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Private Investigator News Update - April 14, 2011

  • April 12, 2011
  • by PInow Staff

Privacy Issues Affecting Private Investigators Gaining Momentum
A perfect storm appears on the horizon to generate activity in Congress on privacy legislation. The latest revelation of a large data breach at Internet marketing vendor Epsilon is the latest episode to get widespread publicity. Although this breach is reported to only include customer e-mail addresses, it has created broad interest in the media. In addition, consumers are now receiving communication from vendors advising them of the breach and urging they use care when opening e-mail. Ive personally received such notices from three firms with whom I do business. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has called upon Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate. The incident is sure to increase pressure on Congress to enact a national data breach bill.

Most states already require that firms protect personal data and notify individuals in the case of a breach. A federal bill requiring investigators to protect data would not substantially increase the burden of protecting it. However, the most significant issue for private investigators is that such federal legislation often includes extraneous provisions that can have a very deleterious impact on the profession. Last Congress, for example, came very close to enacting a data breach bill that included a provision limiting the use of pretexting.

Just as a data breach bill can have an indirect impact on private investigators, another issue has arisen to great interest on Capitol Hill that threatens the industry even though it is not the target. Consumers and privacy advocates are upset that advertisers have been tracking Internet browsing habits in order to accurately determine what advertisements to display when a consumer visits a website, based on his or her interests. Proposals in Congress now go beyond creating a do not track option for consumers.

Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) introduced HR 611, the Best Practices Act, which severely limits the ability to collect personal data without an individuals consent. Although the impetus for the bill is to grant consumers the ability to opt out of Internet tracking, the bill is not limited to the Internet. Any collection of personal data is covered.

More significant, the Obama Administration is advocating a Privacy Bill of Rights that includes similar restrictions. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is has drafted such a bill and is expected to introduce it soon. In the House, Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL) is also working on a draft.

NCISS is working hard to protect the interests of investigators as these bills move through the legislative process. We will keep you informed as developments warrant.

Submitted by Larry Sabbath, NCISS Legislative Advocate

California Association of Licensed Investigators Update
Over 80 new licensees attending the California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI) new training program launched on March 12 designated NLITE for Newly Licensed Investigator Training & Enrichment. The effort was chaired by CW Sellers with the assistance of Renee Cervo and the presentations provided by a selection of CALI board members. Two additional trainings are scheduled, the second on June 24 in conjunction with CALIs annual conference in Reno, and the third in Southern California September 17. More information on NLITE Training available at http://www.cali-pi.org/?page=nlite

CALI sponsored their twelfth annual Legislation Day March 14 along with a luncheon. Speakers included the state insurance commissioner Dave Jones, assembly members Shannon Grove and Mike Ratto, and Bureau of Security & Investigative Services (BSIS) chief, Jeffrey Mason. President Chris Reynolds and legislation chair Francie Koehler awarded BSIS deputy chief, Connie Trujillo, the Government Relations Excellence Award for her ongoing work on behalf of licensed private investigators.

June 25-26 is CALIs annual conference in Reno, Nevada and CALI has secured a block of rooms at the Grand Sierra Resort for $69.00 per night and has an interesting speaker line-up. PI Magazine will be the event sponsor. For more information go to http://www.cali-pi.org/events/event_details.asp?id=137236

Submitted by Francie Koehler, CALI

South Carolina Association of Legal Investigators Update
Private investigators in South Carolina are currently watching a number of bills, including:
HB-3686 - This bill would outlaw caller ID spoofing. The bill, also known as the Social Media and Caller ID Fraud bill, would create the offense of unlawfully altering the identification of a callers number or social media identity. The bill would create a penalty for this offense.
H3-B384 - This bill would outlaw GPS tracking devices.
SB-580 - Deals with those conducting computer forensics to have a PI license. The official summary of the bill states that SB-580 is intended: To amend Section 40-18-140, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, relating to exemptions from Chapter 18 of Title 40 providing for the licensure and regulation of private security and investigation agencies, so as to provide that the chapter must not apply to a person based solely on his being engaged in computer or digital forensic services, the acquisition, review, or analysis of digital or computer-based information, or system vulnerability testing.
Submitted by Vicky Childs, SCALI

Florida Association of Licensed Investigators Update
SB 1588 and HR 1333 seeks to increase penalties for "Unlicensed Activity"
Submitted by Florida Association of Licensed Investigators (FALI)

(Summary: Unlicensed Activity)

Fraudulent activity by those pretending to be private investigators, is a serious problem in the state of Florida. The Legislature recognized this several years ago and gave us Chapter 493, which required minimum training standards and licensure for these industries. Unfortunately, a great deal of time is spent by the Division of Licensing trying to locate, investigate and prosecute individuals and companies who are not complying with these requirements. Many of these unlicensed activities are committed by habitual offenders who simply ignore the punishments and fines imposed by the Division of Licensing as the cost of doing business. These individuals and companies do not comply with training standards, minimum insurance requirements, or reporting requirements established by the Division. The victims of this behavior are the citizens of Florida who have a right to expect trained and licensed professionals in these roles. The industries governed by Chapter 493 want to enhance the punishments for habitual offenders and discourage fraudulent and unlicensed activity. This bill would make a second offense a third-degree felony and impose a $10,000 civil penalty.

Submitted by Tim ORourke, FALI

Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado Update
HB 11-195, which concerns the voluntary licensure of private investigators in Colorado, passed the House Appropriations Committee with a vote of 12 to 1. The bill now moves on to the Senate for committee hearings and the floor vote.

Colorado has not had licensing in the state since 1977. Several attempts at licensing have been introduced by the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado in the past, only to have those attempts die. The Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado finally believes it has a winning formula in the form of a bill which has bi-partisan sponsorship. HB-1195 is sponsored by Bob Gardner (R) in the House as well as by Su Ryden (D) in the House. In the Senate, HB-1195 is sponsored by Linda Newell (D). By laying the foundation of bi-partisan sponsorship as well as riding on the momentum and experience created by the defeat of Colorado HB10-1012 (also known as the Colorado anti-surveillance bill) PPIAC has gained unprecedented ground in the goal of having its professional minded investigators be able to hold the title of Colorado Licensed Private Investigator.

This is unprecedented progress and there is much work to be done we are over the first hump and onto the next. Contributions to the legislative efforts can be made via the the PPIAC website - www.PPIAC.org.

Submitted by Dean Beers, PPIAC


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