Tags: House | Leader | Armey | Demands | Search | Warrant | Protect

House Leader Armey Demands Search Warrant to Protect Privacy Records

Wednesday, 02 May 2001 12:00 AM

He notes there is a two-year period in which to "fine tune” or "modify” the rule by changing that so as to protect private citizens.

In a letter Wednesday to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, Armey notes one part of the rule in particular would actually undermine the supposed goal of privacy.

"This startling provision grants federal agents the power to look into citizens’ medical privacy records ‘at any time and without notice,’” wrote the congressional leader to the HHS boss. "Americans’ medical records should be protected from all bureaucrats, not just corporate ones.”

The suggested changes would require the secretary to obtain a search warrant in cases demanding prompt action where documents might be hidden or destroyed.

"We demand that federal agents obtain a search warrant before going through all other personal papers,” Armey’s letter declares. "Why not our medical records, which are often even more sensitive?”

And then the congressman gets right to the heart of the matter:

"Let us remember that federal agencies have a terrible track record when it comes to protecting sensitive information.”

To say the least, that is one of the main reasons there is so much citizen concern about the blatant privacy violations in the so-called privacy rule on medical records.

Just so no one misses the point, Armey reminds Thompson that:

"How can we be sure that other more sensitive HHS databases have not been similarly compromised?” asks Armey. "Americans deserve to know their privacy is being protected, not threatened by their own government.”

The privacy regulation was approved by President Bush. He reportedly overruled Secretary Thompson, who wanted to make some changes. However, two years are allowed for "modifications.”

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He notes there is a two-year period in which to fine tune" or modify" the rule by changing that so as to protect private citizens. In a letter Wednesday to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, Armey notes one part of the rule in particular would actually...
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2001-00-02
Wednesday, 02 May 2001 12:00 AM
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