Feeds

Disclosure of government data mining could become US law

Snooping bill revived

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.