• Online
    • Online Safety
    • Phishing
  • Political Polling
  • Privacy
    • Health IT
    • Minors’ Health Privacy
    • Student Records
  • Sales
    • Do Not Call
  • Taxes

Current Legislation

Online Safety
Congress – The Senate Commerce Committee approved S. 1965 on September 27, a bill that would; require an Internet safety public awareness campaign, help identify and develop content-control technologies for parents and require schools receiving E-Rate funding to educate schoolchildren about appropriate online behavior. S. 1965 would also increase fines to as much as $200,000 for Internet service providers (ISPs) who fail to report online child pornography violations. This bill is a modified version of S. 49 (see the August Legislative Update). CMOR supports the goals of this legislation, which poses no negative implications for the research profession.

Illinois - Illinois has enrolled the Anti-Phishing Act (SB 137) into law. This new law prohibits any person from using a web page or electronic mail message, or other use of the Internet to solicit, request or induce another person to provide personally identifiable information by falsely misrepresenting themselves as being associated with a business or organization in order to obtain that information.

Political Polling
Florida CMOR convinced Florida election officials to retract an advisory opinion that would have been detrimental to polling in Florida.

Health IT
Congress – The House and Senate are considering numerous bills on healthcare information technology, which may involve privacy issues for researchers. For more on H.R. 2406, H.R. 2991, S. 628, S. 1455, S. 1456, S. 1490, S. 1693 and S. 1783.

Minors’ Health Privacy
California - California has enrolled AB 1687 into law, regarding the disclosure of medical records for minors. The law allows a health care provider to disclose medical information to a county social worker, probation officer or any other person who is legally authorized to have custody or care of a minor. This law will have minimal impact on the research profession.

Student Records
Congress – The Senate approved S. 1642 on July 24, legislation reauthorizing the Higher Education Act that would, among other functions, regards to any Federal database of PII on higher education students. Section 109 of the bill would prohibit “the development, implementation, or maintenance of a Federal database” of PII “on individuals receiving assistance under this Act, attending institutions receiving assistance under this Act, or otherwise involved in any studies or other collections of data under this Act, including a student unit record system, an education bar code system, or any other system that tracks individual students over time.” S. 1642 would, however, allow states or groups of states to develop, implement or maintain “databases that track individuals over time, including student unit record systems that contain information related to enrollment, attendance, graduation and retention rates, student financial assistance, and graduate employment outcomes.” This should have minimal impact on the research profession, since the restrictions are on government databases, not private databases.

Do Not Call
Congress – Rep. Doyle introduced H.R. 3541 and Sen. Dorgan introduced S. 2096, both of which would make the numbers on the national Do Not Call Registry permanent. Numbers registered currently expire after five years. Since legitimate survey and opinion research is outside the scope of (and is implicitly exempt from) the national Do Not Call Registry, this legislation would have no negative impact on the survey and opinion research profession.

Internet Access Taxes
Congress – The House passed H.R. 3678 on October 16, legislation that would extend the federal moratorium on state and local Internet access taxes (P.L. 105-277, which expires on November 1,2011). H.R. 3678 would also clarify the definition of “Internet access” to include related services such as e-mail and instant messaging, while reinforcing that video and phone services are still open to taxation. A last-minute amendment added in Committee was an exemption for state general receipts taxes. The Senate Commerce Committee cancelled a September 27 markup of S. 2128, a comparable bill, after Chairman Inouye feared an amendment to permanently extend the moratorium. The Senate expects to agree by early November on comparable legislation to temporarily extend the moratorium.

Service Taxes
Michigan – Michigan passed a series of taxes on services into law.