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Monday June 10, 2019

CPSC Letter to Senators Gives More Details on Information Releases

The 29 people or entities who received CPSC Information Clearinghouse data outside the 6(b) process included companies, journalists, researchers, lawyers and others.

 

Other PSL stories related to this matter:

 

Commission Votes Down Baiocco Move to Bring in Outsider on 6(b) Matter

CPSC members May 21 voted 2-3 against a motion by Commissioner Dana Baiocco to bring in a detailee from FBI, DOJ or similar agency to investigate the large disclosure of information outside 6(b) procedures.

 

Discipline Not Out of the Question in 6(b) Situation; CR Got Info on at least 10% of Affected Firms

Disciplinary action is not off the table in CPSC's internal investigation of information released outside 6(b) procedures, but that possibility is tempered with the phrase, "if warranted."

 

CPSC Details In-Progress Mitigation of Disclosures; 11K Firms Affected

CPSC changed its information-release procedures in early April in reaction to its problematic disclosures to 29 recipients since 2017 and affecting approximately 11,000 companies.

 

Disclosures Outside 6(b) Occurred for Year-Plus; CR Rebuffs Return Requests

CPSC's recurring disclosures of companies' information outside 6(b) procedures happened for over a year, and at least one recipient has rejected the agency's request to return or certify destruction of the materials.

 

CR Gives Insight into Link between 6(b) and Sleeper Developments

Consumer Reports (CR) April 18 told PSL it saw a "duty" to consumers to publicize incidents CPSC provided outside the 6(b) process, and it confirmed the connection to the Fisher-Price Rock 'n' Play matter.

 

Clearinghouse Not Meant to Stay under FoIA Office Control

CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle May 21 clarified the intended temporary nature of placing review of Information Clearinghouse releases under the FoIA system.

 

CPSC Starts Redacting Outsiders' Contact Information

CPSC is redacting contact details of non-agency people from at least meeting logs.

 

Anti-6(b) Side Shows It Sees Disclosure Situation Differently

The argument over the meaning of CPSC's disclosure of information outside the 6(b) process is shaping up.

 

Respond Now to Notices of Unauthorized Disclosures, CPSC Urges Companies

Companies need to confirm to CPSC immediately that they received letters about unauthorized release of their information.

The agency listed recipients in an April letter (bit.ly/31ftG15) to congressional overseers. It also gives more details on the types of personally identifiable information (PII) released.

 

At least three recipients were former agency staffers now offering CPSC related services. A few others do not have known affiliations. Media outlets included already known Consumer Reports as well as ABC News, Scripps and perhaps one whose affiliation was listed as "NJ Writer."

 

Industry recipients were Mattel, Whirlpool, and Yeti. A UL employee and someone from the Army Corps of Engineers got some of the information too. Law firms were Clausen-Miller, Deans & Lyons, and RS Injury Law.

 

Others were CMF Engineering, St. Barnabas, Voccii, Technology Associates, University of California San Diego, Texas A&M, and "Toy Certification Emp." For the last, the recipient's name was in what appeared to be Korean letters.

 

As for PII, CPSC wrote, "We have so far discovered PII in the form of street addresses, ages, race and gender." At the time of the letter, CPSC explained that it was evaluating whether those releases merited informing the people.

 

Much of the letter addressed matters already covered in recent PSL stories on the situation. It did explain how the clearinghouse falls under a different part of the U.S. Code than the part addressing other disclosures, noting the decision to put the clearinghouse under FoIA temporarily.

 

The letter was first made available in a June 5 article (bit.ly/2EXMsjM) by FairWarning. It included comments from recipients such as one who complained about being contacted repeatedly by the CPSC general counsel office to add conditions not initially on the data.

 

CPSC has reported (PSL, 5/20/19) that "almost all" of the recipients had agreed to its requests to either return or certify destruction of the materials they received.