Federal Data Miners Urged To Better Address Citizen Privacy - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Infrastructure

Federal Data Miners Urged To Better Address Citizen Privacy

GAO says agencies aren't complying with all related laws and guidance to protect personal information in five data-mining programs.

Federal investigators say the government isn't doing all it should to notify citizens that information about them is being collected by systems employing data-mining techniques.

The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, reviewed five data-mining efforts employed by the Small Business Administration, Agriculture's Risk Management Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, the State Department, and the FBI.

In an 82-page report requested by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, the ranking minority member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the GAO said the five agencies didn't comply with all related laws and guidance to protect personal information, though they did take some key stops to offer those safeguards.

Most agencies notified the public that they collected and used personal information and provided chances for individuals to review personal information when required by the Privacy Act. But government law and rules require agencies to furnish notice to individual respondents explaining why the information is being collected.

The GAO said only two agencies provided this notice, one did not provide it, and two claimed an allowable exemption from this requirement because the systems were used for law enforcement. The GAO also contends agency compliance with key security requirements was inconsistent. And, it says, three of the five agencies completed privacy impact assessments -- important for analyzing the privacy implications of a system or data collection -- but none of the assessments fully complied with Office of Management and Budget guidance.

"Until agencies fully comply with these requirements," writes Linda Koontz, GAO director of information-management issues, "they lack assurance that individual privacy rights are being appropriately protected."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Slideshows
IT Careers: 12 Job Skills in Demand for 2020
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/1/2019
Commentary
Enterprise Guide to Multi-Cloud Adoption
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  9/27/2019
Commentary
5 Ways CIOs Can Better Compete to Recruit Top Tech Talent
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  10/2/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Video
Current Issue
Data Science and AI in the Fast Lane
This IT Trend Report will help you gain insight into how quickly and dramatically data science is influencing how enterprises are managed and where they will derive business success. Read the report today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll