Privacy groups question data use

A loophole that now allows federal agencies to skirt Privacy Act restrictions by using commercial data brokers should be closed, privacy expert James Dempsey said this week at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Dempsey, executive director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said federal officials are not conducting privacy assessments, for example, on personal data bought from large data brokers such as ChoicePoint. Dempsey argued that Congress should change that with legislation.

Among witnesses at the April 13 hearing were officials from the FBI, Secret Service and Federal Trade Commission. Also speaking were executives from ChoicePoint, LexisNexis Group and Acxiom, among the nation's large data brokers. Each of those companies has had highly publicized security breaches of their databases.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), committee chairman, concluded the two-and-a-half-hour hearing on electronic identity theft by promising that the fast-growing data brokerage industry would not go unregulated. "I believe there will be some very firm regulations coming out of this," he said.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.