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Commerce Department Names Chief Privacy Officer

Dan Caprio, the department's deputy assistant secretary for technology policy, is adding the job of chief privacy officer.
Commerce Department Secretary Donald Evans made the connection between privacy and technology explicit this week by naming Dan Caprio, deputy assistant secretary for technology policy, as the department's first chief privacy officer. Caprio will hold both titles. As chief privacy officer, he'll oversee "departmental activities related to the development and implementation of federal privacy laws, policies, and practices," Evans said in a statement.

Caprio has spent his career in government. Before joining the Commerce Department, he worked at the Federal Trade Commission as principal technology policy adviser with specific emphasis on information security, privacy, and global electronic commerce. In 2002, he was part of a U.S group working to revise Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development guidelines for IT security. Since December, he's been co-chairman of the National Cyber Security Partnership Awareness Task Force. He's also been a lobbyist, worked for U.S. Senate and House offices, and worked for Illinois Govs. James Thompson and Jim Edgar.

Experience suggests this isn't likely to be a window-dressing title for Caprio. At the Department of Homeland Security, chief privacy officer Nuala O'Connor Kelly this year launched an investigation into any potential privacy violations surrounding development of CAPPS II, an initiative to help airlines prescreen passengers. That ran afoul of privacy practices because some airlines gave passenger data to contractors to test screening tools.

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