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Democrats push for privacy officers

Lawmakers introduce a bill requiring that all federal agencies have chief privacy officers.

Democrats took a first step on Thursday toward requiring that all federal agencies have chief privacy officers in the future. Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives' homeland security panel introduced a bill called the Shield Privacy Act that would order presidentially appointed chief privacy officers to ensure that new technologies "sustain, and do not erode, privacy protections relating to the use, collection and disclosure of personally identifiable information."

Sponsored by congressmen Kendrick Meek and Jim Turner, the bill would also create a 10-member commission that would have two years to craft a report on privacy, technology and civil liberties. The more modest E-Government Act of 2002 already requires each federal agency to "conduct a privacy impact assessment" before undertaking new programs.