National Disaster Network Hinges on Data Sharing

The National Disaster Information Network, promoted as a network of databases to swap data related to natural disasters, will become a reality only when issues of access and data disclosure are resolved.

At least that's the conclusion of a report by the National Academy of Public Administrators, which details a mountain of coordination issues surrounding the creation of the NDIN. The report, titled "Legal Limits on Access to and Disclosure of Disaster Information," is available on the NAPA site at (www.napawash.org).

According to NAPA , one of the most perplexing data access and disclosure issues is the fact that federal policies regarding the disclosure of disaster information is conflicting.

The NAPA report discusses the fine line governments must walk between meeting the public's right to know detailed information about natural disasters and the recriminations involved in disclosing private or sensitive information in the wake of a disaster.

"Many state and local policies mirror this dilemma, which is by no means unique to the disaster-management field," according to the report.

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