• Online
    • Computer Crime
    • Online Data Protection / Retention
    • Online Safety
  • Privacy
    • Health IT
    • Security Breach
    • Medical Privacy
    • Minors
  • Gift Reporting
  • Sales
    • Do Not Call
  • Taxes/Budget
    • Census Funding
    • Internet Access Taxes
    • Service Tax
    • Travel Research Funding
  • Legislation 2008

Current Legislation

Computer Crime
Congress – Sen. Hatch introduced S. 2213, which would make it illegal to threaten to reveal confidential information illegally obtained from computers and to create "botnets" (networks of computers that are used to remotely intrude on other machines). The bill would also change felony requirements so hackers could be charged for damaging 10 or more computers. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act (S. 2168) on November 1. This bill is similar to S. 2213, but would also let victims of ID theft seek restitution in federal court for the loss of time and money spent trying to restore their credit and good names. Neither S. 2213 nor S. 2168 would have a negative impact on the research profession.

Online Data Protection/Retention
Congress – The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Global Online Freedom Act (H.R. 275) on October 23 (which, among other things, seeks to prohibit U.S. businesses from locating any data containing personally identifiable information (PII) within an “ Internet-restricting country”). Since passage was driven mostly by Committee frustration with Yahoo’s policy regarding censorship on behalf of the People’s Republic of China, it is not clear that this legislation will advance any further. For more information on H.R. 275, see the September 2007 Legislative Update.

Online Safety
Congress – On November 13, the House passed H.R 3461. H.R 3461 would create a $10 million public awareness campaign regarding Internet safety. CMOR supports the goals of this legislation, which poses no negative implications for the research profession.

Health IT
Congress – The House Science and Technology Committee approved H.R. 2406 on October 24, legislation which would authorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), “in consultation with industry and appropriate federal agencies,” to develop “technology-neutral infrastructure guidelines and standards,” or adopt existing ones, for use by Federal agencies in advancing the integration of healthcare information enterprises.

Security Breach
California - Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 779, legislation that would have limited the retention of credit card data in response to the breach of T.J. Maxx. The Governor stated there were minimum standards already implemented by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.

Medical Privacy
California - AB 1298, which extends California’s current medical privacy laws to the electronic records industry, was signed into law. The new law also requires businesses and state agencies that release a consumer’s medical information or health-insurance information to an unauthorized person to notify the consumer of any data breaches that occurs on behalf of the third party. The law further amends the credit freeze law to comply with a court ruling that credit reporting agencies do not have to freeze information derived from public records.

Pennsylvania - Has introduced HB 1997, which would require that all library records which contain names or other personally identifying detail to remain confidential except to a parent or guardian for records pertaining to the parent’s or guardian’s minor child.

Gift Reporting
Michigan - Has introduced HB 5388, to require a manufacturer, including agents, to keep a detailed record of the value, nature and purpose of any gifts, fees and payments to a pharmacist or dispensing prescriber and file a report providing such information to a department as designated by the Michigan legislature. Survey researchers are included in the context of this law as an “agent.” Reporting, however, not requiring inclusion of personally identifying information – the impact on the profession is therefore minimal.

Do Not Call
Congress – On October 30, the House Energy & Commerce Committee passed H.R. 3541 and the Senate Commerce Committee passed S. 2096, both of which would make permanent the addition of numbers to the national Do Not Call Registry. Numbers registered currently expire after five years. The House Energy & Commerce Committees also passed H.R. 2601 on October 20, which would extend the authority of the FTC to collect fees to administer and enforce the national Do Not Call Registry through Fiscal Year 2012. The fee schedule is currently scheduled to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2007. Since legitimate survey and opinion research is outside the scope of (and is therefore implicitly exempt from) the national Do Not Call Registry, these bills would have no direct negative impact on the survey and opinion research profession.

Illinois - Has introduced HR 818, a resolution to the Federal Trade Commission, to maintain in permanent form the currently enacted Do Not Call federal registry.

Census Funding
Congress – The House and Senate have yet to agree upon legislation to fund the Census Bureau for Fiscal Year 2008 (the Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill). CMOR has been active in conjunction with the Census Project to advocate for increased funding, as well as attempting to ensure that funds for the upcoming 2010 Census are made available even while the rest of the Department of Commerce operates under a “Continuing Resolution.” CMOR joined appeals for this to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science on October 4, and to the Secretary of Commerce on October 8.

Internet Access Taxes
Congress – The President signed into law a seven-year extension of the moratorium on Internet access taxes, including last-minute legislative language that closes a loophole that could have allowed taxes on e-mail and services like music downloads.

Service Tax
Michigan- Michigan House of Representatives has passed HB 4367, legislation known as the "Michigan Business Tax" Act, which would establish a business income tax and a net worth tax, along with numerous tax credits, including both new tax credits and existing tax credits that would be carried over from the single business tax. The new measure will replace the recently-passed tax on business services with a permanent surcharge on Michigan's main business tax (a tax on the business entity rather than on services provided). The state Senate also voted to repeal the services tax but did not address how to replace lost revenue. Lawmakers must resolve the differences in the bills before the service tax is scheduled to take effect on December 1. If this legislation is passed into law (by satisfying voting requirements in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate), this tax would be assessed on every taxpayer with business activity in Michigan, including survey and opinion research businesses that are located in Michigan.

Travel Research Funding
Congress – Rep. Delahunt has introduced the Travel Promotion Act (H.R. 3232), legislation similar to S. 1661 (see this link). Among other purposes, it would expand funding for travel research in connection with the promotion of international travel to the U.S. Since this legislation is primarily for the purposes of travel promotion, rather than research, CMOR will not get involved. CMOR’s Government Affairs Committee decided in July that CMOR should not advocate for money for specific sectors of research.

Prefiling: Legislation 2008

Florida - Has pre-filed HB 225, which prohibits a person from entering or knowingly placing a call that has false information into a telephone caller identification system with the intent to deceive, defraud, or mislead the recipient of a call. The legislation does not apply without the intent to deceive or knowledge that the information provided to the caller identification system is false.