House Votes To Create Privacy Officers At DHS

March 24, 2009 12:00 am

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Positions Needed To Curb Significant Potential For Abuse, Says ACLU

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WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives passed legislation today that creates a privacy official for each division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If established by law, these new positions would be responsible for ensuring privacy laws and regulations are followed by DHS.

H.R. 1617, sponsored by Representative Christopher Carney (D-PA), will now go to the Senate for consideration. The American Civil Liberties Union welcomes this legislation and calls for its swift passage there.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“Given the significant authority the Department of Homeland Security has amassed since its creation, there is considerable potential for abuse and neglect of the individual privacy protections granted by the Constitution. It is the right to privacy that ensures the freedom for Americans to live how we choose. The House of Representatives took an important step today toward securing these liberties by voting to install privacy officers throughout DHS.

“Representative Carney’s bill would ensure that our privacy will not be neglected as laws and policies are implemented and carried out. Americans need these officials in place to protect the privacy rights we all rely on, and to raise red flags when the potential for abuse arises.”

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