Just Published – ID Card

Just Published – ID Card

An essay in a new book on objections to a mandatory universal identification document points out that the 1996 “Republican Revolution” in Congress that promised to reduce government intrusions actually “saddled the country with numerous new registration and enumeration requirements.” Alabama businessman Scott McDonald, who has campaigned against enumeration, writes, “Parents felt pressured to number their children. As Biblically offensive as the new numbering requirements are, the corporate churches are offering little or no resistance.” The essay is included in the first collection ever of citizen outbursts against the accelerating trend towards a national ID card, National Identification Systems: Essays in Opposition edited by contrarians Carl Watner of South Carolina and Wendy McElroy of Ontario, Canada (308 pages, $45 from McFarland, 800/ 253-2187, www.mcfarlandpub.com). It includes chapters by PRIVACY JOURNAL Publisher Robert Ellis Smith and Privacy International Director Simon Davies. This fills a huge need. Finally some Americans have an opportunity to voice their resistance to a trend that most people regard as inevitable – and not such a bad idea. The book also provides evidence that the Bush Administration’s pleasure at having the support of fundamentalist Christians may be dangerously misplaced.

* A report by the investigative office of Congress points out that Social Security numbers are easy to get through court records available at clerks’ offices and, to a lesser extent, posted online, as compared to the much more protected treatment of SSNs in the records of other government agencies. Social Security Numbers: Governments Could Do More to Reduce Display in Public Records and on Identity Cards by the General Accounting Office (GAO-05-59, Nov. 2004), available at www.gao.gov/new. items/d0559.pdf. It was requested by U.S. Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr., R-Fla.

* Affordable Security: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Protecting Your Home, Business, and Automobile by security specialist Steven Hampton delivers what it promises, in succinct, understandable chapters (302 pages, $39 from Paladin Press, 303/443-7250, miker@palidinpress.com, www.paladin-press.com).

* The Federal Trade Commission proposes altering its telemarketing rule to remove a so-far unenforced ban on prerecorded telemarketing calls to consumers, if the business calling has a pre-existing relationship with the consumer. www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/11/tsramend.htm.

* “People are stupid” is the mantra of a neoNazi who specializes in selling worthless junk through mass e-mail. He is profiled in Spam Kings: The Real Story Behind the High-Rolling Hucksters Pushing Porn, Pills and @*#?% Enlargements by Brian McWilliams, a cyber-investigative journalist (333 pages, $22.95 from O’Reilly, 800/998-9938, order@oreilly.com, www.oreilly.com). Confirming that these spammers are about as shadowy as you would expect, McWilliams describes the on-going battle between the “Nazi idiot” and one of the heroic online volunteers who try to bring down mischievous spammers.

* Exploring the impact of business and government databanks, Daniel J. Solove develops a powerful theme: “Many privacy problems are the product of legal decisions that have been made over the past century as we have shaped our modern information economy. Once we understand the full extent of the legal construction of privacy, we will realize that privacy is not passively slipping away, but is being actively eliminated by the way we are constructing the information economy through law.” The associate professor of law at The George Washington University Law School argues in The Digital Person that the law must change to strengthen the individual vis-a-vis bureaucracies and prevent compulsory giving up of personal data (283 pages, $29.95 from New York University Press, www.nyupress.org).

* FOIA 2004: Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws edited by Harry Hammitt of Access Reports, David Sobel and Tiffany Stedman, covering all aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, the Government in the Sunshine Act, and the Federal Advisory Committee Act, has been released in its 22nd edition ($40 from EPIC, www. epic.org/bookstore/foia2004).

* “The HIPAA Security Rule – A Guide for Employers and Health Care Providers” is a compact disc providing checklists and guidance on the security rule, not the HIPAA confidentiality rule (200 pages, $52.95 from Hubbartt & Associates, P.O. Box 1355, St. Charles, Ill. 60174, 630/513-9494, fax 630/513-8237, www.medicalprivacy.info).

* Health Privacy in Canada: Law, Practice and Compliance, a new newsletter published eight times a year, is edited by Valerie M. Steeves of Carleton University, Ottawa ($195 Canadian from 21 Alderbrook Dr., Ottawa, Ont., Canada K2H 5W4, orders@electriclaw press.com, www.electriclawpress.com).

* Argumentative, clichéd, imprecise, and ultimately puzzling, Risk Revolution by Derek V. Smith portrays a dangerous society in which personal security is at risk (257 pages, $25 from Longstreet Press, 2974 Hardman Court, Atlanta, Ga. 30305, www.longstreetpress.net). The author is the CEO of ChoicePoint, the $796 million-a-year spin-off of Equifax that is positioning itself to be the supplier of personal information to panicky government agencies building massive databases for screening citizens. But Smith hardly mentions any of this in his book. Pursuing his goal of making the privacy debate “constructive,” Smith begins by saying that privacy activists are “heedless of risk” and “don’t want personal information circulated or shared under any circumstances.” The balance of the book doesn’t offer any guidelines for protecting personal information or even for using it effectively.

* Stephen Krueger, a lawyer in the North Pacific Republic of Palau, has published Krueger on Passport Law, a treatise filled with legal citations and histories of issuing travel documents and of the constitutionally recognized right to travel freely, whether internationally or domestically (420 pages, $100 from Stephen Krueger, P.O. Box 2060, Koror 96940 Palau, dailidvpalau@yahoo.com.tw).

Need a Speaker?

Call Robert Ellis Smith, Privacy Journal Publisher since 1974; lawyer; expert on identity documents, credit reports, constitutional rights, protecting your own privacy 401/274-7861

Copyright Privacy Journal Dec 2004

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