In 1994, Congress passed a law called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which requires telecommunication providers to build wiretapping and surveillance capabilities for law enforcement officials into their new technologies.
Richard Epstein has posted a reply continuing our debate over whether employers should be able to use genetic testing information to make employment decisions regarding employees. Here are the posts in our debate so far:
2. Epstein, Two Cheers for Genetic Testing
4. Epstein, A Third Cheer for Genetic Testing
Although the Supreme Court feels some pressure for consistency via precedent, it doesn’t seem to strive at all for consistency in interpretive approach. Thus, the Court’s opinions are all over the map when it comes to the method of constitutional interpretation. Sometimes the Court reads the Constitution broadly and dynamically; sometimes it interprets the Constitution narrowly; sometimes it becomes a textualist; sometimes it becomes obsessed with original intent. And all this can happen in the same year!
In his first post to the relatively new Chicago Law Faculty Blog(which has turned out to be a really interesting blog by the way), Professor Richard Epstein argues against my recent post about genetic testing in the workplace. Epstein disagrees with my general view that it is better to restrict employers from using genetic information in making employment decisions.
The AALS law teaching interview season will be commencing soon, and since a number of our readers will be interviewing for law teaching jobs, here are a few quick words of advice.
This week, IBM announced that it would not use genetic information in making any employment decision:
On October 10, IBM Chairman Sam Palmisano signed a revision of the company’s equal opportunity policy specifying that IBM would not “use genetic information in its employment decisions.” In doing so, Big Blue became the first major corporation to proactively take this position. “Business activities such as hiring, promotion and compensation of employees will be conducted without regard to a person’s genetics,” wrote Palmisano in a letter to employees announcing the change.
The Senate recently voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. But nestled in the Act was an amendment by Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) to add arrestee information to the national DNA database. The national DNA database, which is run by the FBI, is called the Combined DNA Index System (“CODIS”), and it includes DNA from over two million convicted criminals. This DNA is used to identify matches with DNA found at crime scenes.
Bird flu has now captured the attention of the news. While I’m generally not one to become overly concerned with Armageddon scenarios, a flu pandemic strikes me as a particularly realistic and frightening possibility. Pandemics occur periodically, and the experts all seem to be extremely concerned.
I just wrote a post about the possibility of cell phones being used to nab speeders. This raises a larger question regarding law enforcement. If we employ new technologies of surveillance to achieve a more efficient enforcement of various laws, the most obvious concern that comes to mind is the threat posed to privacy. There’s also another problem worth thinking about – Is it desirable to have very efficient enforcement of certain laws?