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Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Congress considers bill to protect privacy of citizens


Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) today introduced to the U.S. Congress the Citizens' Protection in Federal Databases Act (CPFDA), a bill requiring federal agencies that collect personal information to report what information they collect and how they intend to use the information.

The CPFDA bill would require federal agencies to report on accountability mechanisms for federal agents who maliciously or negligently enter or misuse personal information they gather and would forbid federal agencies from conducting searches based on hypothetical scenarios or suppositions.

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) supports efforts to protect privacy in the use of information by federal agencies," said EFF Washington Policy Liaison Lisa Dean. "Increased national security also comes from restrictions to ensure appropriate information gathering and measures to protect personal information stored in federal databases."

Once passed, federal agencies would have to report to Congress before obtaining funding for purchases of commercial databases. Within 60 days of the bill's passage, the agencies would have to report to Congress on use of existing databases.

In addition to EFF, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Free Congress Foundation have expressed support for the CPFDA legislation.


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