Monday, January 14, 2008

Civil Liberties News In Review - 01/14/2008

Student emails could be outsourced for budget reasons – but will privacy be protected? Check out the lively forum!

The controversy about how an outsourced data management company accidentally added visible Social Security numbers to Medicaid, BadgerCare and SeniorCare recipients. When accidents happen, privacy is sacrificed. Privacy expert Doeppers responds.

Maybe the Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection and Personal Privacy will take action? Other politicians spoke out and are holding the Governor responsible like Sen. Kanavas, Sen. Darling, Sen. Wirch, and the DHFS Secretary wants the AG to sue. A lot of privacy concerns and flurry of activity over an administrative typo. See a good interview with the DHFS Secretary on WPT with Frederica Freyberg that explains the whole thing.

In other privacy news - Eye in the sky tracker: There will be more cameras in Stoughton area schools.

Reproductive Freedom
Looks like the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims bill is scheduled for a final reading on January 23. This is a good thing. Requiring hospitals that provide emergency care to inform patients seeking treatment for sexual assault about emergency contraception is an important step in protecting patients’ rights. Especially when patients who have been sexually assaulted and are at risk of pregnancy are all female. CCRV=equal protection from discrimination.

Having a final reading will pass the bill onto the Senate where it will likely see a great deal of support. However, when Wisconsin State Senators like Glenn Grothman equate Planned Parenthood with sexual predators (really Glenn? Are you kidding?) in a move to speak out against the Family Planning Waiver, we probably cannot expect the vote for reproductive rights to be a unanimous one.

Student Rights and Military Recruitment
Madison area peace activists continue the pressure on the MMSD to add a discussion on the school board agenda on the military ads in high school sports facilities. They also question the fairness (or even No Child Left Behind compliance) of military access to student’s attention, from the gym ad to sprawling posters and recruitment materials in the counseling centers. A recent news flash from the Wisconsin Network or Peace and Justice noted that student peace activists at East High had to fight for an information table at a recent Military Options Day to distribute information on counterecruitment and student rights. Good job to the students of the Madison East Students for Freedom and Peace for not being intimidated and fighting for their rights!

For more on the national ACLU’s work on student rights and military recruitment, visit the Stand UP website for the factsheets.

Voting rights
Last week there was an update on the statewide voter system and how the Acccenture database still isn't fully-functional.

There were also hearings for some proposals introduced in the legislature that would end same-day voter registration and would make showing a photo ID optional at the polls if you want to “secure your ballot.”

Ending same-day voter registration would stop a great tradition in voter enfranchisement in the state of Wisconsin. Sure, we have two tables instead of one at the polls. But at least people aren’t rendered ineligible to vote if they miss a registration deadline. Rep. Joe Parisi also issued a statement on ending same-day voter registration.

There is also news from the Legislative Audit Bureau that not all polling locations are fully accessible. And a response opinion from the Cap Times.Includes a lively forum section. Glad to see that someone added the links to clips from news reports like this one on how voting machines could be hacked.

There was also a good editorial from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on efforts to introduce voter ID at the polls. Fraud - what supporters say a requirement to show photo ID when voting is intended to combat - simply isn't such a problem that it demands this solution. Milwaukee's election problems in 2004 were principally about resources and record-keeping, not about voter identification.