When you add up GAO and congressional studies, Armey told the House Veterans Affairs Committee, you find that "numerous departments and agencies, which collect volumes of personal information about each of us" have lax security procedures.
One General Accounting Office study "revealed that 97 percent of federal agency Web sites failed to meet the privacy standards that the Federal Trade Commission recommended that Congress impose on the private sector."
Thus, according to the Texas lawmaker's testimony, the Clinton administration was willing to "impose complicated and cumbersome rules on the private sector" while ignoring "catastrophic problems in its own backyard."
The hearing, whose main emphasis was on privacy problems on the Veterans Benefits Privacy computer, gave Armey another chance to lash out at the last-minute 1,500-page medical "privacy" regulation that the Clinton administration promulgated on Dec. 28, 2000, for the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson has until April 14 to decide what to do about that document.
The congressman told the committee that "these regulations," supposedly aimed at protecting privacy, "may have entirely the opposite effect by putting even more private personally identifiable medical information in the hands of health care bureaucrats" and "with no advance warning."
Bottom line, declared Armey, is that "the proposed regulation actually provides the federal government with more access to personal medical records."
The House leader has urged Thompson to reject or drastically alter the proposal so as to protect medical privacy of Americans.
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