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White House Chief of Staff Podesta Responds to USA Today Editorial
Below is the text of White House Chief of Staff John Podesta's Op-Ed responding to
USA Today's October 25, 2000 editorial "Privacy Promises
November 1, 2000
White House supports Net privacy
USA TODAY's editorial on privacy issues presents a misleading view of the
Clinton administration's efforts to protect privacy in the new Internet age.
It distorts our record on protecting information provided by citizens to the
government, and it ignores our efforts to better safeguard medical, financial
and other sensitive information throughout the private sector ("Privacy promises
crumble," Oct. 25). Here are the facts:
Across the board, we have moved quickly and effectively to ensure that citizens
looking to the government for information or assistance are fully protected. We
also have worked to strengthen privacy protections throughout the private sector,
from stricter rules to keep banks from releasing customers' financial data to the
first nationwide protections for sensitive medical records. What's more, Clinton
continues to fight efforts in Congress to gut the privacy protections of the Census
Act and to allow businesses to gather and sell Social Security numbers.
- Federal agencies maintain more than 27 million Web pages. A recent
General Accounting Office report found that of 2,700 major sites reviewed,
progress" in the government's upgrading of Internet privacy practices.
- Contrary to the claims of a private group cited in the editorial, the
White House Web site does not violate the Children's Online Privacy
Protection Act. Children provide addresses only if they want to receive
something in the mail-such as photos of the president or his pets, Socks
- Any information provided to the Internal Revenue Service by a taxpayer
seeking tax advice is destroyed once the agency responds to the request.
A fuller description of our efforts to protect the privacy of all Americans can
be found at the Web site address, www.cio.gov/docs/privacylist.htm.
John D. Podesta, chief of staff
The White House, Washington, D.C.
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