Oversight on Communications Privacy, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-Eighth Congress, Second Session on Privacy in Electronic Communications, September 12, 1984   [open pdf - 3MB]

From the prepared statement of Senator Mathias: "Our subject today is the privacy of electronic communications. Although no specific legislative proposal is on our agenda, we will explore whether existing law adequately protects the privacy of Americans who, in increasing numbers, are using new forms of electronic communications to talk with one another [....] Some of the messages that these new media carry are highly sensitive. A translation of the digital blips racing by wire, microwave, fibre optics and other paths could reveal proprietary corporate data, or personal medical or financial information. The users of these new networks--and that means all of us--expect legal protection against unwarranted interceptions of this communications stream, whether by overzealous law enforcement officers or private snoops. But the law as it now stands may not provide that protection. Under the 1968 wiretap law, the privacy of Americans may turn on technical questions--whether or not the communication is carried by wire, whether it is in analog or digital form--that are simply irrelevant to the legitimate expectations of those who transmit and receive information in today's communication networks." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Patrick J. Leahy, Charles McC. Mathias, Jr., H.W. William Caming, John C. Keeney, Ronald L. Plesser, Stephen Schachman, Marvin S. Cohen, and Roy P. Weber.

Report Number:
Serial No. J-98-137; S. Hrg. 98-1266; Senate Hearing 98-1266
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Dept. of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/
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