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The Library of Congress - Thomas
United States Senate




Senator Akaka is a leader in defending the privacy rights of all Americans. He is investigating federal data mining activities and other activities in the federal government that might infringe upon these rights, including the use of health information technology. At Senator Akaka's request, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold hearings to review whether the 32 year-old Privacy Act adequately protects Americans' personal information in an electronic age.

Senator Akaka authored the Data Theft Prevention Act of 2006 (S. 3506) to deter careless and irresponsible handling of protected personal information. The bill would establish criminal penalties for anyone who knowingly and without authorization views, uses, downloads or removes any means of identification or individually identifiable health information that is in a federal database. Senator Akaka's bill would prohibit the transfer of such information to any computer, network, database, or other format used to store information that is not a federal database.

A major concern of Senator Akaka is how efforts to stop and deter terrorist activity will impact the privacy rights of Americans. After reviewing evidence of abuse on the part of the Administration in using the PATRIOT Act, Senator Akaka voted against its reauthorization (H.R. 3199) because the bill failed to contain meaningful checks on the government's authority to investigate Americans. For similar reasons, Senator Akaka introduced the Privacy Officer With Enhanced Rights (POWER) Act (S. 2827) to strengthen the investigatory powers of the Chief Privacy Officer at the Department of Homeland Security.

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