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New Ruling From U.S. Justice Dept. Limits Privacy-Violation Prosecutions

An authoritative new ruling by the Justice Department sharply limits the government's ability to prosecute people for criminal violations of the law that protects the privacy of medical records. In short, the department said, people who work for an entity covered by the federal privacy law are not automatically covered by that law and may not be subject to its criminal penalties, which include a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison for the most serious violations.

Ruling Limits Prosecutions of People Who Violate Law on Privacy of Medical Records, New York Times, June 7, 2005.