More than a dozen consumer and civil liberties groups sent a letter to the Obama administration urging the United States to support Europe's efforts to update and strengthen privacy legislation while decrying an "unprecedented lobbying campaign" by the U.S. government and industry to limit the protections that the proposed European Union data protection directive would provide.
In a Feb. 5 joint press conference with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said the two departments will choose a "core set of iEHR capabilities no later than March of 2013" and will agree on a set of standardized healthcare data no later than this December. "Rather than building a single integrated system from scratch, we will focus our immediate efforts on integrating VA and DoD health data as quickly as possible, by focusing on interoperability and using existing solutions," Panetta said.
New guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center are in place that should safeguard civil liberties and protect privacy, according to an information paper (.pdf) released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The paper further asserts that the National Counterterrorism Center is subject to the oversight of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and must keep the intelligence committees in Congress fully and currently informed of its activities.
Open government initiatives need to supply context with data they provide and gear that data toward uses the public would want, instead of simply supplying greater amounts of unparsed information, says the Center of Technology in Government.
Growing government inquiries are having "serious chilling" effects on free expression and tangible privacy implications, says Twitter's manager of legal policy Jeremy Kessel in a Jan. 28 blog post . Over the past year, Twitter received 1,858 government requests for user information worldwide and 48 government requests to withhold content, according to the company's new transparency report .
For the first time, search engine giant Google has revealed a breakdown of the kinds of legal process that U.S. government entities use when compelling it to hand over user data. According to Google's most recent semi-annual transparency report , between July and December 2012, Google received 8,438 U.S. government requests for information about 14,791 users.
"It's the closest thing to a free speech platform for debate about the issues of the day in China," said Wertime, who spoke Jan. 22 at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. "It's a platform for breaking news and stories and it provides a window into Chinese attitudes and Chinese life."
Updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act by requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before reading people's stored emails and other forms of electronic communication is among the Senate Judiciary's top technology priorities for the new 113th Congress, says committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
Increases in surveillance can negatively impact the way individuals feel about government and even cause hostility among citizenry normally not likely to commit crimes, says the U.K. government's Foresight project. Su rveillance may cause individuals to act compliant but that, historically, high levels of state surveillance has led many young citizens to become angry and subversive.
The Office of Personnel Management will begin providing the Social Security Administration with file extracts from its annuity master file in a bid to prevent duplicative benefit payments, OPM says in a Jan. 16 Federal Register notice .