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Amy Boyer's father responds to Privacilla report



[See responses below from one of those "often-clueless and 
frequently-unaccountable bureaucrats," EPIC, and Privacilla's rebuttals. 
--Declan]

*********

>Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 04:43:17 -0800 (PST)
>From: Tim Remsburg <remsburg1@excite.com>
>To: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
>
>On Thu, 14 Dec 2000 12:12:13 -0500, Declan McCullagh wrote:
>
> >
> >  You're welcome to reply to this:
> >  http://www.politechbot.com/p-01573.html
> >
> >  -Declan
> >
>      Declan,
>     This article has been brought to my attention by the media. I have
>voiced my concerns with the problems I see with the "Amy Boyer Law". However
>the problem this points out would,I believe, be covered in the law. This
>bill has changed in many ways from the original draft explained to me. I
>have a site that I created in memory of Amy and in this site I wanted people
>to be able to voice their emotions about how they feel on these issues. This
>person,Andrew Nelson,writes in to the discussion post that he feels these
>phone numbers and social security numbers are out there everywhere and will
>not be a problem for others to have. He gives his phone number and SS# of
>his own free will. He is the one who posted it. If he had posted his
>neighbors number or anyone elses number other than his own then I think that
>would be a problem. This bill says these numbers cannot be displayed without
>the owners consent in writing or electronic signature. I believe when he
>posted and signed the post that he indeed gave his consent. I think it
>should be illegal for me to have posted it without his consent. Each case of
>this kind would have to be looked at on an individual basis.
>    Please don't misunderstand me though. I have problems with the way this
>bill has evolved. In the beginning this bill was to allow the SS# to only be
>available to law enforcement, credit bureaus and financial institutions.
>They would no longer be able to display,sell or trade this information to
>any third party. This would keep the companies like search agencies and info
>brokers from being allowed to buy and sell our personal private info without
>our consent in writing. This really needs to happen. But this bill now
>allows any company or individual to access our numbers through public and
>gov't documents and states as long as they do this in a legal process then
>there is no problem. To me this allows them to continue to sell to people
>like my daughters killer and this angers me. These SS# cards have always
>said things like this number is not for identification, use it to apply for
>social security benefits, any misuse of this number will result in a
>fine,inprisonment or both. The third party sale of these numbers is not what
>they were for. This information allows people to access much more info that
>is not available without this number. This must change.
>
>Thank you very much,sincerely yours,
>    Tim & Helen Remsburg

***********

Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 18:08:04 -0500
From: [anonymized@someagency].gov
To: declan@well.com
Subject: Re: FC: Amy Boyer "privacy" bill restricts amyboyer.org website

OK. That's twice in the past week you have picked on those of us in 
government. ;)
(I think you called us "often-clueless and frequently-unaccountable 
bureaucrats" the other day.)
I will try to extract my revenge by attemtping to correct you for the 
second time in as many weeks!
(And they said that David Blaine was brave!) Same rules as last time 
though, I don't want to have any attribution to my comments.
Here goes . . .
Doesn't the bill have an exception for SSNs that are already public?
I would assume that her SSN is part of the public record from the murder 
case if it really
was a factor in the Defendant's tracking her. Aren't the SSN's of deceased 
people all
public records anyway? I know that the SSA has a publicly accessible
database called the Social Security Death Index, which you can link to at 
the following URL:
http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/vital/ssdi/main.htm
(I don't know whether there is some specific authority that allows the SSA 
to release that data or
whether it too would find itself limited by this bill if passed.)
That's it for now.

***********

>Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 12:24:00 -0500
>To: declan@well.com
>From: Marc Rotenberg <rotenberg@epic.org>
>Subject: Re: FC: Amy Boyer "privacy" bill restricts amyboyer.org website
>Cc: shen@epic.org, hoofnagle@epic.org
>
>Privacy groups have opposed this version of the law and in
>our letters to the Hill have expressed concern about any
>measure that would limit the publication of the SSN.
>
>The collection and use of the SSN in the context of
>a commercial transaction, however, is a separate issue.
>
>Marc Rotenberg

***********

>Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 13:51:26 -0500 (EST)
>From: "J.D. Abolins" <jda-ir@pluto.njcc.com>
>To: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
>cc: politech@politechbot.com
>Subject: Re: FC: Amy Boyer "privacy" bill restricts amyboyer.org website
>
>On Thu, 14 Dec 2000, Declan McCullagh wrote:
>
> > [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]
>
>By focusing upon the disemination end of the info rather than allowing
>people to control the self-disclosure end is a big part of the problem.
>Rather than giving people the ability to say "no" to certain info requests
>and then negotiate the info disclosure, this law and some others work by
>making others keep quiet about info already disclosed.
>
>In some contexts, such as contractual confidentiality, the is a legal
>constraint upon disclosure but the law here is not dealing with contracts.
>
>I checked the www.amyboyer.org site and didn't find any numeric SSNs. But
>this was a quick check so my belary & weary eyes may have missed. But
>looking at the site reminded of something else:
>
>- A general legal concept in the USA is that the dead do not have a right
>to privacy!
>
>Has anybody looked at the bill to see if it unintentionally establishes
>protection for the SSNs of deceased people?  If so, then the listings of
>SSNs for deceased people, a useful tool for fighting fraud, would be
>legally problematic.
>
>
>J.D. Abolins
>Meyda Online -- Infosec & Privacy Studies
>Web: http://www.meydabbs.com

*********


>X-Sender: johnh@mail.changeover.com
>X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Light Version 3.0.6 (32)
>Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 14:54:26 -0400
>To: declan@well.com
>From: John Henry <johnh@changeover.com>
>Subject: Re: FC: Amy Boyer "privacy" bill restricts amyboyer.org website
>
>
> >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.
>
>Why would outlawing the use of SS Numbers be a first amendment issue?
>
>It seems to me that the numbers are "owned" byt he gov't and that they can
>restrict who they may be released to and by whom.

***********

>From: "Jim Harper" <jim.harper@privacilla.org>
>To: "Declan McCullagh" <declan@well.com>
>Cc: <remsburg1@excite.com>
>Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 10:18:47 -0500
>X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 4.72.3110.1
>
>Declan:
>cc: Tim Remsburg
>
>The current version of the law requires "affirmatively expressed consent" to
>display, sell, use an SSN.  This pretty clearly excludes the idea of implied
>or imputed consent, which Mr. Remsburg believes he has (and I agree).  He
>would be violating the law by maintaining that SSN on the site he controls
>if he didn't inform Andrew Nelson about the uses that might be made of the
>SSN, then get "affirmatively expressed consent."
>
>Jim

**********

>From: "Jim Harper" <jim.harper@privacilla.org>
>To: "Declan McCullagh" <declan@well.com>
>Cc: <john@changeover.com>
>Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 10:21:50 -0500
>X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 4.72.3110.1
>
>Declan
>cc: John
>
>This is addressed in the paper.  There's no doctrine that leaves ownership
>of information with the government just because the government created the
>information.  Example: Could gov't ban the use of the names of towns, or
>army bases?  Only under traditional First Amendment analysis --- if there
>was a clear national security justification, for example.
>
>Jim

*********

>From: "Jim Harper" <jim.harper@privacilla.org>
>To: "Declan McCullagh" <declan@well.com>
>Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 10:31:10 -0500
>
>below
>
> >
> >OK. That's twice in the past week you have picked on those of us in
> >government. ;)
> >(I think you called us "often-clueless and frequently-unaccountable
> >bureaucrats" the other day.)
> >I will try to extract my revenge by attemtping to correct you for the
> >second time in as many weeks!
> >(And they said that David Blaine was brave!) Same rules as last time
> >though, I don't want to have any attribution to my comments.
> >Here goes . . .
> >Doesn't the bill have an exception for SSNs that are already public?
>
>There is an exception for SSNs that "may appear in a public record" ---
>whatever that means.  Because of her youth, it's possible that Amy Boyer's
>SSN does not appear in a public record --- or at least in any publicly
>available public record.  Of course, her SSN "may" appear in a public record
>even if it doesn't actually appear in one.  Sloppy drafting.
>
> >I would assume that her SSN is part of the public record from the murder
> >case if it really
> >was a factor in the Defendant's tracking her. Aren't the SSN's of deceased
> >people all
> >public records anyway?
>
>Liam Youens got Amy Boyer's SSN while she was still alive, and the bill
>appears aimed at that.  She was also a victim of identity theft --- someone
>started writing checks in her name --- after her death, but this was because
>someone had stolen her wallet out of her car.  No doubt about her
>victimization, but neither the Internet nor the SSN did it.
>
>I know that the SSA has a publicly accessible
> >database called the Social Security Death Index, which you can link to at
> >the following URL:
> >http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/vital/ssdi/main.htm
> >(I don't know whether there is some specific authority that allows the SSA
> >to release that data or
> >whether it too would find itself limited by this bill if passed.)
> >That's it for now.

**********






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