Feeds

Disclosure of government data mining could become US law

Snooping bill revived

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.