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New privacy act

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H. R. 4561


To amend title 5, United States Code, to require that agencies, in promulgating rules, take into consideration the impact of such rules on the privacy of individuals, and for other purposes.


OCTOBER 07, 16:12 ET

House Passes Agency Privacy Measure


AP Technology Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agencies would have to take privacy concerns into account when issuing new regulations under legislation passed by the House Monday.

``The bill is likely to make agencies more sensitive to privacy risk,'' said Chris Hoofnagle, legislative counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington.

Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., introduced the measure with support from civil liberties and conservative groups. It passed by voice vote.

Sometimes an agency issues a new regulation that has an unintended or unanticipated impact on privacy, supporters said. In a 1999 incident cited by supporters, the Treasury Department was forced to rescind a rule calling for the banking industry to track and report banking practices.

Treasury retreated from that position after hearing over 200,000 comments from the public opposing the idea.

Under Barr's bill, Americans would be able to see both initial privacy assessments when the rule is published for public comment and a final analysis after it goes into effect. The analysis would explain how the agency responded to privacy concerns raised by the public.

The House already approved a similar privacy reporting requirement that would cover the new Department of Homeland Security.

There is no Senate version of the bill yet. Richard Diamond, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said House leaders think the Senate may pass it at the end of the congressional session when other non-controversial bills are considered.


The bill number is H.R. 4561.

On the Net: Bill text:

Rep. Bob Barr:


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