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Privacy Issues
in Congressional Research Service Reports
Privacy: An Overview of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (98-326, October 2012) (162pp | 126kb | PDF) — “This is an outline of two federal statutes: the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).1 Both evolved out of the shadow of the Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. The courts play an essential role in both. Congress crafted both to preserve the ability of government officials to secure information critical to the nation’s well-being and to ensure individual privacy. It modeled parts of FISA after features in ECPA. There are differences, however. ECPA protects individual privacy from the intrusions of other individuals. FISA has no such concern. FISA authorizes the collection of information about the activities of foreign powers and their agents, whether those activities are criminal or not. ECPA’s only concern is crime.”

Changes in Airport Passenger Screening Technologies and Procedures: Frequently Asked Questions (R41502, January 2011) (13pp | 157kb | PDF) — "In the autumn of 2010, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began deploying new technologies and procedures for screening passengers at airport checkpoints. Reports of negative public reaction to some of these changes have prompted intense congressional interest in TSA passenger screening. This report addresses some of these concerns."

Privacy Law and Online Advertising: Legal Analysis of Data Gathering by Online Advertisers Such as Double Click and NebuAd (RL34693, January 2009) (14pp | 196kb | PDF) — "[T]echnology has been developed which enables online advertisements to be targeted directly at individual users based on their web surfing activity. This practice is widely known as "behavioral" or "e-havioral" advertising. This individual behavioral targeting has raised a number of privacy concerns….There are no current federal regulations specific to online behavioral advertising. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has put forth a number of guiding principles intended to aid the industry in creating self-regulatory principles. The FTC maintains that self-regulation is preferable to government intervention in this case."

Privacy: Key Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission (RS21915, August 2004) (6pp | 34kb | PDF) — "Several of the recommendations made to protect against and prepare for terrorist attacks in the final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) focus on the protection of civil liberties. This report examines these recommendations, and those of other recent commissions….The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) recognized that information sharing is essential to combat terrorism. While the benefits from the use of advanced technologies for antiterrorism efforts are clear, the risks to individual privacy and the potential for abuse and harm to individual liberty by Government officials and employees deploying such technologies are equally established." 

For Further Information
– See the GAO Reports on privacy issues.



Source: Page created by the DHS/Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the DHS/Privacy Office in cooperation with the DOJ, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Last date revised: 08/11/13