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Top 10 Privacy News Stories

Dr. GovLoop just got his latest installment of “Privacy News Highlights” and wanted to share the best of the bunch with you. Here are the top 10 links – the stuff that I thought would most interest you.


US � Senate Unanimously Passes Faster FOIA Act of 2010

The Senate unanimously passed the Faster FOIA Act of 2010, introduced by
Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX). The legislation
seeks to improve the processing of
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
requests by establishing a 16-member commission to study methods for
reducing delays in processing FOIA requests. Government reports revea
substantial delays in disclosing records subject to the open government
law, sometimes as long as 15 years. President Obama�s recent Open
Government Directive requires agencies to put forth plans to reduce
agency FOIA request backlogs by 10% each year. The commission created
by the Faster FOIA Act will also be responsible for examining the
current FOIA fee structure and granting fee waivers for FOIA
requestors. Fees are often the subject of prolonged FOIA appeals and
litigation against agencies. [
The Faster FOIA Act of 2010]


US � Laptop Stolen from Contractor�s Office Holds Army Reservists� Information

The US Army Reserve Command is notifying approximately 207,000 reservists
that their personally identifiable information is on a CD-ROM in a
laptop computer stolen from a government contractor. The compromised
data include names, addresses and Social Security numbers (SSNs). The
computer may also contain information about reservists� dependents and
spouses. The computer was one of three stolen from the Morrow, Georgia
offices of Serco Inc. [
Kreb on Security] [Gov Info Security]

US � Commerce Dept. Seeking Input on Internet Privacy

The Department of Commerce (DOC) is actively seeking input from Internet users as part of its recent entry into the complex discussions and
debate around federal data privacy legislation. The DOC will continue
to gather public comments on Internet privacy through June 7.
Respondents have the chance to comment on a range of topics, including
the nation�s legal framework for privacy protection, the impact of
state and international laws and the effects of data privacy law on
trade. Comments received will contribute to the Obama Administration�s
domestic policy and international engagement on Internet privacy, the
report states. [
Federal Computer Week]

CA � Facebook Warned it�s Not in Compliance

Canada�s Office of the Privacy Commissioner warned that Facebook is not complying with federal privacy laws despite major fixes unveiled this
week that give users more control over how their data is shared on the
sprawling social media network. Hours after Facebook�s founder Mark
Zuckerberg introduced a number of simplifications to make it easier for
its 500 million users to shield personal information, Assistant
Commissioner Denham cited concerns in an interview. She said Facebook�s
new settings continue to require users to publicly reveal their names,
profile information, pictures, gender and networks to the broader
Internet. Under Canadian law companies are bound to give consumers full
control over how their personal data is used. Another issue is
Facebook�s recent move to allow outside software developers to cull
users personal data and track their Internet movements. Facebook had
committed last year to give members the ability to block such Internet
trespassing by August. �We are still waiting for Facebook to honour all
of its commitments. I am disappointed in the direction they have
taken,� Ms. Denham said. Mr. Zuckerberg said Wednesday that the company
will be introducing new controls that allow it to block outside
companies, but the details will not be available for a few weeks. Ms.
Denham said her office will pay close attention to the changes.[
Source] [Don�t like Facebook? Walk away, Cavoukian says] [Privacy groups assail Facebook changes]

US � Federal Employees Using Unsecure File Transfer Methods

More than half of the respondents in a survey of 200 government IT and information security professionals said employees at their agencies use
unsecure methods to transfer information. 52% said employees transfer
files through personal email both within the agency and when
transmitting to other agencies. Two-thirds of the respondents said
employees use USB drives, DVDs and other physical media to transfer
files and 60% said their employees use the File Transfer Protocol
(FTP). A significant problem seems to be that government agencies are
lagging behind private industry in the use of encryption tools and the
establishment of secure file transfer policies. Some agencies are
faring better than others. For instance, the Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) logs access to taxpayer information, uses an encrypted WAN, and
all files transfers both within and outside the IRS are encrypted. [
ComputerWorld]

US � Study: Young Adults Are Most Privacy Proactive

According to a study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, young adults are more likely to pay attention to online privacy than
most people think. The study shows that 18 to 29-year-olds keep tighter
control of their online personas than any other age group. Seventy-one
percent have changed their privacy settings on social networking sites
and they have been consistent in this practice since 2006. Another
major finding, the report states, is that no matter their age, people
who are most aware of others viewing their online behavior are also the
most likely to closely manage their privacy settings. [
Ars Technica]

CA � Government Tables Anti-Spam Legislation

The Canadian government yesterday tabled what Industry Minister Tony Clement described as long-overdue legislation�an anti-spam law that
would impose up to $1 million penalties and would allow for civil
actions against violators. Clement said the Fighting Internet and
Wireless Spam Act would result in �a significant diminution� of spam
and would nix Canada�s reputation as a haven for spammers. The Office
of the Privacy Commissioner would enforce the legislation, which would
also see the creation of a spam reporting centre. University of Ottawa
law professor Michael Geist
praised the bill and predicted its swift passage. [Vancouver Sun] [Industry Canada press release] [Bill C-28]

US � HHS Proposes Survey of Patients

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to conduct a studyto address �an evidence gap about patients� preferences and perceptions of delivery of healthcare services by providers who have adopted EHR
systems in their practices.� The proposed �Patient Perceptions of EHR�
study will survey 840 patients of healthcare providers currently using
EHRs to get their opinion on the quality of their care. The aim is to
help policymakers understand how EHRs affect patients� medical care,
communication with their doctor and coordination of care, the report
states. [
HealthImaging.com]

US � DHS Piloting New Cyber Threat Information Sharing Program

The USs Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Defense Department are partnering with several financial services companies to test a new
model of cyber threat information sharing. The program allows
participants to share cyber threat information in real time and to
examine network intrusions and activity. The long term goal is to allow
DHS to look at cyber threat data across the government and private
sectors, as many components of the country�s critical infrastructure
are private, and improve cyber security for everyone. [
Source]

And now for the Doctor’s personal favorite:

CA � Border Guard Used Private Info to Woo Women on Facebook

A B.C. border guard e-mailed himself the passport details of attractive women who came through his inspection line so he could hit on them
later on Facebook, according to an internal government investigation.
The guard�s behaviour first came to the attention of the Canada Border
Services Agency last October when officials received a complaint from a
married female traveller. The woman told CBSA investigators she came
into Canada on Oct. 18, 2009 at around 5 p.m. Four hours later, around
9 p.m., she received a friend request on Facebook. After receiving the
woman�s complaint, CBSA investigators determined that the woman had
indeed come through the guard�s inspection line on Oct. 18.
Investigators also looked at the guard�s computer and found that he had
contacted the woman through Facebook. �On numerous occasions (he had)
captured images and names of female travellers he had conducted primary
processing on� and then sent the information to his personal e-mail
account. The report does not show exactly how many other times the
guard attempted to contact female travellers through Facebook. [
Vancouver Sun]

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