INFORMATION

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Cargo security

- A bill (S. 376) introduced by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) would require that the government develop a system to increase the number of shipping containers physically inspected, monitored, and tracked within the United States. The bill would require that at least 50 percent of all ocean-borne shipping containers be inspected by 2007.

Privacy

- Two bills (H.R. 1069 and H.R. 1263), introduced by Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) respectively, would require that data collection organizations notify consumers when their personal information has been compromised.

Port security

- The 2006 U.S. Government budget (H. Con. Res. 95) proposed by the Bush administration does not include funding for the port security grant program. The program, which has distributed $565 million since its inception in 2002, would be replaced by the Targeted Infrastructure Protection program. The new program would offer a total of $600 million in grants. Under the Targeted Infrastructure Protection program, ports would compete with other transit systems, railroads, and buses for funding. The Coast Guard, along with container security initiatives and trade partnership programs, would, however, see an increase in funding from 2005. @ Details of the budget, which had passed both houses at press time and awaited the President’s signaure, are available at SM Online.

Electronic Records Management

- To reduce liability, companies must know how to manage electronic records and how to respond to electronic discovery requests.

Private Security and the Law, Third Edition

- Charles Nemeth has released the third edition of his highly acclaimed Private Security and the Law. For years, it has proved to be an indispensable guide to civil and criminal liability stemming from acts or omissions committed by the security function. This newest edition updates the principles with new case law.

Seaport security

- A bill (S. 378)introduced by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) that would create several new seaport security crimes has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been accepted for consideration in the Senate.

Surveillance powers

- The House Judiciary Committee has held several hearings on the expanded police powers included in the Patriot Act, which will be expiring at the end of this year. The first (S. 318), introduced by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI), would amend and make permanent the expiring computer trespass provision of the Patriot Act. Another bill (S. 737), introduced by Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), would limit the use of the surveillance powers more so than is the case currently in the Patriot Act.

Information security

- A bill (S. 500) introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) would regulate information brokers and would allow individuals to bring civil lawsuits against companies that fail to protect consumer data. A companion bill (H.R. 1080) has been introduced in the House by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA). The House version has 13 cosponsors and has been referred to the House Energy Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection.

Workers' compensation

- The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that an employee who was assaulted in a parking lot shared by her employer and other businesses can recover workers’ compensation benefits. (Zoucha v. Touch of Class Lounge, Supreme Court of Nebraska, No. S-03-971, 2005)

Legal Report

- Court cases on background screening and workers’ compensation, and bills on surveillance powers and cargo security.

Wrongful termination

- The Delaware Supreme Court has ruled that a McDonald’s employee, Susan Rizzitiello, cannot sue the company for wrongful termination. Rizzitiello was suspended pending an investigation of inventory issues. However, Rizzitiello resigned her employment and filed a lawsuit. The court ruled that Rizzitiello could not claim wrongful termination if she was not terminated. Also, the court determined that a suspension to conduct a workplace investigation could not be considered grounds for a constructive discharge—a situation in which working conditions are so poor that the employee has no choice but to resign. (Susan Rizzitiello v. McDonald’s Corporation, Supreme Court of the State of Delaware, No. 93-2004, 2005)

Drug testing

- The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that a company cannot require an employee to pay the cost of his drug test. In the case, the company hired a new employee, Thomas Tow, on the condition that he pass a background check and drug test. Tow’s drug test was inconclusive. The company told Tow that he would have to pay for a new test before he would be hired. Tow sued the company. The court ruled that, in Iowa, a company must pay for such tests. (Thomas J. Tow v. Truck Country of Iowa, Inc., Supreme Court of Iowa, No. 04-0462, 2005)

RFID

-  A bill (S.B. 682)introduced in the California Senate would prohibit state agencies from including RFID tags in identity documents—such as driver’s licenses, student identification badges, and medical cards. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joe Simitian (D), indicated in the text of the bill that RFID technology would allow data to be scanned secretly or remotely and, therefore, would greatly magnify the “potential risk to individual privacy, safety, and economic well-being.”
 




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