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Home > Past Releases and Reports > Privacilla: Say NO to Administrative Subpoenas

For Immediate Release
September 12, 2003

Contact: Jim Harper

(202) 546-3701

Privacilla: Say NO to Administrative Subpoenas

Administrative Subpoena Proposal Would Erode Privacy Without Enhancing Security or Law Enforcement

Washington, D.C. In response to proposals that would grant administrative subpoena power to federal law enforcement officials, Editor Jim Harper today made the following statements:

"Administrative subpoenas are anathema to good government and good law enforcement. They erode the privacy protection and oversight that is part of requiring court-issued subpoenas, and they are unacceptable."

"Existing law provides for situations when law enforcement needs information quickly. The well-developed 'exigent circumstances' doctrine allows any search and seizure that will prevent imminent harm, prevent the destruction of evidence, or prevent suspects from escaping. If there is no exigent circumstance, there is time to get a subpoena from a court."

"Congressional leaders who care about privacy and good law enforcement should move to reduce the availability of administrative subpoenas elsewhere in the law. They only expand the power of bureaucrats and encourage Big Brother."

"Good law enforcers take real leads before a judge because it's the American way."

"We should be planning for the day when terrorism is just a memory. Hopefully, we are well on our way. We do not have to accept administrative subpoenas to get there." ( is an innovative Web site that captures "privacy" as a public policy issue. Privacilla has been described as a "privacy policy portal" and an "online think-tank."


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