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Fwd: Corporate Crime and CDT Funding on behalf of so-called medical privacy
From: [email protected] (Gordon Cook)
Sender: [email protected]
Reply-to: [email protected]
To: [email protected] (Multiple recipients of list)
Date: 95-11-20 22:44:48 EST
The following article appeared in the current issue of
Corporate Crime Reporter (Volume 9, Number 44, November 20, 1995,
page one). It is redisseminated on the Internet with the
permission of CCR.
SELF-PROCLAIMED "PUBLIC INTEREST" GROUP HEAVILY FUNDED BY
COMPUTER, TELECOMMUNICATIONS, DATABANK CORPORATIONS THAT WOULD
BENEFIT FROM "MEDICAL PRIVACY" LEGISLATION GROUP SUPPORTS --
EQUIFAX, TRW, DUNN & BRADSTREET IN THE MIX
The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), a self-
proclaimed "public interest organization," is in fact heavily
funded by large private computer, telecommunications, and
Funders of CDT, a two-year old Washington, D.C.-based
advocacy organization, include Dunn & Bradstreet Corp., Equifax
Inc., and TRW Information Services, three large databank
corporations that stand to benefit from federal legislation CDT
actively helped shaped and is shepherding through Congress.
This year, CDT has received $699,643 from more than 30 large
corporations, including $100,000 from Microsoft, $75,000 from
AT&T, $60,000 from Bell Atlantic, $50,000 from Apple Computer,
$25,000 from IBM, $10,000 from TRW Information Services, $10,000
from Dunn & Bradstreet, $5,000 from Direct Marketing Association,
and $5,000 from Equifax Inc. (For a complete list of CDT's
funders, see At A Glance, page 16)
At a hearing before the Senate Labor and Human Resources
Committee last week, CDT deputy director Janlori Goldman said
that CDT "strongly supports" legislation, S. 1360, sponsored by
Senators Robert Bennett (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont),
because it represents "the most comprehensive and strong privacy
bill the Congress has yet considered in this area."
But opponents of the bill argue that the legislation is not
a privacy statute at all, but instead is a vehicle that would
legitimize the creation of large computerized databanks of
personal medical information, thus benefitting those companies
like TRW and Equifax that give financial support to CDT. The
legislation would allow for broad, unauthorized searches of those
databanks, opponents claim.
In an interview, Goldman told Corporate Crime Reporter that
all of CDT's corporate funding is earmarked for other projects
and that none of the corporate funding is supporting her work on
the medical privacy bill.
"The corporate funding is not related at all, in any way
shape or form to my work on this bill," Goldman said. "The reason
we are doing this bill is that I've worked on privacy issues for
a decade. The most important privacy issue to work on is the
passage of the medical records privacy legislation. That is a
very sincere issue for me."
"None of the corporate support that CDT gets is related to
my work on this bill," Goldman emphasized. "None. Zippo."
CDT's executive director, Jerry Berman agreed. "We have no
funding for the medical privacy project -- zero," Berman said.
But critics of the CDT's position on the legislation were
"During the Senate hearing this week, Senator Bennett was
angered at the suggestion that S. 1360 was an industry bill,"
said Jamie Love of Ralph Nader's Center for Study of Responsive
Law. "He claimed that he had widely consulted with privacy groups
and patient advocates. CDT's Janlori Goldman was the key person
who decided who was in the loop, and who was not in the loop on
this issue. Groups that were not receptive to the idea of massive
database systems of personal medical records were excluded from
"To find out that CDT has been funded by companies such as
Equifax, TRW, Dunn & Bradstreet, IBM and the telephone companies
is remarkable, because these are among the groups who have the
most at stake in legitimizing and preserving the current system
of maintaining and managing medical records," Love said. "I think
that Janlori Goldman should have mentioned in her Senate
testimony that CDT was funded by corporations who have an
interest in this issue."
"If CDT were doing its job, TRW and Equifax wouldn't want to
give it money," Love added.
Harold Eist, president-elect of the American Psychiatric
Association, said that "any datagathering and large computer
company would clearly benefit from legislation that drives large
amounts of individually identified data about American citizens
into data banks without the knowledge and permission of those
"Selling that information would represent a gold mine for
those companies," Eist said.
"It is not surprising that an organization with a
disingenuous name -- Center for Democracy & Technology -- would
be supporting a bill with a disingenuous name -- The Medical
Records Confidentiality Act," Eist said. "In fact, this bill
represents an effort to give away the privacy of American
citizens without their knowledge."
"My understanding is that Janlori Goldman was involved in
writing the bill," Eist said. "It seems to me that as a former
civil libertarian, she should know very well that there are
loopholes in that bill regarding protections to privacy that you
could drive a Mack truck through."
"Unless people can be assured that their privacy will be
protected, there is little or no chance that they will reveal the
kind of tormented and dark secrets that they have to reveal to
recover from their illnesses," Eist said. "Confidentially is the
sine qua non of medical treatment, and especially if it is
psychiatric medical treatment."
A driving force behind the effort to derail the
Bennett/Leahy bill is Denise Nagel, a Boston physician who
organized the Coalition for Patient Rights of New England "to
restore confidentiality to the doctor-patient relationship."
Nagel refused to comment on CDT's funding.
At the Senate hearing last week, Nagel told the committee "I
have no industry ties."
Nagel charged that S. 1360 was written "to advance the
interests of certain segments of the computer,
telecommunications, data processing and health-care industries."
"With this bill they would be able to careen full speed
ahead to develop data networks that will give innumerable people
access to our medical records legally and without our knowledge,"
"I am convinced that S. 1360 is not at all primarily
concerned with the confidentiality of medical records," Nagel
told the committee. "It is just the opposite. It talks about
informed consent, but then authorizes the creation of databases
without patient knowledge or consent. It talks about individual
rights, and then allows police broad authority to search
databases directly instead of obtaining a specific record from
the patient's doctor. It talks about civil and criminal
sanctions, and then pre-empts all common law and most existing
and future state statutes. It talks about ensuring personal
privacy with respect to medical records, and then sets a ceiling
rather than a floor on medical confidentiality."
AT A GLANCE: CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND TECHNOLOGY FUNDING, 1994-
American Advertising Federation 500.00
America Online, Inc. 25,000.00
Apple Computer Inc. 50,000.00
Bell Atlantic 60,000.00
Business Software Alliance 6,000.00
Cellular Tellecomm Indust Assn 10,000.00
Delphi Internet Services Corp 10,000.00
Direct Marketing Association 5,000.00
Dunn & Bradstreet Corp 10,000.00
Equifax Inc. 5,000.00
John Gilmore 2,500.00
Hartford Foundation 153,000.00
Information Technology Industry 5,000.00
Interactive Digital Software 5,000.00
MCI Telecommunications 15,000.00
National Cable Television Assn 15,000.00
Netscape Communications Corp 5,000.00
Newspaper Association of Am 5,000.00
Nynex Government Affairs 25,000.00
Pacific Telesis 25,000.00
Prodigy Service Company 10,000.00
Software Publishers Assn 10,000.00
Time Warner Inc 5,000.00
TRW Information Svcs 10,000.00
US Telephone Association 10,000.00
US West Inc 10,000.00
Total Funding 814,020.00
Received 1994 114,377.00
Received 1995 699,643.00
Total Funding 814,020.00