C.D.C to enter the "tracking" game?

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by spy1, Dec 8, 2005.

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  1. spy1

    spy1 Registered Member

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    "Government Agency Seeks New Power to Track Travelers

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proposed a rule that
    would greatly expand the powers of the federal government to track and
    quarantine individual travelers. The federal government, airline and
    shipping industries would scrutinize travelers more closely.

    The new rule, estimated to cost up to $865 million a year, would require
    airline and shipping industries to gather passenger contact and health
    information, maintain it electronically for at least 60 days, and
    release it to the CDC within 12 hours of a request. The CDC would retain
    the information for a year. The information gathered would include:
    "permanent address, email address, passport information, traveling
    companions or group, emergency contact information (including at least
    name of an alternate person or business and a phone number), phone
    number(s) for the passenger, itinerary, and other flight information."

    According to the CDC, "[t]his set of data is greater than the set of
    information currently collected by the airlines, [global distribution
    systems], or travel agencies."


    The rule also broadens the list of symptoms that would make passengers
    subject to quarantine.
    It would allow the CDC to detain a sick
    individual for three business days without a hearing. After that time,
    the CDC Director would have the power to quarantine an individual until
    the end of "the period of incubation and communicability for the
    communicable disease as determined by the Director." For most diseases,
    this would be about a month. During that month, the quarantined person
    would be able to have an administrative hearing, but only to dispute
    factual evidence on whether the person has been exposed to a disease.
    Legal or constitutional claims could not be addressed by the hearing,
    though detainees could petition for a writ of habeas corpus for judicial
    review of the quarantine order.

    With regard to its Privacy Act obligations, the CDC states only that
    "nformation and records provided to CDC will be maintained and stored
    in accordance with HHS and CDC policies and in accordance with Privacy
    Act (5 U.S.C. §552a) and its implementing regulations (45 C.F.R. Part
    5b), which require that the records only be used for authorized purposes
    by authorized personnel." What uses and personnel are authorized are
    unclear.

    EPIC urges the public to submit comments and ask for a clear explanation
    of how the CDC will comply with the provisions of the Privacy Act. The
    public has until January 30, 2006 to comment on this rule. As part of an
    effort to protect patients' privacy rights, EPIC and Patient Privacy
    Rights are circulating an online petition calling for strong safeguards
    of health record information.

    The Proposed CDC Rule:

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/nprm/

    To submit comments about the Rule:

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/nprm/comments.htm

    EPIC's Medical Privacy Page:

    http://www.epic.org/privacy/medical/

    "I Want My Medical Privacy!" petition:

    http://www.patientprivacyrights.org/petition

    Patient Privacy Rights site:

    http://patientprivacyrights.org "


    Now, there are only 16 comments that have been made so far (some of which have suggested adding all tour-bus passengers to the screening process), so it's a foregone conclusion that this is going to go into effect if people don't get busy and contact the C.D.C. via email with their opposition to this (or their support, should that be the case).

    When you're asking yourself which way you should jump on this one, ask yourself if - when returning from a vacation - you can afford to be quarantined for three days (or a month) if you simply seem sick to someone (make sure to save up lots of extra money for that - and hope that you have an understanding boss).

    And ask yourself if you think it's any of the governments' business to know "permanent address, email address, passport information, traveling
    companions or group, emergency contact information (including at least
    name of an alternate person or business and a phone number), phone
    number(s) for the passenger, itinerary, and other flight information." - and do you think all of that information's actually going to do them any good compared to the cost, both monetarily and in privacy-impact on all of the rest of us. And bear in mind that it's a given that they'll share that information with any other government agency that requests it.

    But take the time to write, whichever way you feel about it.

    It's important. Pete
     
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