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Congressional Hearing on Employment Verification

The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on employment verification. Several hearings have be held by the committee on the proposal to create a mandatory national government employment eligibility system. The current private sector system is voluntary.

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Privacy Rulemaking

December 2011 Privacy Coalition Meeting

Guest speakers included Gail Hillebrand, Associate Director of Consumer Education and Engagement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau met with the Coalition. She was joined by Brett Kitt, Senior Counsel and Claire Stapleton, Chief Privacy Officer with the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. the agency is providing financial education to consumers and opportunities to register mortgage and credit card company complaints. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency also allow consumers to tell their stories regarding experiences with financial products. Kathleen Styles, Chief Privacy Officer for the U.S. Department of Education, updated the Coalition on topics discussed in May including new FERPA regulations, increasing privacy assistance to the education community, and student data release policy. Julian Sanchez, Research Fellow, with CATO, briefed the Coalition on the House Judiciary Committee Mark-up of the Managers Amendment to the Stop Online Piracy Act. Gilad Rosner, PhD Candidate, School of Computer Science University of Nottingham, will be discussing the Public Policy of Unlinkability just at the beginning of his work on a comparative study of the US and Germany.

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Privacy Legislation

FISA Reform Bill Introduced in the House

Representatives Conyers, Nadler, and Scott introduced two bills today that would amend the PATRIOT Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The Patriot Amendments Act of 2009 will enhance reporting and judicial oversight of law enforcement powers, including the National Security Letter process. The FISA Amendments Act of 2009 will place new limits on the government's ability to collect and store Americans' communications without a warrant and repeals retroactive immunity.

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DC Privacy Events

Monthly Privacy Coalition Meeting Hosts Julie Brill New FTC Commissioner

Julie Brill one of the two new members of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) meet with the Privacy Coalition. She wanted to hear from members about their concerns regarding the work of the FTC and their expectations for the agency moving forward. The meeting also featured discussions regarding Congressman Markey's new bill the e-KNOW Act to allow electricity customers to have access to Smart Meter data.

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Coalition Members Promote Consumer Privacy Protection

Fifteen Privacy Coalition members representing millions of consumers and Internet users, sent a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee urging Congress to do more to protect consumer information. "Consumers today face an unfair choice: either stay offline and ignore the benefits of new technology, or plug in and run extraordinary risks to privacy and security," they wrote. "It shouldn't be this way. Consumers are more concerned about the privacy threat from big business than from big government," the letter continues. The coalition, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Consumer Watchdog, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, National Consumers League, Privacy Activism, Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Privacy Times, U.S. PIRG, and World Privacy Forum, argues that current privacy laws are inadequate, and that industry self-regulation has failed, as evidenced by millions of records compromised in data breaches.

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Coalition Meetings

November 2013 Monthly Meeting

Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen of the Federal Trade Commission joined the Privacy Coalition to discuss the consumer privacy related work of the FTC including the FTC's recent workshop on the Internet of Things and her remarks at the workshop. Rachel Levinson-Waldman, Counsel to the Brennan Center's Liberty and National Security Program discussed her recent report, What the Government Does with American's Data. Pam Dixon, Executive Director of World Privacy Forum, provided an update on the comments her organization submitted to National Institutes of Health regarding the agency's draft genomic data sharing policy. David Jacobs, EPIC Consumer Protection Counsel, updated the group on Facebook's change to its Data Use Policy.

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The Privacy Coalition is a nonpartisan coalition of consumer, civil liberties, educational, family, library, labor, and technology organizations that have agreed to the Privacy Pledge. Members of the coalition have been meeting since 1995, but formalized the organization in February 2001. View a list of member organizations.

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June 2014 Monthly Meeting

July 1, 2014

John Carlin, the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division of the Department of Justice, was able to join the us to discuss the work of his division. The National Security Division is a relatively new division of the Justice Department having been created in 2006. The division is responsible for representing the government in front of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and providing oversight of various national security activities of the Intelligence Community.

Posted by Jeramie D. Scott on July 1, 2014

May 2014 Monthly Meeting

May 30, 2014

The Department of Justice's Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer, Erika Brown Lee, joined the Privacy Coalition to discuss the priorities of her office. She was joined by Director Joo Y. Chung and Deputy Director Kristi Lane Scott. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Office is responsible for the Department of Justice's compliance with the Privacy Act of 1974 and the privacy provisions of both the E-Government Act of 2002 and the Federal Information Security Management Act.

Posted by Jeramie D. Scott on May 30, 2014

Privacy Coalition Briefs FTC Commissioner

May 14, 2014

FTC Commissioner Joshua D. Wright joined the Privacy Coalition for a special meeting to brief the Commissioner on current consumer privacy issues. A number of Privacy Coalition members participated including Susan Grant of Consumer Federation of America who provided background information on the growing commodification of internet users. Bob Gellman gave an overview of a recent report he authored with Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum. The report, The Scoring of America, focuses on how secret consumer scoring threatens privacy. The ACLU's Sandra Fulton explained the Civil Rights Principles for the Era of Big Data and describe some of the privacy issues surrounding big data.

Posted by Jeramie D. Scott on May 14, 2014

April 2014 Monthly Meeting

April 30, 2014

Karen Neuman, Chief Privacy Officer for the Department of Homeland Security, joined the Privacy Coalition to discuss the priorities of DHS. Susan Grant of the Consumer Federation of America discussed a sign-on opportunity to support the SECURE Act of 2014, which would increase the accuracy of credit reports and make it easier for consumers to resolve problems with them. Amie Stepanovich of Access discussed the recent coalition comments submitted to the National Institute of Standards on the agency's new guidelines and principles for setting cryptography standards. Chris Calabrese spoke about an opportunity to support the modernization of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

Posted by Jeramie D. Scott on April 30, 2014

February 2014 Monthly Meeting

March 5, 2014

The February meeting of the Privacy Coalition moved a few days into March to accommodate our guest speaker, Commissioner Chantal Bernier of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Commissioner Bernier joined the Coalition to discuss the current efforts of her office to protect the privacy of Canadian citizens. EPIC's Jeramie Scott announced that the recent coalition letter urging the Obama Administration to accept public comments as part of the White House's review of Big Data and the Future of Privacy succeeded. Responses to the request for public comments are due March 31, 2014. Brad Jansen and Fred Moss updated the Coalition on efforts to encourage the implementation of privacy safeguards while allowing the public to use the Social Security Administration's Social Security Death Index. The meeting culminated with an award to Evan Hendricks. The award honored the 33 year run of Evan's newsletter, Privacy Times, and his extensive work on privacy issues over the years.

Posted by Jeramie D. Scott on March 5, 2014 headlines

FTC Releases 2014 Data Security Update, But Enforcement Questions Remain (July 1, 2014)

Attorney General Supports Privacy Act Protections for E.U. Citizens (July 1, 2014)

FAA, Park Service Ground Drones, Cite Safety Concerns (June 30, 2014)

Supreme Court Rejects Google's Street View Appeal (June 30, 2014)

FTC Ignores Public Comments on Safe Harbor Settlements (June 27, 2014)

Unanimous Supreme Court Upholds Privacy Rights of Cell Phone Users (June 25, 2014)

Defense Agency Adopts Favorable Open Government Rules After EPIC Comments (June 25, 2014)

Coalition to Attorney General: Review FBI's Massive Biometric Database (June 25, 2014)

Senators Leahy and Cornyn Introduce FOIA Reform Bill (June 25, 2014)