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New judiciary panel leader promises more oversight, privacy protection

December 13, 2006 Incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy unveiled his agenda for the Democratic-led Congress on Wednesday, promising a fresh start for the panel that was headed by Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter in the 109th Congress. During his speech at the Georgetown University Law Center, the Vermont Democrat said his agenda ...

Privacy watchdogs urge probe of spying program

December 5, 2006 Civil liberties watchdogs on Tuesday urged a federal advisory committee to aggressively investigate the Bush administration's program of wiretapping without warrants, arguing that oversight is only effective when the truth prevails and not deference to those in power. The White House Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, established by a ...

Federal information-sharing plan may face hurdles

November 20, 2006 A long-awaited government plan to improve information-sharing about terrorist threats got high marks from policy watchers but the roadmap has flaws that could diminish its effectiveness, a government intelligence expert said. The report, sent to Capitol Hill on Thursday by the office of the national intelligence director, included blueprints for ...

Groups ask high court to review aviation ID policies

November 14, 2006 Civil libertarians this week asked the Supreme Court to hear a case challenging a secret law that governs travelers in American airports. The case involves a Southwest Airlines customer who sued the government over the civilian passenger-identification policy, which he argues is unconstitutional. The four-year-old lawsuit was dismissed by the ...

Democratic victory may kill surveillance bills

November 8, 2006 The new Democratic-led House could bode well for the civil-liberties crowd. The most pressing issue for the 110th Congress will be quashing efforts they say would allow the continuation of an eavesdropping program authorized by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington ...

Group warns global travelers about computer searches

November 1, 2006 An international trade group for travel executives is warning its members that government agents may seize and search travelers' laptop computers, discs and other electronic devices upon arrival in the United States or when departing for a foreign country. The alert came last week at a meeting of the Association ...

Defense official: Changes necessary to meet 'net-centric' goals

October 24, 2006 The defense community's prevailing "information is power" attitude must evolve into "a culture that embraces and leverages the power of information," a senior Defense Department official told the Military Communications Conference on Tuesday. The word shuffle is not insignificant, said John Grimes, assistant secretary of defense for networks and information ...

Agency will test community reviews of patents

October 19, 2006 A trial online peer-review process slated to launch early next year to streamline the U.S. patent system will be a social-networking first for the federal government, the project's director said at the American Intellectual Property Law Association annual meeting Thursday. The initiative, led by the Patent and Trademark Office and ...

ACLU to pressure Congress over warrantless spying

October 16, 2006 The head of the nation's most prominent civil-liberties group vowed Monday to make sure that a bill to embolden a domestic wiretapping program authorized by President Bush "stays dead" when the new Congress comes to Washington in January. The House last month passed a bill, H.R. 5825, to overhaul rules ...

House panel votes to ease access to federal records

September 27, 2006 A House Government Reform subcommittee on Wednesday approved a bill that would give the public better access to government records and require federal agencies to provide more timely responses to information requests. The bill, H.R. 867, would amend the Freedom of Information Act and was the result of many months' ...