Monthly Archives: February 2005

DHS announces Privacy Advisory Committee, includes USACM member

The Department of Homeland Security has finally announced the membership of its expert advisory committee for privacy issues. The good news for USACM is that Professor Lance Hoffman from George Washington University is one of the 20 appointees and is also a USACM member. Dr. Hoffman helped bring the Computers, Privacy, and Freedom conference under [...]

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Still more on the ChoicePoint case

“The recently disclosed privacy breach at the data collection giant ChoicePoint, in which con artists gained access to the Social Security numbers, addresses and other personal data of nearly 145,000 people, has exposed the shortcomings of the laws governing the data-mining industry and consumer privacy. [...] But whatever the specific legal fallout of the ChoicePoint [...]

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ChoicePoint theft may usher in regulation

“A major break-in at one of the nation’s largest information brokers could usher in regulation for companies that have trafficked in data unfettered for years, computer-security experts and privacy advocates say. New York, Texas and Georgia are among states pressing for laws that mirror California’s breach law, which requires companies to notify residents if their [...]

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ChoicePoint sued over identity theft

“A California woman has sued ChoicePoint Inc. for fraud and negligence after criminals gained access to a database of personal records compiled by the company. The suit, which seeks class-action status, was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last Friday and claims that for at least five months the company failed to adequately protect people’s [...]

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New-look passports

“[...] At America’s insistence, passports are about to get their biggest overhaul since they were introduced. They are to be fitted with computer chips that have been loaded with digital photographs of the bearer (so that the process of comparing the face on the passport with the face on the person can be automated), digitised [...]

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ChoicePoint fraud case likely to generate activity in Congress

“One of the nation’s largest commercial information services said yesterday that thousands of Washington area residents were among those whose personal and financial details were sold to fraud artists apparently behind a nationwide identity theft scheme. As many as 4,500 residents in the District, Maryland and Virginia were among up to 145,000 people whose names, [...]

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NYT editorial: Tackling Election Reform

“After a second consecutive presidential election marred by significant flaws in the mechanics of voting, it’s time for Congress to take a hard look at fixing the system. Two Senate bills aim to do that. A Republican-sponsored bill is narrowly tailored around making electronic voting more reliable. A more ambitious bill, sponsored by the Democrats, [...]

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Congress organizes (mostly): IT policy implications

By mid-February in any normal year a new Congress is completely organized. This is not a normal year as numerous changes in the Senate and organizational fights between the House of Representatives and Senate have delayed the process. Congress has finally (although not completely) organized itself enough to provide a picture of how it will [...]

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Plan for patenting software stalls in Europe’s parliament

“In a rare move, the European Parliament demanded Thursday that a controversial proposal for a law on software patents be scrapped and that the debate begin anew. The proposed law is intended to harmonize the patent rules of the 25 countries in the European Union. Current laws do not permit software patents, but some have [...]

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More on ChoicePoint fraud case

“One of the nation’s biggest information services has begun warning more than 100,000 people across the country they may be targets of fraud, following disclosures the company inadvertently sold personal and financial records to fraud artists apparently involved in a massive identity theft scheme. ChoicePoint Inc. electronically delivered thousands of reports containing names, addresses, Social [...]

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Cerf and Kahn Receive 2004 ACM Turing Award

“ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, has named Vinton G. Cerf and Robert E. Kahn the winners of the 2004 A.M. Turing Award, considered the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” for pioneering work on the design and implementation of the Internet’s basic communications protocols. [...] ACM President David Patterson said the collaboration of Cerf and Kahn [...]

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More on Real ID Act

Declan McCullagh has a new article about the Real ID Act, which (as we reported here) easily passed the House of Representatives last week. Among other things, Declan reports on the opposition to the bill by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), one of “eight Republicans to object to the measure.” Declan also addresses the legislation’s chances [...]

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Database giant gives access to fake firms

“Criminals posing as legitimate businesses have accessed critical personal data stored by ChoicePoint Inc., a firm that maintains databases of background information on virtually every U.S. citizen, has learned. The incident involves a wide swath of consumer data, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, credit reports and other information. ChoicePoint aggregates and sells such [...]

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Real ID Act passes the House

Yesterday House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner’s (R-WI) immigration bill, the Real ID Act (H.R. 418), was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill is intended to disrupt terrorist travel and bolster U.S. border security and includes much of the immigration reform language that was dropped from last year’s intelligence overhaul legislation (discussed [...]

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Bill proposes e-voting paper trail

” Voting machines must include a verifiable paper trail and audit capability in time for the 2006 elections, according to a bill introduced this week in Congress. [...] Called the Voting Integrity and Verification Act, the bill says states must allow the “voter to review an individual paper version of the voter’s ballot before the [...]

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Parents Protest Student Computer ID Tags

“SUTTER, Calif. (AP) — The only grade school in this rural town is requiring students to wear radio frequency identification badges that can track their every move. Some parents are outraged, fearing it will take away their children’s privacy. The badges introduced at Brittan Elementary School on Jan. 18 rely on the same radio frequency [...]

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Senate considers revising Telecom Reform Act

“The Internet rated only a footnote in the landmark 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act. Now, the Net is such serious competition for the telecom industry that many legislators favor at least “tinkering with” the 1996 act, said Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), speaking at today’s Washington conference sponsored by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee. Burns said [...]

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FY2006 budget implications for IT R&D

The President’s budget hit the Hill yesterday with the predictable media attention. With the focus on deficits and Social Security, some of the subtler details have gone overlooked. Particularly those related to funding for IT research and development. Peter at the Computing Research Association has given us a great analysis of the overall funding picture. [...]

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Sign of the times

Showing just how serious the music industry takes the current copyright debate: “David Israelite, former attorney general John D. Ashcroft’s deputy chief of staff — he ran the Justice Department’s Intellectual Property Task Force — is starting today as the CEO and president of the National Music Publishers’ Association. NMPA, which is moving its headquarters [...]

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Getting real about the Grokster case

“Over the next few months, the Supreme Court and–likely–Congress will resume a debate over rules that could determine whether consumers will continue to enjoy the benefits of many of the gadgets CNET covers. The debate is specifically about what kind of legal liability–if any–technology manufacturers, financiers, Internet service providers, journalists and others should have if [...]

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Cyber-security gains visibility

“Former federal prosecutor Michael Chertoff is expected to be confirmed this week as homeland security secretary, and one of the first items in his in-tray will be how to deal with the question of cyber-security. Mr. Chertoff was questioned about the issue at his confirmation hearing last week, and undertook to appoint a special adviser [...]

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Researchers show RFID vulnerablilities

“A popular radio-frequency ID system that is used to deter car thefts and as a convenience device for the purchase of gasoline can be defeated with low-cost technology, computer scientists from Johns Hopkins and RSA Laboratories have determined. Their findings, described in a new research paper [available here], indicate that the encryption in RFID microchips [...]

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As Piracy Battle Nears Supreme Court, the Messages Grow Manic

“Garret the Ferret is one hip copyright crusader. The cartoon character urges young cybercitizens toward ethical downloading and – in baggy jeans and a gold “G” medallion – reminds them that copying and sharing software is uncool. He is also a byproduct of the long-roiling public relations battle between copyright owners, who say they are [...]

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DHS Privacy office issues report to Congress

“Homeland Security Department officials today released DHS’ first annual privacy report [full report here] to Congress, outlining work done in numerous areas, including technology. A primary goal of the department’s privacy office, which is the first Congressionally mandated one for a federal agency, is ensuring that technologies sustain “privacy protections relating to the use, collection, [...]

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Sensenbrenner and Davis bills square off

“Two powerful House committee chairmen are locked in a standoff over how to handle a federal driver-licensing standard, the first in what could be a number of intraparty Republican squabbles about immigration reform. Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced a bill Wednesday to create a federal standard for state driver’s licenses. That same afternoon, [...]

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ACM Policy Office Appoints New Director

“ACM has named Cameron Wilson, a veteran of Capitol Hill, as its new Director of Public Policy [...] Wilson will head the ACM Public Policy Office in Washington, DC. Previously, he was Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congressman Vernon Ehlers of Michigan, where he navigated the murky policy waters of Washington. Congressman [...]

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NIST issues revised draft specs for federal ID cards

“The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released specifications that will firm up biometric plans for governmentwide personal-identity-verification cards. [...] Among other things, the draft discusses data flows, card architecture, the client application programming interface and command interface, construction of the card edge, use for physical and logical access, embedding X.509 certificates and using [...]

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