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Dems to grill White House Intel share-holder

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Washington Roundup Democrats are poised to embarrass senior Bush advisor Karl Rove for having met with Intel brass in connection with a proposed merger while holding a hefty block of Intel shares.

While there's no evidence that Rove's involvement goes beyond pointing Intel reps to others in the Administration, the Associated Press claims to have uncovered documents showing that Rove was CC'ed in correspondence from Intel regarding the merger of two of its key suppliers right up to the time it was approved, as we reported earlier this week.

We'll hasten to add that there's no evidence of any impropriety here, though the appearance it creates is unfortunate, and deliciously ironic for a White House loudly promising superior ethics.

With this in mind US Representative Henry Waxman (Democrat, California) spent Friday trying to whip up support for a formal investigation into Rove's connections to Intel, emboldened, we would guess, by the recent Democrat takeover of the Senate.

"This is exactly the type of situation that you would have investigated had it occurred in the Clinton administration," Waxman wrote in a letter to his colleague on the House Government Reform Committee, Chairman Dan Burton (Republican, Indiana).

And that's patently true, though we see no reason why the Democrats should follow a bad example....



Senator Diane Feinstein (Democrat, California) introduced a bill this week which offers a compromise between the sort of privacy most people want (opt in) and the sort data marketeers would vouchsafe us (never even opt out). Her 'Privacy Act of 2001' would force companies to collect and share sensitive personal data such as health and financial details according to a strict opt-in regime, but cuts them some slack with less sensitive titbits like names, addresses and phone numbers, which they could share or sell on an opt-out basis....



The US Department of Justice filed motion Friday with the US District Court in Philadelphia to dismiss a suit challenging the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which denies federal funds to libraries and schools which refuse to install Internet filtering software.

The Department argues that requiring the installation is perfectly legal, since the schools and libraries concerned have discretion in deciding what to filter.

The American Library Association (ALA) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are contesting the law on grounds that it interferes with Constitutionally-protected communication and that filters are unreliable, often blocking far more than porno and hate-monger sites. Indeed, they've blocked The Register, certainly one of cyberspace's most inoffensive and civic-minded sties, as you may recall....



The Senate passed the Student Privacy Protection Act (S-290) on Thursday, requiring schools to obtain a parent's consent before collecting marketing data from students. It was sponsored by Senators Christopher Dodd (Democrat, Connecticut) and Richard Shelby (Republican, Alabama) and tacked onto the education reform bill, which, obviously, was approved.

The Act would require schools to notify parents of how the data is to be collected and with whom it will be shared, and to notify parents whenever their privacy policies are altered....



US District Judge Naomi Buchwald denied DoubleClick's motion to dismiss several privacy suits pending against it in California, and this means that a lengthy court battle over privacy rights is all but certain. We covered the story in depth

here

, just in case you missed it.... ®

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