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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity

Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity

Date: February 3, 2012
Creator: Murrill, Brandon J.; Liu, Edward, C. & Thompson, Richard M., II
Description: Fueled by stimulus funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), electric utilities have accelerated their deployment of smart meters to millions of homes across the United States with help from the Department of Energy's Smart Grid Investment Grant program. As the meters multiply, so do issues concerning the privacy and security of the data collected by the new technology. Smart meters must record near-real time data on consumer electricity usage and transmit the data to utilities over great distances via communications networks that serve the smart grid. Detailed electricity usage data offers a window into the lives of people inside of a home by revealing what individual appliances they are using, and the transmission of the data potentially subjects this information to interception or theft by unauthorized third parties or hackers. Unforeseen consequences under federal law may result from the installation of smart meters and the communications technologies that accompany them. This report examines federal privacy and cybersecurity laws that may apply to consumer data collected by residential smart meters.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Date: January 12, 2012
Creator: Siskin, Alison & Wyler, Liana Sun
Description: Trafficking in persons (TIP) for the purposes of exploitation is believed to be one of the most prolific areas of international criminal activity and is of significant concern to the United States and the international community. This report discusses the global and ongoing problem of TIP in detail, as well as anti-TIP programs and U.S. and international efforts to combat TIP.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Terrorist Watch List Screening and Brady Background Checks for Firearms

Terrorist Watch List Screening and Brady Background Checks for Firearms

Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: The November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, TX, renewed interest in terrorist watchlist screening and Brady background checks for firearms through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). In the 110th Congress, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Peter King introduced a bill based on a legislative proposal developed by DOJ that would have authorized the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms (and explosives) licenses/permits to "dangerous terrorists." They reintroduced this proposal in the 111th Congress and supporters dubbed it the "Terror Gap" proposal. It was reintroduced once again in the 112th Congress. The Terror Gap proposal raises several potential issues for Congress, which are discussed in this report.
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Latin America: Terrorism Issues

Latin America: Terrorism Issues

Date: January 5, 2012
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Description: U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America intensified in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. Over the past several years, policymakers have been concerned about Iran's increasing activities in Latin America, particularly its relations with Venezuela, although there has been disagreement over the extent and significance of Iran's relations with the region. In the 112th Congress, several initiatives have been introduced related to terrorism issues in the Western Hemisphere regarding Mexico, Venezuela, and the activities of Iran and Hezbollah, and several oversight hearings have been held.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Organized Crime: An Evolving Challenge for U.S. Law Enforcement

Organized Crime: An Evolving Challenge for U.S. Law Enforcement

Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Bjelopera, Jerome P. & Finklea, Kristin M.
Description: In the last two decades, organized crime has grown more complex, posing evolving challenges for U.S. federal law enforcement. These criminals have transformed their operations in ways that broaden their reach and make it harder for law enforcement to combat them. They have adopted more-networked structural models, internationalized their operations, and grown more tech savvy. They are a significant challenge to U.S. law enforcement. There still is no single agency charged with investigating organized crime in the way the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been designated the lead investigative agency for terrorism. Further, resources to tackle this issue are divided among many federal agencies. As such, Congress may exert its oversight authority regarding the federal coordination of organized crime investigations via the 2011 strategy. Policymakers may also debate the efficacy of current resources appropriated to combat organized crime.
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Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

Date: September 17, 2010
Creator: Garcia, Michael John & Manuel, Kate M.
Description: This report discusses the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law through the investigation and arrest of persons believed to have violated such laws. It describes current provisions in federal law that permit state and local police to enforce immigration law directly, analyzes major cases concerning the ability of states and localities to assist in immigration enforcement, and briefly examines opinions on the issue by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
FBI Directorship: History and Congressional Action

FBI Directorship: History and Congressional Action

Date: June 7, 2011
Creator: Chu, Vivian S. & Hogue, Henry B.
Description: This report first provides some legislative history surrounding the enactment of the 1968 and 1976 amendments to the appointment of the FBI Director, as well as information on the nominees to the FBI Directorship since 1972. The report then discusses precedent for lengthening the tenure of an office and the constitutionality of extending the tenure of the Directorship for the current incumbent, and addresses whether it would be necessary for Mr. Mueller to be appointed a second time.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Gun Control Legislation

Gun Control Legislation

Date: June 11, 2012
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report looks at past gun control legislation and also how recent events (such as the shooting in Tucson, AZ on January 8, 2011 which notably wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) have influenced current legislation. This report concludes with discussion of other salient and recurring gun control issues that have generated past congressional interest.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Gun Control Legislation

Gun Control Legislation

Date: June 9, 2011
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report provides basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and a summary of legislative action in the 111th Congress. The report concludes with salient issues that have generated significant congressional interest, including the 1994-2004 LCAFD ban.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Gun Control Legislation

Gun Control Legislation

Date: May 16, 2012
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report looks at past gun control legislation and also how recent events (such as the shooting in Tucson, AZ on January 8, 2011 which notably wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) have influenced current legislation. This report concludes with discussion of other salient and recurring gun control issues that have generated past congressional interest.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department