RealNews

What to Do When Uncle Sam Wants Your Data

MEMORIAL DAY IS typically the first big scuba weekend of the year, and the Friday before the 2002 holiday, May 24, proved no exception as dive shops around the country teemed with visitors. There was one notable difference, however. In addition to the usual beach bums, water bugs and vacationers renting equipment and booking trips, there were FBI agents demanding the names and addresses of everyone the shops had taught to dive since 1999. They wouldn’t say why. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), an organization that oversees scuba certification, started hearing from panic-stricken shop owners that morning. “We got calls from all over the country saying, I don’t have [the data], what should I do?” says Jeff Nadler, PADI’s vice president of industry and government relations. In order to spare the dive shops further harassment on their first busy day of the year, Nadler made a critical decision: PADI would give the FBI a copy of its own database. Full Story

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