[IWAR] FC: Constitutional liberties newsletter from Free Congress Foundation (fwd)

From: Mark Hedges (hedgesat_private)
Date: Fri Feb 20 1998 - 10:48:52 PST

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    This is one incredibly informative list that Declan quotes from. I'm
    subscribing. Check out the section on satellite intelligence used by
    federal and state agencies to detect code violations as silly as building
    a back porch without a permit. Yikes! -hedges-
    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 06:35:43 -0800 (PST)
    From: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
    To: politechat_private
    Subject: FC: Constitutional liberties newsletter from Free Congress Foundation
    Coalition for Constitutional Liberties
    Weekly Update for 2/20/98
    Volume I, Number 1
    Brought to you by the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation:
    To subscribe to the Coalition email list, contact Patrick Poole at:
    In this week's issue:
    *	FCC restricts use of telecomm records
    *	Cyber cops caught by Net sting
    *	Federal deadbeat dad database tracks your movements too
    *	Feds and states using satellite photos for surveillance
    *	122,000 5th graders fingerprinted in Michigan without parent's
    *	DNA database new weapon in police arsenal 
    *	AT&T sets up online database chock full of your personal
    *	This week's Endangered Liberties commentary by FCF Vice
    President for Technology Policy, Lisa Dean: FBI Director Freeh wants to
    tap your phone - and you get the bill!
    *	Free Congress Foundation announces the formation of the
    Coalition for Constitutional Liberties
    FCC restricts use of telecomm records
    The FCC has moved this week to restrict the use of personal telecomm
    records by telephone, cellular and paging companies for marketing
    additional services or selling calling pattern information to other
    companies without the express permission of the customer.
    The telecomm companies wanted to continue to use and sell customer
    information under a "negative option approach" that would have required
    customers to expressly deny permission to the company before they would
    have to stop selling off personal customer information. One problem with
    this approach is that the telecomm companies rarely, if ever, make
    customers aware of when their personal information has been used for
    marketing purposes or sold off to others.
    The new rules apply to local, long-distance, cellular and paging
    companies. The FCC developed these new regulations to protect phone
    customer's privacy and restrict access to personal information.
    Cyber cops caught by Net sting
    The News and Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina reported this week that
    police officers in four states have been charged with engaging in "net
    sex" with an Illinois teenager while they were monitoring chat rooms for
    online predators, raising new questions about the practice of law
    enforcement personnel monitoring Internet activity.
    A 17-year-old girl encountered officers from Virginia, North Carolina,
    Georgia and Texas in various teen chat rooms, and email conversations
    quickly became sexually explicit. One North Carolina deputy sent nude
    photos of himself to the teen in one instance.  Attorneys for the deputy
    accused the teen of a setup, but refused to answer questions about how
    the officer began to engage in criminal conduct that he was appointed to
    Federal deadbeat dad database tracks your movements too 
    Bad news about the new "deadbeat dads" law: Your name will soon be
    entered into a massive government database, even if you're not a
    deadbeat-and even if you're not a dad. That's because a new law compels
    every employer in the USA to help the federal government build a massive
    new database to enforce child-support payment laws: The New Hires
    The New Hires Directory was mandated by the Welfare Reform Act of 1996,
    and compels employers to report the name, address, Social Security
    number, and wages of every new worker to the state within 20 days.
    States then send the data to the federal government, which matches names
    against its "deadbeat dads database"-a list of every parent nationwide
    who owes child support.
    Noting that the law authorizes child support agencies to share the
    database with the Social Security Administration, the Justice
    Department, and even the IRS, Libertarian Party Chairman Steve Dasbach
    asked at a press conference held earlier this week, "Why would
    politicians who steal each other's FBI files even hesitate to trample
    the privacy rights of ordinary Americans?"
    Privacy expert Robert Gellman points out that private detectives already
    pay police and child welfare workers to illegally supply criminal,
    medical, and credit records, and warns that information in the New Hires
    Directory will become just as accessible.
    But the primary reason to voice opposition to this new database, said
    Dasbach, is because "the government has become so large and intrusive
    that soon our only protection against it may be the information that it
    doesn't have. If politicians really cared at all about protecting
    privacy, they would abolish existing databases-rather than creating new
    Feds and States using satellite photos for surveillance
    A January 27th Wall Street Journal article by Ross Kerber chronicled the
    growing phenomenon of federal and state law enforcement agencies using
    NASA and Russian spy photos for prosecution of minor crimes, including
    building backyard porches without construction permits.
    After the Revolution in Russia, the Soviet Space Agency,
    Sovinformsputnik, began to sell spy-quality satellite photos to raise
    cash for the agency. After Congress repealed in 1994 a ban on the sale
    of NASA spy satellite photos, federal and state agencies began to
    purchase satellite photos at an alarming rate. The Georgia Dept. of
    Revenue photographs all 58,910 acres of the state to look for illegal
    timber cutting. 
    Last year in Arizona, Floyd Dunn was cited by the Arizona Dept. of Water
    Resources for growing cotton on his property without a permit. The Dept.
    of Water Resources regularly obtains photographs from the French
    government's SPOT satellites of 750,000 acres of central Arizona
    farmland. State officials then compare the images with a database of
    water-use permits to determine which farmers might be exceeding
    water-use rules - the process used to catch Mr. Dunn, leading to a
    $4,000 fine.
    A task force to study the use of spy satellite photos against citizens
    was formed by the American Bar Association last year. However, the
    presence of officials from the Dept. of Justice on the task force are
    leading some to question how strong the recommendations emerging from
    the task force will be. But the appetite by law enforcement officials
    for satellite images is growing so fast that private companies -
    including Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Corp. - are planning to launch
    their own spy satellites to meet the need of federal and state
    122,000 Michigan 5th Graders Fingerprinted for Tests
    DETROIT (Associated Press) -- Parents and legal experts have identified
    a problem in Michigan standardized testing -- 122,000 fifth-graders
    provided their fingerprints without permission.  All fifth-graders in
    Michigan's public schools had to fill out a "Fingerprint Investigation
    Journal" as part of the science segment on the Michigan Educational
    Assessment Program. State law says that with few exceptions, children's
    fingerprints can't be obtained without parents' permission.
    "It's offensive," said Andrea Lang of St. Clair Shores, who learned that
    her 10-year-old daughter provided fingerprints for the test last week.
    "It's an invasion of privacy. Only criminals get their fingerprints
    The fingerprint journal was merely a hands-on experiment designed to
    make the science portion of the test more interesting, Peter Bunton of
    the MEAP office, said Wednesday. "No, we are not fingerprinting kids and
    sending their prints to the FBI or filing them in Lansing," he said. The
    fingerprint journals, he added,   are "thrown away, torn up, discarded,
    or sent home with the kids." 
    "The law doesn't care if you throw it away," said Kerry Morgan, a Taylor
    attorney who was contacted by one parent."  It just says you can't do
    Robert Sedler, a Wayne State University law professor, agreed
    fingerprints should only be disclosed voluntarily or in limited criminal
    circumstances. Bunton said he was unaware of the law. "I'm very sorry
    parents may have misunderstood this," he said.  "We will not be doing
    anymore fingerprinting in a classroom ever again."
    DNA database new weapon in police arsenal
    Scientists and law enforcement personnel think the use of DNA matching
    to identify rapists and murderers is about to take off -- growing
    "geometrically," as one expert describes it.  
    In December, eight states began using FBI software to match blood, semen
    or saliva left at the scene of a crime with a DNA profile in a database.
    The FBI software allows states to pool their data online for the first
    time and thus identify criminals across state borders -- what
    investigators call a "cold hit."
    Within minutes of linking up, a convicted sex offender in Illinois was
    identified as the perpetrator of a 1989 rape and attempted murder in
    *	Until now such match-ups have been sporadic -- totaling about
    200 nationwide.
    *	But matches are expected to speed up dramatically, now that the
    FBI and state laboratories have finally set new technical standards for
    testing DNA strands.
    *	Establishing a full-fledged national databank would be
    expensive, however -- with one expert estimating a cost of $500 million.
    Advocates of DNA matching contend this tool will allow police to solve
    in one week cases which otherwise might have taken a year or more.
    Moreover, the risk of misidentification of offenders would be all but
    impossible.  Already, 53 convicts have been exonerated after DNA testing
    was applied to the evidence in their cases.
    Despite all the excitement from law enforcement personnel about the
    ability to search through the genetic records of millions of citizens
    with a touch on a keyboard, few have offered explanations how the
    collection of massive databases of DNA information does not circumvent
    the 4th Amendment right against search of persons without a warrant for
    probable cause. 
    In addition, penalties have not been established for misuse of the
    database by law enforcement, nor have standards been set up between the
    all the states to determine how samples will be analyzed and categorized
    - leading many privacy advocates to wonder how much civil liberties will
    be set back by the use of this powerful technology.
    AT&T sets up online database chock full of your personal information
    A new online service provided by AT&T offers complete access to your
    personal information, including your address, phone number, and even
    provides a map to your house - free of charge! Even if you keep all of
    your personal information to yourself, with a touch of a button and a
    connection to the Internet, anyone can track you down. You can find out
    how much information this site provides about you by going directly to
    the site at: http://www.anywho.com
    FBI Director Freeh wants to tap your phone - and you get the bill!
    Endangered Liberties Commentary by Lisa S. Dean (Vice President for
    Technology Policy at the Free Congress Foundation)
    Last year the Swiss press reported that police in that country were
    using citizens' cell phones to track their whereabouts.  What's worse is
    that law enforcement was using the telephone companies' computer files
    to do it.  Americans reading those reports shrugged and said, "Typical
    Socialists.  That will never happen here in the U.S."  If you're one of
    those people, think again.
    A few years ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation claimed that
    because of rapidly emerging technologies, its own technology wasn't
    up-to-par with the telephone companies and for that reason, wiretap
    investigations would be difficult.  So in 1994, Congress passed a
    digital telephony law called the Communications Assistance for Law
    Enforcement Act, or CALEA for short.  The law was to be interpreted as
    requiring telephone companies to ensure that its own technology was
    compatible with law enforcement's thereby allowing law enforcement to
    maintain its capacity for wiretaps.
    But that's not how FBI Director Louis Freeh saw it.  He saw CALEA as a
    chance to expand the wiretapping capabilities of law enforcement.  In
    fact, he proposed to the Federal Communications Commission that
    telephone companies be forced to add special hi-tech surveillance
    systems so that law enforcement agencies could conduct a greater number
    of wiretaps simultaneously as well as having location tracking
    Currently U.S. law enforcement conducts roughly 1000 wiretaps per year.
    If Louis Freeh has his way, law enforcement agencies will be able to
    conduct hundreds of thousands of wiretaps in the U.S. at the same time.
    The telephone companies objected strongly to Freeh's proposal simply
    because the surveillance capabilities the FBI requires them to install
    would be cost prohibitive, and ultimately reflect in consumers' monthly
    bills.  Most importantly though, the telephone companies didn't want to
    become law enforcement flunkies, forcing their customers to pay higher
    phone bills in exchange for being spied on by a federal agency.
    Recently, a group of privacy advocates sent a letter to the Federal
    Communications Commission asking it to reject the FBI's surveillance
    proposal because it directly violates our Fourth Amendment rights
    against warrantless searches and seizures.  At the same time, the group
    sent a letter to members of Congress asking them to refuse the FBI its
    While Congress and the FCC are currently investigating the situation,
    Louis Freeh is lobbying Senators and Congressmen hard to have the
    ability to snoop on us at whim.  And, he argues, that in order to do
    that, he needs a "key recovery" encryption system guaranteeing
    government access to potentially all private electronic communications.
    And it's encryption that's the key here.  Without it, Freeh's snooping
    powers are somewhat limited.  Because he believes that he has the
    authority to eavesdrop on our telephone conversations, it follows
    logically that he would believe he could spy on us through our computers
    as well.
    In fact Freeh is quoted as saying "We're asking for a Fourth Amendment
    that works in the Information Age."  If that's the case, then Louis
    Freeh needs a lesson in constitutional history.  Our Founding Fathers
    didn't draft a special limited-time offer that would expire at a
    particular point in time, or cater to individual whims or some overgrown
    government agency's political agenda.  It's safe to say that we, the
    people, understand this and power hungry bureaucrats like Louis Freeh do
    not.  The $64,000 question is, as its investigation continues, will
    The Free Congress Research and Education Foundation is pleased to
    announce the formation of the Coalition for Constitutional Liberties. 
    The Coalition has been established to:
    1) To create a network of concerned citizens and organizations to update
    and mobilize against legislative and judicial attacks on our civil
    2) To serve as a national clearinghouse for information regarding the
    preservation of constitutional liberties; and,
    	3) To assist other like-minded organizations committed to
    limited government in educating the public about means to promote
    personal freedoms on the local, state and national levels.
    Some of the topics that will be initially addressed by Free Congress for
    the Coalition are:
    		- Federal wire-tapping law
    		- Encryption
    		- Medical privacy
    		- Biometric technology
    		- Government surveillance
    		- National databases
    If you would like to subscribe to our weekly Constitutional Liberties
    updates, or you like more information about becoming involved with the
    Coalition, contact Patrick Poole, Deputy Director of the Center for
    Technology Policy at:
    		Free Congress Foundation
    		Coalition for Constitutional Liberties
    		717 Second Street NE
    		Washington D.C.	20002
    		202/546-3000 x. 316
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