Thursday, February 24, 2005

Leahy Calls For Hearings On Info Brokers That Are Emerging As Private Intelligence Agencies

ChoicePoint Episode Is Latest Tripwire Warning Of The Need For Privacy Protections

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, Feb. 22) – The ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a longtime champion of the public’s privacy rights, says ChoicePoint’s sale of personal and financial records of thousands of Americans to con artists is a tripwire that should trigger a broad congressional examination of the rapid rise of private intelligence bureaus with little oversight and few rules that protect public privacy.

“New technologies, new private-public domestic security partnerships, and the rapid rise of giant information brokers that collect and sell personal information about each and every American have all combined to produce powerful new threats to privacy,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. “It’s time to turn some sunshine on these developments so the public can understand how and why their personal information is being used.”

Leahy is calling for a series of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine the privacy, security and civil liberty implications of recent trends in information technology, including the creation of digital dossiers on individuals and the sale of personal data to the government as these enhanced information-gathering technologies continue to emerge.

Memo to industry - do not hire an army of lobbyists and PR agents to explain why America does not need privacy. Work with Leahy and others to address the very serious problems revealed by this incident.

Via our good friend at Privacy Digest.

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