Eagle Forum Capitol Alert
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November 4, 1999

House May Give Special Interests New Federal Right
to Create and Control Databases About You!

H.R. 354, Collections of Information Antipiracy Act, creates a new federal entitlement for corporate ownership of databases, along with harsh new federal crimes policing the databases. H.R. 354 thereby creates an enormous incentive for corporations to build databases of personal information, and then sell those databases at enormous profit.

Why? In order to help a few narrow special interests, such as the American Medical Association, which backs Clintons health care legislation. The core constituencies of the Republican Party, from Eagle Forum to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are completely opposed to this Act. Yet H.R. 354 may even be brought up under the "suspension calendar," thereby avoiding debate and amendment.

What has Happened to Free-Market Republicans?

Instead of respecting the current free database market, H.R. 354 gives big-money entitlements to a few powerful players at the expense of small businesses and innovative companies.

H.R. 354 preempts state laws guaranteeing individuals access to certain medical and other vital information. The exemptions recently inserted into H.R. 354, ostensibly to address a few of these concerns, are far too weak to be meaningful. For example, H.R. 354 lists exemptions that include access to public documents, but fail to include access by parents to their childrens public school tests or medical records.

H.R. 354 turns every law-abiding citizen and small business into a possible criminal. It empowers federal prosecutors to charge citizens with felonies based on their access to databases over the Internet. It authorizes federal prosecutors to charge small business owners with felonies based on their use of data.

Many social issues, from education to health care, are now greatly influenced by state laws governing data. Parents rely on access to data about themselves and their children to protect against liberal programs. For years conservatives have fought for protections under state law to have such access. We do not want federal law preempting these parental rights of access.

H.R. 354 will have many dangerous unintended consequences, and should be publicly debated before it is voted on.

Further reading: Phyllis Schlafly Testifies About Databases.
                        Phyllis Schlafly Testifies About "Collections of Information"

ACTION ITEM:

Call and e-mail your Representative immediately and urge him to vote NO on H.R. 354.

All Members can be reached through the Capitol Hill Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Members e-mail addresses and their
office addresses can be found at www.house.gov

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL OPPOSES H.R. 354