Thursday, May 14, 2009

Potential SSI Regulation Changes

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently published the Spring 2009 Update for the Unified Regulatory Agenda on the web site. Included in the DHS/TSA section of that site are listings for two potential changes to the regulations concerning the protection of sensitive security information (SSI). Neither of these actions are new to the Spring Update; they both appeared in the Fall 2008 updated on the same site. Protection of Sensitive Security Information (SSI) The current SSI regulations (49 CFR §15; and §1520 ) were last significantly modified in 2004 by an interim final rule on the protection of Sensitive Security Information (SSI). That rule was modestly modified by a minor technical amendment in 2005. TSA has yet to modify the IFR based on the comments received when the IFR was published. Typically that regulatory change would constitute the final rule, but TSA has yet to decide when and if such a final rule would actually be issued. Disclosure in Federal Civil Court Proceedings The second pending action would be required to implement section 525(d) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act of 2007, which grants civil litigants or their counsel who do not currently have a need to know SSI access to specific SSI in Federal district court proceedings, if certain requirements are met. This proposed rule would establish an administrative process by which a limited number of individuals representing parties in Federal civil court proceedings would apply to TSA for access to SSI for use in the litigation. According to the site, TSA is currently planning on introducing the notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) this month. This is not a commitment to publish the NPRM in this month’s Federal Register; just a notice of intent.

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