Judicial Security Legislation Stalls, Awaits Congressional Action in 2021

On Wednesday afternoon, the United States Senate considered but failed to act on the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act of 2020, legislation that would enhance the security protections for federal judges nationwide.

“It is disappointing that this critical legislation, which enjoys bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, did not obtain the unanimous consent required to pass the Senate in this busy lame duck period,” said James C. Duff, Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. “Nevertheless, we are extremely grateful to those who have supported this bill and fully expect it to be taken up at the start of the next session of Congress. The nation’s judges depend on it.”

The legislation is named after the 20-year old son of New Jersey District Judge Esther Salas. Daniel was shot and killed in the doorway of the family’s home in July by a litigant who had appeared before the judge months earlier. The assailant obtained the family’s home address on the internet and posed as a courier.

“This bill was introduced three months ago and made enormous progress in a very short time,” Duff said. “We are certainly encouraged by this and are particularly grateful to Senators Booker, Menendez, Graham, and Feinstein, who co-sponsored the legislation, and to the many members of Congress who support the bill.”

The bill would protect judges’ personally identifiable information from resale by data brokers. It would allow federal judges to obtain redaction of personal information displayed on federal government internet sites and prevent publication of their personal information by other businesses and individuals in cases where there is no legitimate news media interest or matter of public concern. The legislation would also review efforts by states to protect personal information, improve the ability of the U.S. Marshals Service to identify threats, and authorize improvements to home and courthouse security technology.

The danger to judges is getting worse. Security incidents targeting judges and others who play essential roles in federal court cases rose to 4,449 threats and inappropriate communications in 2019, up from 926 such incidents in 2015, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. Since 1979, four federal judges have been murdered. In two cases, including the attack on Judge Salas’s family, relatives of federal judges have been murdered at home by an angry litigant.

“We will redouble our efforts to get this legislation enacted in the new Congress,” Duff said. “Regrettably, every day we fail to act leaves our federal judges and our democracy in danger.”  

More from: info@uscourts.gov

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    The Department of Justice obtained more than $2.2 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020, Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division announced today.  Recoveries since 1986, when Congress substantially strengthened the civil False Claims Act, now total more than $64 billion.
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  • Joint Statement on Hong Kong
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken at the Virtual U.S.-Nigeria Health Partnership Event
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Justice Department Defends Health Care Workers from Being Forced to Perform Abortions with Vermont Lawsuit
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division today filed a civil lawsuit in Vermont federal court against the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) for violating the federal anti-discrimination statute known as the “Church Amendments.” That statute prohibits health care entities like UVMMC from discriminating against health care workers who follow their conscience and refuse to perform or assist with abortions.
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  • Facial Recognition Technology: Privacy and Accuracy Issues Related to Commercial Uses
    In U.S GAO News
    Market research and other data suggest that the market for facial recognition technology has increased in the number and types of businesses that use it since GAO's 2015 report on the topic (GAO-15-621 ). For example, newer functions of the technology identified by stakeholders and literature included authorizing payments and tracking and monitoring attendance of students, employees, or those attending events. Functions of Facial Recognition Technology Accuracy. Although the accuracy of facial recognition technology has increased dramatically in recent years, differences in performance exist for certain demographic groups. National Institute of Standards and Technology tests found that facial recognition technology generally performs better on lighter-skin men and worse on darker-skin women, and does not perform as well on children and elderly adults. These differences could result in more frequent misidentification for certain demographics, such as misidentifying a shopper as a shoplifter when comparing the individual's image against a data set of known shoplifters. There is no consensus on what causes performance differences, including physical factors (such as lighting) or factors related to the creation or operation of the technology. However, stakeholders and literature identified various methods that could help mitigate differences in performance among demographic groups. Privacy. Stakeholders and literature identified concerns related to privacy, such as the inability of individuals to remain anonymous in public or the use of the technology without individuals' consent. Facial recognition technology may collect or store facial images, posing varying levels of risk. Some federal and state laws and the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation impose requirements on U.S. companies related to facial recognition technology. However, as we reported in 2015, there is no comprehensive federal privacy law governing the collection, use, and sale of personal information by private-sector companies. Some stakeholders, including privacy and industry groups, have developed voluntary frameworks that seek to address privacy concerns. Most of these frameworks were consistent with internationally recognized principles for protecting the privacy and security of personal information. However, U.S. companies are not required to follow these voluntary frameworks. Facial recognition technology can verify or identify an individual from a facial image. Advocacy groups and others have raised privacy concerns related to private companies' use of the technology, as well as concerns that higher error rates among some demographic groups could lead to disparate treatment. GAO was asked to review the commercial use of facial recognition technology and related accuracy and privacy issues. Among other issues, this report examines how companies use the technology, its accuracy and how accuracy differs across demographic groups, and how privacy issues are addressed in laws and industry practices. GAO analyzed laws; reviewed literature and company documentation; interviewed federal agency officials; and interviewed representatives from companies, industry groups, and privacy groups. GAO also reviewed selected privacy frameworks, chosen based on expert recommendations and research. GAO reiterates its previous suggestion from a 2013 report ( GAO-13-663 ) that Congress consider strengthening the consumer privacy framework to reflect changes in technology and the marketplace. For more information, contact Alicia Puente Cackley at (202) 512-8678 or cackleya@gao.gov.
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  • DSS cooperation in international police operation results in extradition of Albanian man wanted for human smuggling
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting with French President Macron
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Attacks on Civilians in Syria
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • 15 Named In $26 Million International Trade Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Houston, Texas, has returned a criminal indictment against eight individuals, while a related civil complaint has charged 14 individuals and one company relating to international trade fraud violations stemming from a decade-long scheme involving tires from China.  
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  • Joint Statement on the Japan-United States Strategic Energy Partnership (JUSEP)
    In Crime Control and Security News
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