ISPLA Meets With Bills' Sponsors in DC
- Please excuse the cross posts. Information below is in regard to legislation
impacting the Investigative and Security professions. Permission granted to
During September, ISPLA representatives met in Washington, DC with
Congressional sponsors, or their staff, regarding each of the following
House bills, except for the Employee Free Choice Act. That legislation will
be resolved in the Senate.
Privacy advocates are aggressively pushing their agenda with continued
efforts to close investigative and security professionals' sources of
information and access to records of personal identifying information.
Security breach, stalking, pretexting, anti-spoofing, identity theft, and
Social Security number ban legislation are the vehicles for such attempts.
When such legislation is proposed on what appear to be valid grounds, there
are unintended consequences often not foreseen by the sponsors.
Restricting Access to Social Security numbers, limiting use of credit
reports and security breach issues:
Should legislation limit private investigators' access to Social Security
numbers, which are a key identifier used to locate people, there would be
serious due process issues. Such bills always provide an exception for law
enforcement. However, if the government only has access to such information
an inequity will exist if such access is denied to defense counsel and its
There is a legitimate critical need for continued access to such
information. It is used to identify and locate witnesses, missing children,
heirs, deadbeat parents, and criminals. It is also a necessary tool in
combating and investigating ID theft, as well as other types of fraud. It is
a means of locating individuals who have hidden their ill-gotten gains taken
from our clients.
HR 3306, the "Social Security Number Privacy and Identity Theft Prevention
Act of 2009" - Rep. John S. Tanner [D-TN-8]
In amending the Social Security Act to enhance SSN account privacy
protections and fraudulent misuse of the Social Security account number, HR
3306 prohibition of the sale, purchase, and display to the general public of
the Social Security account number in the private sector is a worthwhile
act. However, there is no exception for the necessary valid use of such a
number by investigators and security professionals needing such information
during the course of conducting lawful investigations.
". to the extent necessary to identify or locate missing or abducted
children, witnesses to an ongoing or potential civil or criminal law suit,
criminals, criminal suspects, parties to lawsuits, parents delinquent in
child support payments, organ and bone marrow donors, pension fund
beneficiaries, missing heirs, and for similar legal, medical, or family
related purposes, if the person selling, providing, displaying, or obtaining
the social security account number does not do so for marketing purposes."
Additional exceptions might include fraud prevention and other legitimate
uses in conducting lawful investigations by state licensed investigators.
The Drivers Protection Act of 1994 contains is a provision for allowing an
exception for investigations that reads in part "...in anticipation of
litigation." It also specifically mentions state licensed private
investigators and security firms.
HR 122, the "Protecting the Privacy of Social Security Numbers Act" - Rep.
Rodney P. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ-11]
In amending title 18, United States Code, and the Social Security Act to
limit the misuse of Social Security numbers, and establishing criminal
penalties for such misuse, it is important to investigative and security
professionals that the "business to business" exception remain in this
HR 3149, the "Equal Employment Act for All" - Rep. Steve Cohen [D-TN-9]
In amending the Fair Credit Reporting Act to prohibit the use of consumer
credit checks against prospective and current employees regarding adverse
action, pre-employment background screening and workplace and other
investigations will be hindered.
HR 1529, the "Second Chance for Ex-Offenders Act of 2009" - Rep. Charles
Creates mechanism in expunging non-violent federal criminal records thus
impacting the usefulness of background and pre-employment investigations, as
well as the investigation of serious "white collar crime", generally
HR 3126, the "Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009" - Rep.
Barney Frank [D-MA-4]
Precludes the Federal Trade Commission of rulemaking authority which will
become the jurisdiction of a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The
FTC has a long history of knowing the needs of the investigative and
security professions and its methods of and need for information gathering
subject to the FCRA, GBLA, and other laws.
H.R. 414, the "Camera Phone Predator Act"- Rep. Peter King [R-NY-3]
Require any mobile phone containing a digital camera to sound a tone
whenever a photograph is taken with the camera's phone. In a far fetched
stretch, disabling or silencing the tone would purportedly violate a
consumer product safety standard and require enforcement by the Consumer
Product Safety Commission. Legislative intent is thought by some as a
measure to the recent trend of taking "up-skirting" photos with camera
phones which would be thwarted by cell phones having to make a clicking
sound when taking pictures. Bills such as this need a "criminal intent"
exception for lawfully conducted investigations and surveillance.
HR 1409, the "Employee Free Choice Act of 2009" - Rep. George Miller
Eliminates the secret ballot allowing unions to utilize "card check" method
in organizing a company and mandates that if contract is not signed within a
prescribed time limit binding arbitration takes effect with regard to
setting wages and work rules. Mandatory arbitration we feel will more likely
favor Labor's position. This legislation, if enacted, directly adversely
affects security companies and their clients. We believe this legislation,
which is also being pressured by the SEIU will be followed by attempts to
gut 9(b)3 which prohibits a unionized company from having its security
guards members of the same company union.
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