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Amy Boyer "privacy" bill restricts amyboyer.org website

[Another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences, something that
bureaucrats and regulatory enthusiasts are governed by, even if they
continually refuse to recognize it. :) --Declan]

----- Forwarded message from Jim Harper <jim.harper@privacilla.org> -----

From: "Jim Harper" <jim.harper@privacilla.org>
Subject: Fw: Privacilla:  Amy Boyer's Law Confuses Privacy and Crime Control, Solves Neither Problem
To: "Declan McCullagh" <declan@wired.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 12:01:15 -0500
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 4.72.3110.1


PoliTechnicals might be interested in the report on Amy Boyer's Law
posted on Privacilla.  (http://www.privacilla.org) A proposed law that
would prohibit the display of Social Security Numbers --- named after
a young woman murdered last year in New Hampshire --- would snare the
Web site hosted in her memory.


For Immediate Release
December 14, 2000 
Contact: Jim Harper 
(202) 486-0824 
                Privacilla Assesses Amy Boyer's Law
 Measure Confuses Privacy and Crime Control, Addresses Neither Problem Well
Privacilla.org released a study today called "Understanding Amy
Boyer's Law: Social Security Numbers, Crime Control, and Privacy." The
study analyzes a bill slated for final action in the U.S.  Congress at
any time.
Though widely viewed as a privacy measure, Amy Boyer's Law was
inspired by the horrible murder of a young Nashua, New Hampshire
woman. It most closely addresses another type of crime: identity
"Social Security Numbers are closely identified with the crime of
identity fraud," said Jim Harper, operator of the Privacilla Web site,
"yet Amy Boyer's law proposes to control Social Security Numbers in
the name of privacy. Crime and privacy are two different things. It
just doesn't add up."
Amy Boyer's Law would outlaw the display, sale, or use of Social
Security Numbers in some circumstances. In doing so, it crosses lines
drawn by the First Amendment. The study reveals that a Web site
maintained by Amy Boyer's family would violate Amy Boyer's Law.
"This illustrates the folly of going after information and speech to
prevent crime," continued Harper. "Amy Boyer's Law has an even more
tenuous relationship to protecting privacy." The Privacilla study
tweaks the American Civil Liberties Union for opposing Amy Boyer's Law
 liberty-reducing crime-control legislation  because it does
not go far enough.
The Privacilla study finds scant evidence that Social Security Numbers
are being used to invade privacy, and ample evidence that they are
being used to commit crimes like identity fraud.
"Identification of this crime problem as a 'privacy' problem has
limited the ability of policy-makers to attack it directly," the
report concludes. "As either a crime-control measure or a privacy
measure, Amy Boyer's Law would be ineffective, and it is thwarting
progress on these serious issues."
Privacilla.org (http://www.privacilla.org) is a Web site that captures
privacy as a public policy issue from a free-market, pro-technology
perspective. It has been described as a "privacy policy portal" and an
"online think-tank."

----- End forwarded message -----

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