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[FYI] (Fwd) Podesta Statement Too Little Too Late

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Mon, 17 Jul 2000 16:01:34 -0400
From:           	Barry Steinhardt <Barrys@aclu.org>
Subject:        	Podesta Statement Too Little Too Late
To:             	gilc-plan@gilc.org
Copies to:      	Gus <gus@privacy.org>
Send reply to:  	gilc-plan@gilc.org

The White House Announced some very modest and some respects damaging
proposals today Internet Surveillance. Here is the ACLU Statement.

Barry Steinhardt

Too Little, Too Late:
ACLU Disappointed by Administration Speech on Electronic Privacy

Statement of Barry Steinhardt, ACLU Associate Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   Contact:
Jennifer Helburn Monday, July 17, 2000                                


This morning's speech on electronic privacy by White House Chief of
Staff John Podesta was deeply disappointing. The Administration missed
an important opportunity to issue an executive order that would have
immediately restrained Federal law enforcement. Instead, it only
offered legislative proposals that are highly unlikely to be adopted
this year.

In his speech at the National Press Club, Podesta also failed to
seriously address the FBI's use of the Carnivore system that requires
Internet service providers to attach a black box to their networks
through which all their subscribers'  communications traffic flows. As
the ACLU has said repeatedly in recent days, Carnivore represents a
grave threat to the privacy of all Americans by giving law enforcement
agencies unsupervised access to a nearly unlimited amount of
communications traffic.

In light of the public and Congressional criticism of Carnivore, we
had hoped and expected far more from an Administration that likes to
tout its sensitivity to privacy rights. Rather than glossing over
Carnivore, Podesta should have announced that the Administration was
suspending its use.

The Administration did make two potentially promising  proposals for
action by the Congress. First, it announced that it would support
legislation to require that the same standards that apply to the
real-time interception of the content of telephone calls ( so-called
"Title III Standards) should also apply to the real time interception
of electronic mail. This proposal would be more significant if the
standards applied to all e-mail messages, including those stored by
service providers.

The Administration also proposed that judges be given greater
authority to review requests for pen registers and trap devices. Under
current law, the judiciary must simply rubber-stamp such requests.
This is a potentially significant change, although it will only be
meaningful if judges are allowed to make independent decisions about
whether the target of the order is involved in criminal activity.

While the Clinton administration's proposals have some heartening
qualities to them, they are too little and too late. Congress has only
a few weeks left before it recesses for the election and it is highly
unlikely to act before President Clinton leaves office in January

Even though it has tried to persuade the American public that it cares
about cyber-privacy, the Clinton Administration consistently declines
to back its rhetoric with action. Last-minute legislative proposals
cannot satisfy the deep privacy concerns of the American public. The
Administration missed an important opportunity this morning and the
privacy of all Americans will suffer as a result.

Barry Steinhardt
Associate Director
American Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad St. New York, NY 10004
212 549 2508 (v) 212 549 2656 (f) 
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