in Congress
H.R.1655 Personal Pictures Protection Act of 2001. To amend title 18,
United States Code, to punish the placing of sexual explicit
photographs on the Internet without the permission of the persons
photographed. Sponsor: Rep Green, Mark (R-WI). Latest Major Action:
5/1/2001 Referred to House committee: House Judiciary.
H.R.1800 Upper Mississippi River Basin Conservation Act of 2001. To
establish the Upper Mississippi River Stewardship Initiative to
monitor and reduce sediment and nutrient loss in the Upper Mississippi
River. Sponsor: Rep Kind, Ron (D-WI). Latest Major Action: 5/10/2001
Referred to House committee: House Agriculture; House Resources.
S.718 Amateur Sports Integrity Act. A bill to direct the National
Institute of Standards and Technology to establish a program to
support research and training in methods of detecting the use of
performance-enhancing drugs by athletes, and for other purposes. The
Internet gambling section of the bill requires institutions of higher
education to monitor Internet communications. Sponsor: Sen McCain,
John (R-AZ). Latest Major Action: 5/14/2001 Placed on Senate
Legislative Calendar under General Orders.
S.803 E-Government Act of 2001. A bill to enhance the management and
promotion of electronic Government services and processes by
establishing a Federal Chief Information Officer within the Office of
Management and Budget, and by establishing a broad framework of
measures that require using Internet-based information technology to
enhance citizen access to Government information and services, and for
other purposes. Sponsor: Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. (D-CT) - Latest
Major Action: 5/1/2001 Referred to Senate committee: Senate
Governmental Affairs.
S.840 Law Enforcement Discipline, Accountability, and Due Process Act
of 2001. A bill to amend title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe
Streets Act of 1968 to provide standards and procedures to guide both
State and local law enforcement agencies and law enforcement officers
during internal investigations, interrogation of law enforcement
officers, and administrative disciplinary hearings, to ensure
accountability of law enforcement officers, to guarantee the due
process rights of law enforcement officers, and to require States to
enact law enforcement discipline, accountability, and due process
laws. Sponsor: Sen Biden Jr., Joseph R. (D-DE). Latest Major Action:
5/8/2001 Referred to Senate committee: Senate Judiciary.
S.848 Social Security Number Misuse Prevention Act of 2001. A bill to
amend title 18, United States Code, to limit the misuse of social
security numbers, to establish criminal penalties for such misuse, and
for other purposes. Sponsor: Sen Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA). Latest
Major Action: 5/9/2001 Referred to Senate committee.
S.851 Citizens' Privacy Commission Act of 2001. A bill to establish a
commission to conduct a study of government privacy practices, and for
other purposes, Sponsor: Sen Thompson, Fred (R-TN). Latest Major
Action: 5/9/2001 Referred to Senate committee: Senate Governmental
EPIC Bill Track: Tracking Privacy, Speech, and Cyber-Liberties Bills
in the 107th Congress, is available at:
[7] EPIC Bookstore - Filters & Freedom 2.0
Filters & Freedom 2.0: Free Speech Perspectives on Internet Content
Controls, edited by the Electronic Privacy Information Center
Originally proposed as a technological solution that would forestall
official censorship, content filtering has been shown to pose its own
significant threats to free expression on the Internet.  Often
characterized by their proponents as mere features or tools, filtering
and rating systems can also be viewed as fundamental architectural
changes that may, in fact, facilitate the suppression of speech far
more effectively than national laws alone ever could.
This newly revised edition addresses recent developments, including
new content control legislation in the United States, efforts within
the European Union to establish a uniform rating regime for online
material, and the growing controversy over the use of filtering in
public libraries.  Partly as a result of the writings contained in
this collection, the headlong rush toward the development and
acceptance of filtering and rating systems has slowed.  These critical
views must be considered carefully if we are to preserve freedom of
expression in the online world.
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.
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
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/
Presentation and Book Signing - Marjorie Heins, author of Not in Front
of the Children: Indecency, Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth.
Freedom Forum. May 22, 2001. Arlington, VA. For more information:
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:
ACS/IEEE International Conference on Computer Systems and Applications
2001: Taking Stock of Existing Technology, Charting Future Trends.
Lebanese American University. June 25-29, 2001. Beirut, Lebanon. 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
Subscription Information
The EPIC Alert is a free biweekly publication of the Electronic
Privacy Information Center. A Web-based form is available for
subscribing or unsubscribing at:
To subscribe or unsubscribe using email, send email to
epic-news@epic.org with the subject: "subscribe" (no quotes) or
Back issues are available at:
Privacy Policy
The EPIC Alert mailing list is used only to mail the EPIC Alert and to
send notices about EPIC activities.  We do not sell, rent or share our
mailing list.  We also intend to challenge any subpoena or other legal
process seeking access to our mailing list.  We do not enhance (link
to other databases) our mailing list or require your actual name.
In the event you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe your email address
from this list, please follow the above instructions under
"subscription information".  Please contact info@epic.org if you have
any other questions.
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
Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009.
+1 202 483 1140 (tel), +1 202 483 1248 (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 "EPIC" and sent to
1718 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009.
Or you can contribute online at
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 expanding wiretapping powers.
Thank you for your support.
  ---------------------- END EPIC Alert 8.09 -----------------------