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by CSO Contributor

Senators Propose Patriot Act Limitations; U.S. Reaches Deal to Limit Transfers of Portable Missiles; Student Charged in Airport Scheme; Microsoft Offers E-Mail Controls

Oct 21, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Senators Propose Patriot Act Limitations

A bipartisan group of senators this week announced the latest in a steady trickle of legislative proposals to trim back some of the enhanced search and surveillance powers granted to law enforcement under the USA-PATRIOT Act, according to a story in The Register today. Under the proposed act, called SAFE, the FBI would no longer be able to obtain warrants to secretly enter a persons home or office unless an overt search would endanger physical safety or lead to destruction of evidence. SAFE would also cap the length of time a search could be kept secret at seven days, though a judge could repeatedly extend the blackout period, and it would put limitations on the FBI’s use of so-called “roving wiretap” orders, which permit agents to eavesdrop on any telephone or computer used by a suspect. The SAFE Act would also limit the FBI’s ability to obtain secret national security ordersunder current law they have access to anybodys utility records, credit card purchases, medical records, and any other documents in a terrorism or espionage investigation, but SAFE would limit such orders to records of suspected terrorists or spies.U.S. Reaches Deal to Limit Transfers of Portable MissilesThe New York Times today, senior Bush officials said yesterday that the United States has won agreement from governments across Asia and the Pacific Rim to sharply restrict the use and transfer of shoulder-fired missiles that could be used by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups to shoot down passenger planes. Weapons specialists say that tens of thousands of shoulder-fired missiles are now in circulation on the international arms market, with the price for an older Russian-made SA-7 as little as $5,000. Even the smallest of the Man-Portable Air Defense Systems is capable of bringing down a jumbo jet on takeoff or landing, reports the Times. The agreement would represent a reversal by the United States government, which had previously resisted formal international restrictions on the transfer of shoulder-fired missiles, but it is not expected to have a major impact on the business of American armsmakers, since shoulder-fired missiles make up only a small fraction of the total arms market here and since the American proposal would not affect exports to allied governments.

According to a story in

Student Charged in Airport SchemeWashington Post, Nathaniel Heatwole told FBI investigators that he was able to take the items through security checkpoints in his carry-on bag and on his body on six occasions at Raleigh-Durham International and Baltimore-Washington International airports this year without being stopped by security screeners. The college student allegedly told investigators he stashed the items aboard four planes and then left a paper trail for authorities, through notes left with the items and in an e-mail to security officials, which they used to identify him. He said he believed his actions were “an act of civil disobedience with the aim of improving public safety for the air-traveling public,” according to the affidavit. The Transportation Security Administration said that it is conducting an internal review to determine how the dangerous items got on the planes and that it will change how its contact center responds to messages from the public, reports the Post.

The U.S. government yesterday charged a 20-year-old Maryland resident with carrying concealed weapons on an aircraft after investigators said he admitted he took box cutters and other dangerous items onto six flights in a scheme to prove that weaknesses remain in the nation’s air security system. According to a story in todays

Microsoft Offers E-Mail ControlsBBC News. The new version also features automatic spam filtering and lets you build a blacklist of senders to block, as well as a safe list of people whose messages you want to receive.

Upgrades to Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail program come with a feature which gives you complete control over what people do with messages or documents. As part of a new version of its flagship Microsoft Office, which goes on sale worldwide today, the Information Rights Management system lets users limit who else can open, edit, copy or even print a document. You can even set a time limit on it, so that a document will self-destruct’ after a set period, though a copy will most likely remain on a central server, according to the