Friday, July 28, 2006

Homeland Security Names New Privacy Officer

The Department of Homeland Security has named one of their lawyers, Hugo Teufel III, as their new Chief Privacy Officer.

Hugo Teufel was associate general counsel at the Homeland Security Department, and also worked at the Department of the Interior.

Michael Chertoff Teufel was "highly regarded throughout the department and the legal community for his expertise on privacy, employee relations and civil rights issues."

In an interview with Government Executive magazine, Teufel said, "It's important to have someone in this position that can go to the deputy secretary or the secretary and say, 'That's probably not a good idea,'. "If I thought something
were amiss, I would advise the deputy secretary and the secretary. And I would not hesitate to do so."

He also said, "I am looking forward to making use of my experience at the department in order to make the office more effective and get the office more plugged in earlier with the various programs that our offices are involved in that impact privacy."

Teufel is replacing the CPO Maureen Cooney, who will leave in September to take a position as a senior policy adviser for global privacy strategies at Hunton & Williams.

Before her, Nuala O'Connor Kelly, was the first CPO for DHS. She now works at General Electric.

Privacy adovcates wanted someone with more experience in privacy than Teufel, who prior to Interior worked for Gale Norton in Colorado, and would prefer someone they know is a forecful advocate for privacy.

"This is not an appropriate appointment. He lacks the relevant experience," said, said Marc Rotenberg, head of EPIC.

"He doesn't have much of a background to be a privacy officer. He seems to have no experience in privacy matters," said Caroline Fredrickson, with the ACLU in Washington.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Feds Propose Banking ID Theft Rules

In a joint announcement from the board of governors of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision, the federal government proposed new identity theft rules for all financial institutions.

The rules would require financial institutions and creditors to create programs to prevent and deal with identity thet. This would include steps to verify an individual's identity, and spotting possible ID theft.

These agencies all are taking comments the Proposed Rulemaking.

The proposed rules can be found at:

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Washington Post Editorializes Against Specter Bill

The Washington Post has written an editorial urging that the bill brokered between Arlen Specter and the White House regarding NSA spying not be enacted. Here is a short excerpt.

From The Washington Post:

"This bill is not a compromise but a full-fledged capitulation on the part of the legislative branch to executive claims of power. Mr. Specter has not been briefed on the NSA's program. Yet he's proposing revolutionary changes to the very fiber of the law of domestic surveillance -- changes not advocated by key legislators who have detailed knowledge of the program. This week a remarkable congressional debate began on how terrorists should face trial, with Congress finally asserting its role in reining in overbroad assertions of presidential power. What a tragedy it would be if at the same time, it acceded to those powers on the fundamental rights of Americans."

California High Court Bans All Secretly Recorded Calls

The California Supreme Court ruled last week that no one, even those outside the state, may record a phone call with a person in California without their knowledge.

California law requires all callers to inform the other party before taping a call with a California resident.

Two California residents filed suit against Salomon Smith Barney (now Smith Barney) for secretly recording their calls made from Atlanta in 1998. Georgia law allows such calls.

The decision was unanimous, but no damages were awarded.

11 states requires consent before a telephone conversation may be recorded.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Possible Deal Reached to Legalize NSA Surveillance Program

Reports are coming out that Sen. Arlen Specter has made a deal with the White House which bring the government's broad surveillance program back under some outside supervision.

He is saying that the White House has agreed to legislation that would give the FISA Court (created by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) review the Constitutionality of the NSA program and oversee they way it is conducted.

But the law would also allow for more wiretaps without a warrant and for roving wiretaps. to judge whether the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program is allowed under the Constitution.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Class Action Suit Against Union Pacific

A class action lawsuit has been filed in Iowa state court against Union Pacific railroad, alleging negligence due to a loss of personal information.

The lawsuit alleges that Union Pacific was negligent by failing to
protect employees' Social Security numbers, and for using SSN to identify employees.

In April, a laptop was stolen with the names and Social Security numbers of 30,000 current and retired Union Pacific employees.

UP notified the employees and for a year credit monitoring. In addition, the employee allegedly violated company policy when he transferred work files to a his computer at home.