INFORMATION

Site Map - Legal Issues

Weapons of mass destruction

- A bill (H.R. 2939) introduced by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) would amend federal law to enhance the prevention and prosecution of crimes committed using weapons of mass destruction. The bill would make illegal any threat, attempt, or conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States on any property, including property owned, leased, or used by a foreign government. penalties for certain crimes carried out at ports. Under the bill, it would be illegal to damage or destroy a vessel or maritime facility. Enhanced penalties would apply if the vessel carried high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel.

Discrimination

- Introduced by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), a Senate bill (H.R. 1705) would prohibit an employer from refusing to hire or to discharge an individual based on that individual's sexual orientation. The bill would also prohibit discrimination in compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of sexual orientation.

Maritime security

- A bill (H.R. 3788) introduced by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) would require the Coast Guard to develop and implement a secure, long-range automated vehicle tracking system. The system would be used to reroute vessels and maritime cargo in case of an emergency.

Aviation security

- The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing on airport screening and checkpoint issues. Several government and industry representatives testified.

Legal Reporter

- Courts rule on a zero-tolerance policy and the duty of a substance abuse policy treatment center to protect its patients. New federal laws are proposed for critical infrastructures, airport screening, and terrorist hoaxes.

Tagging RFID's Privacy Problems

- A new bill introduced by California State Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach) would restrict the use of information collected by radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. The measure, SB 1834, which passed the Senate at the end of April and was scheduled to be considered by the full Assembly by July, sets out four conditions that would have to be met before RFID tags and readers could be used to collect personal information. The full text of SB 1834 and the letter opposing it are at SM Online.

Computer security

- A bill (H.R. 3754) has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. H.R. 3754 has been forwarded to the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would make it illegal to knowingly provide material and misleading false contact information in making, maintaining, or renewing registration of an Internet site domain name The bill would also add seven years to the felony conviction sentence for such a crime.

Identity theft.

- A bill (S. 153) that would establish the crime of aggravated identity theft has been approved by the Senate and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

Terrorism hoaxes

- A bill (H.R. 1678) introduced by Sen. Lamar Smith (R-TX) that would make it a federal crime to fool people into believing that an act of terrorism had taken place has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. The bill would also require anyone convicted under the measure to reimburse law enforcement for any costs of investigating the hoax.

Cargo security

- In a recent report on cargo security, the General Accounting Office (GAO) noted that while U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has taken steps to increase the security of cargo containers, it has failed to address the potential tampering of such containers. It has also failed to analyze various forms of cargo to assess specific risk factors.

Legal Reporter

- Discriminatory firing and trade secrets are addressed by the courts. Bioterrorism, maritime security, and aviation security go under the regulatory knife. And Congress considers rail security, campus safety, and counterfeiting.

Privacy

- A federal appeals court has ordered that the sentencing of Brandon Lifshitz, who was convicted of transmitting child pornography, be evaluated for potential abuses of privacy. Under the sentencing, Lifshitz's computer must be equipped with computer monitoring and filtering software to ensure that Lifshitz does not access child pornography on his home computer during his probation. The court ordered the review to evaluate the sentence's possible violation of the Fourth Amendment. (U.S. v. Lifshitz, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, No. 03-1221, 2004)

Negligent supervision.

- A Colorado appeals court has ruled that a business owner, Donald Keller, can be held liable for the negligent supervision of an employee, Firat Uzan, who sexually assaulted a family friend on the premises. Uzan, who had been asked to work alone at the store on weekends, brought the 12-year-old girl to the store and molested her. The court found that Keller should have known that Uzan was dangerous after three former employees, all of them teenaged girls, informed Keller that Uzan had sexually harassed or assaulted them on the premises. (Koca v. Keller, Colorado Court of Appeals, No. 02CA2498, 2004)
 




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