Feeds

Disclosure of government data mining could become US law

Snooping bill revived

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The newly Democrat controlled US Senate and Congress will soon vote on a law that would force the government to disclose all data mining programmes on US citizens. The bill requires all federal agencies to disclose their data analysis activities.

If passed into law the bill would represent a policy change from the more secretive Republican Congress, led by President George W Bush's lead on surveillance. The Bush administration recently admitted that it broke privacy laws in its airline passenger data mining programme.

The administration has also become embroiled in a case over the tapping of phone lines of US citizens. It is fighting a law suit from citizens and pressure groups over a wire tap programme on which the suit claims that telco AT&T and the National Security Agency (NSA) collaborated. The suit claims that the wire tap programme was illegal.

A Republican and a Democrat senator have introduced a bill which would order federal agencies to report on the use of data analysis techniques to predict criminal or terrorist behaviour. In the past such bills have failed to pass through Republican Congress.

Democrats Russell Feingold and Daniel Leahy and Republican John Sununu have reintroduced the Federal Agency Data Mining Report Act, a bill which failed to receive a floor vote in 2003 and 2005.

The announcement of the bill's revival came in the same week that the new chairman of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, Democrat Patrick Leahy, devoted the committee's first hearing of the new year to the issue of how to check the executive's snooping powers.

"Congress is overdue in taking stock of the proliferation of these databases that increasingly are collecting more information about each and every American," Leahy told reporters in the US.

Leahy said that the government's terrorist watch list contained the names of more than 300,000 people, including those of some members of Congress. He said that 52 federal agencies use data mining, and that there are 199 data mining programmes planned or in operation. The NSA, he said, refused to disclose any of its data mining activities.

"The American people have neither the assurance that these massive data banks will make us safer, nor the confidence that their privacy rights will be protected," Leahy told the first hearing of his committee on the subject.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?