Site Map - Legal Issues


- Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) has introduced a bill (S. 2227) that would make it illegal to traffic in "illicit authentication features." Authentication features help companies determine that an item is not counterfeit; illicit authentication features would be intended to facilitate illegal copying of movies, music, or computer programs. Such a feature would also be a genuine authentication feature that has been distributed without authorization from the copyright owner. A copyright owner could file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator.

Port security

- In considering 2005 funding for the Department of Homeland Security, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced an amendment to substantially increase port security grants from the $6 million requested by the government to $500 million. These funds would go to federally mandated security tasks.

Campus security

- A bill (H.R. 4340) introduced by Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) would require that colleges and universities implement plans for investigating violent felonies or missing students. The provision would require that institutions develop and implement a plan within one year that would provide for the coordination of efforts with law enforcement


- A bill (H.R. 3261) that would allow database owners to sue those who make the information in their database commercially available without permission has been rejected by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill contains exceptions for independently gathered information; reasonable use by nonprofit educational, scientific, or research institutions; and for the primary purpose of news reporting. Exceptions are also made for government and federally mandated databases. The bill does allow Web site owners to link to such databases.


- A bill (S. 113) has been included as an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2005. The provision amends existing law to extend government surveillance of terrorist activity to include terrorists working alone without affiliation to any group or foreign state. Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), the intelligence community can only conduct surveillance of terrorists who are "agents of a foreign power." Under FISA, these terrorists, who are not U.S. citizens, are defined as individuals who engage in international terrorism on behalf of a group or foreign state. The amendment allows the government to extend FISA to cover so-called lone-wolf terrorists.

Aviation security

- A recent report by the General Accounting Office (GAO) on the use of biometrics in aviation security found that while the technology is available to meet the needs of airports, decision-makers should focus on the best equipment for the job regardless of whether it incorporates biometrics.


- In a recent The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a $498 million grant program to help hospitals in various states and four metropolitan areas--New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.--respond to bioterrorism attacks, infectious disease, and natural disasters.

Legal Reporter

- Recent court decisions look at retaliation and injuries to security officers. Plus, legislation on mass-transit security, privacy, and more.


- A bill (S.B. 475) recently defeated by the Virginia Assembly would have prohibited employment discrimination against applicants who had been convicted of crimes that did not directly relate to the job being sought.

Workplace violence.

- Legislators in North Carolina are considering a bill (S.B. 921) that would allow business owners to obtain a restraining order on behalf of an employee who is threatened by violence. The restraining order could be obtained to protect the employee from domestic violence or from a coworker. The order could be procured before any violence has occurred.

Cargo security

- Three bills that would enhance seaport and cargo security are currently under review by lawmakers.

Preemployment screening

- A bill (H.R. 4022) introduced by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) would allow the owners of private security companies (contract service providers) to access the FBI's criminal database through the National Crime Information Center.

Terrorism hoaxes

- A bill (H.R. 1678) that would make it a federal crime to fool people into believing that an act of terrorism has taken place has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would also require those convicted under the measure to reimburse law enforcement for any costs of investigating the hoax.

Beyond Print

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