Thursday, July 22, 2010

Private investigators may loose access to credit bureau headers under pending legislation

"Two major developments are scheduled in Congress over the next few days of critical importance to private investigators and security firms.

First, the House Financial Services Committee has tentatively scheduled a vote next week on HR 3149, “The Equal Employment for All Act”. That bill would prohibit employers from accessing credit reports. NCISS is joining with a coalition of major industry groups to ask the Committee not to consider the bill. We joined with the same group when Senator Feinstein proposed identical legislation as an amendment to the financial reform legislation, HR 4173, ‘The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009’’. That proposal was stopped in the Senate. In addition, our advocate met with staff of members of the subcommittee at the time that a hearing was held to explain how such reports are used by investigators. We may be calling on you to contact your representatives on this issue if the vote is formally scheduled.

In another critical development, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection will be holding a hearing Thursday afternoon on major privacy legislation which could also have a dramatic impact on private investigators. The Subcommittee will be reviewing two bills that would require that notice be provided and consent be obtained from individuals from whom “sensitive” data are obtained. HR 5777, ‘‘Building Effective Strategies to Promote Responsibility Accountability Choice Transparency Innovation Consumer Expectations and Safeguards Act’’ or the ‘‘BEST PRACTICES Act’’ by Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) was introduced Monday. The subcommittee will also consider a similar draft bill by Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA), who chairs the subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet.

Recent publicity regarding behavioral advertising, privacy changes at Facebook, and some practices by Google have increased pressure on Congress to act to limit data collection from individuals who have not granted their permission. Although the activities of private investigators do not appear to be the targets of the legislation, the definitions in these proposals appear to include investigative functions. Although the bills include numerous exceptions, none appears to apply to private investigators. For example, HR 5777 exempts many businesses which collect information from or about less than 10,000 individuals in a year. But the exception does not apply to those who use “covered information to study, monitor, or analyze the behavior of individuals as the person’s primary business”. The exception also does not include those who collect “sensitive information”. "  
Read the full statement and links to bills at NCISS
Location Oakland, Ca - Private Investigator