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21st Century Technology and Business Practices to be Subject of FTC Privacy Roundtables

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced plans to hold three roundtables that will focus on consumer privacy issues. According to the announcement, the purpose of the series of roundtables are:

. . . to explore the privacy challenges posed by the vast array of 21st century technology and business practices that collect and use consumer data. Such practices include social networking, cloud computing, online behavioral advertising, mobile marketing, and the collection and use of information by retailers, data brokers, third-party applications, and other diverse businesses. The goal of the roundtables is to determine how best to protect consumer privacy while supporting beneficial uses of the information and technological innovation.

USA PATRIOT Act Back in the Spotlight, Again

Three provisions of the PATRIOT Act set to expire at the end of this year have been the focus of recent hearings and intense policy debates. Critics were anxious to learn whether or not the Obama administration would support their renewal given the privacy and civil liberty concerns that have proven contentious in this piece of post 9-11 legislation. However, the administration told the Senate Judiciary Committee that it wants the provisions to be continued, although they are open to changes. The provisions set to expire include the so-called "roving wiretap" statute that allows government bugs on any phone used by the person being tapped, the broadening of law enforcement access to library and bookstore records, and the "lone-wolf" provision that applies to any non citizen suspected of engaging in or preparing for international terrorism who is not affiliated with a known terrorist group.

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Cybersecurity R&D Needs More Focus and Better Coordination

The House Science Research Subcommittee unanimously approved legislation this week that would support cybersecurity research and development. The bill would require the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Science Foundation to work together to develop a long-range research and development agenda that would authorize grants and scholarships for training in cybersecurity.

Providing context to the committee's markup of the "Cybersecurity Research and Development Amendments Act of 2009", Chairman Daniel Lipinski (Dem., IL) remarked:

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Report Card Gives Obama Administration Mixed Reviews on Privacy and Security

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) released its Privacy Report Card for the Obama Administration with the following results:

  • Consumer Privacy: Incomplete
  • Medical Privacy: A-
  • Civil Liberties: C+
  • Cybersecurity: B

EPIC's grades were based on a review of the Administration's privacy initiatives. EPIC cited the vacancies on the Federal Trade Commission, the continuation of the Bush Administration's policies on the use of the "state's secrets privilege," the Department of Homeland Security's support for PASS ID, and privacy exemptions for social networking services as areas where the Administration has failed to protect privacy.

According to the report card:

National Campus Safety and Security Conference Observes That Attention to Cyber Disruptions Inadequate

The 2009 National Campus Safety and Security Conference, hosted by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, was held on June 27th in Boston, Massachusetts. The conference provided some insights into the outcomes of the project which is supported by EDUCAUSE and other higher education associations.

Institute for Computer Policy and Law (ICPL) Annual Seminar July 20-23

This year's ICPL Annual Seminar in Ithaca, NY kicks off in a little less than a month and there are still slots available (click here to register). Monday-Thursday, July 20-23, starting Monday with a half-day introduction to Internet Law and Policy from Steve McDonald. Topics Tuesday-Thursday range from Self-Snooping to In Loco Parentis and include Cloud Computing (our featured topic), P2P, Outsourcing E-Mail, the Google Book Project, and many others. EDUCAUSE's own Richard Katz will be our dinner speaker Tuesday evening, talking about Cloud Computing. See the full schedule.

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June 8, 2009: IRS Notice on Substantiating Business Use of Employer-Provided Cell Phones

The Internal Revenue Service has issued a Notice to request comments from the public regarding several proposals to simplify the procedures under which employers substantiate an employee’s business use of employer-provided cellular telephones or other similar telecommunications equipment (hereinafter collectively referred to as “cell phones”). Comments are due on September 4, 2009.

For more information, visit the NACUBO resource: Administration Calls on Congress to Pass Cell Phone Simplification

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April 20, 2009: FTC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Health Breach Notification Rule

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding requirements of vendors of personal health records and related entities to notify individuals when the security of their individually identifiable health information is breached. Comments are due on June 1, 2009. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 includes provisions to advance the use of health information technology and, at the same time, strengthen privacy and security protections for health information. Accordingly, the ARRA mandated that the Federal Trade Commission issue rules of health breach notifications. A news release (FTC Publishes Proposed Breach Notification Rule for Electronic Health Information) is also available.

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December 29, 2008 - Copyright Office Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies

The United States Copyright Office has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as part of its triennial rulemaking proceeding in accordance with a provision of the Copyright Act which was added by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and which provides that the Librarian of Congress may exempt certain classes of works from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. Comments are due on February 2, 2009.

For more information, visit the EDUCAUSE Resource Center: Federal Copyright Law


April 8, 2009: FCC Notice of Inquiry on Development of National Broadband Plan

The Federal Communications Commission has issued a Notice of Inquiry to seek comments to inform the development of a national broadband plan for the United States. Comments are due on June 8, 2009, and Reply Comments are due July 7, 2009. A news release ("FCC LAUNCHES DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL BROADBAND PLAN: Seeks Public Input on Plan to Ensure Every American has Access to Broadband Capability") is also available.

For more information, visit the EDUCAUSE Resource Center: National Broadband Policy.

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