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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

More Legislative (and Regulatory) Alerts

Here are a few more alerts about actions that you can take to preserve your personal freedom. They are all quick and easy, requiring only a few clicks of your mouse. To demand that the FCC investigate the NSA's latest domestic spying scandal, click here. To tell your congressman to vote against H.R. 1415, which threatens your privacy and the gun rights of millions of Americans, go here, then click on the link to the McCarthy Bill. To sign an on-line petition demanding more protection of your medical privacy, click here. For more information, read on.

Domestic Spying

According to the ACLU:
It's illegal and un-American for your phone company to hand your call records to the government without a warrant. But that's just what they're doing, violating the privacy and rights of millions of innocent Americans in the process.

The FCC has the authority and the obligation to investigate the NSA spying scandal, despite their wrong-headed refusal to act. Add your name to the public record and support our formal demand using the form below. If you live in a state where we are filing a complaint with local regulators, we will also add your name to our local demand for action.

The ACLU's Action Center makes it easy to add your voice to the list of citizens demanding that the FCC investigate the NSA's snooping into your phone records.

H.R. 1415

The Gun Owners of America warn about H.R. 1415, which should be of concern not only to gun-rights supporters, but also to those who care about individual privacy and the rights of veterans. According to the GOA, H.R. 1415, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) would require states to "make electronically available to the Attorney General records relevant to a determination of whether a person is disqualified from possessing or receiving a firearm under [federal law]" [Section 102(c)(1)(A)].

The GOA's action alert further states:
Obviously, this starts with a huge computer network of felonies and misdemeanors -- with the FBI trolling through records of bar fights or domestic disputes to determine if you spanked your kids or yelled at your husband and are therefore disqualified from owning a gun under the Lautenberg amendment. Congress should be repealing the Lautenberg gun ban, not extending it to disable even more people from owning guns.

But the problem goes much broader than that:

* Federal law prohibits illegal aliens from owning guns [18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5)]. But, in order to identify illegal aliens, "relevant" records could mean that the FBI would demand state tax returns of ALL American citizens, employment records, or even library records -- all in the name of making sure that you're not an illegal.

* And did you know that veterans who have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder have been deemed as mentally "incompetent" and are prohibited from owning guns under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4)? Records of those instances certainly exist; and, in 1999, the Department of Veterans Administration turned over 90,000 names of veterans to the FBI for inclusion into the NICS background check system.

It is unconscionable that veterans who experience mental distress as a result of their service to our country would be deprived of their Second Amendment rights when they return to civilian life, but it appears that they sometimes are. H.R. 1415 would further threaten the rights of these veterans.

H.R. 1415 is currently in the House Judiciary Committee. You can find the full text of the bill here.

The GOA's Legislative Action Center makes it easy to find your representative's contact information, and provides a sample message. Just go here, then click on the link to the McCarthy Bill.

Medical Privacy

Jill Miller Zimon of Writes Like She Talks warns that the government can access your medical records under the guise of fighting terrorism:
Ever seen a guidance counselor in elementary or secondary school? How about college? What about an EAP (Employee Assistance Program)? Ever done more dedicated research into who you are and why you are the way you are with a mental health clinician of any sort?

Well, remember that, if we let the argument that AT&T's business purpose includes helping the United States government protect the U.S.A from terrorism and therefore can provide without a subpoena any and all information generated as a result of their relationship with customers stand, why not use this argument for any health care entity that deals in mental health?

(entire post here)

Ms. Zimon links to the Electronic Privacy Information Center's medical privacy page, which links to this on-line petition to demand greater control of your medical records.


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