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IP: Washington waking up to privacy issues, by William Safire
From: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Wed, 03 May 2000 09:40:21 -0700




http://www.nytimes.com/library/opinion/safire/050100safi.html

May 1, 2000
ESSAY / By WILLIAM SAFIRE
Consenting Adults

WASHINGTON -- Politicians of the left and right are finally
beginning to pay attention to the groundswell of resentment
about invasions of privacy.

In the Senate, transportation subcommittee chairman Richard Shelby
leads the way the law he sponsored to prevent states from selling to
private investigators information and pictures required from motorists
seeking a driver's license was upheld by the Supreme Court. He also led
repeal of the ill-advised federal standard for licenses that would have
used Social Security numbers to create an Orwellian national
identification card.

In the House, Texas Representative Ron Paul's bill to prohibit the use of
the Social Security number as an all-purpose identifier is no longer in
limbo. Ways and Means subcommittee chairman Clay Shaw reports that
this action to combat widespread identity theft will be taken up this
month.

Chairman Dan Burton's Government Reform Committee will move on
that privacy bill in June, as well as the bill to create a Privacy Protection
Commission pressed by the G.O.P.'s Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Jim
Moran.

Here's evidence that we're getting traction President Clinton and Vice
President Al Gore have detected the growing political appeal of personal
privacy in a time of data rape. To a commencement audience yesterday,
Clinton unveiled his plan to repel the invaders, challenging the Republican
Congress to get on with legislation to stem the tide of snooping.

[...]


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