Exec recommends privacy czars
- By Dibya Sarkar
- May 09, 2001
State governments should consider creating a chief privacy officer position
to handle policies and manage systems in regard to privacy, according to
an IBM Corp. executive.
Harriet Pearson, who became the company's chief privacy officer in November
2000, said digital government won't become a reality until people have confidence
and trust that their information is being used properly.
"Privacy is an individual's ability to control what is done with his
or her data," she said during the National Association of State Information
and Resource Executives midyear conference Monday in Austin, Texas. The
association represents the states' chief information officers.
Like about 200 private-sector CPOs across the country, Pearson's main
As more public information becomes available over the World Wide Web,
Pearson said citizens are concerned that somebody could use that information
to physically or economically hurt them. She said they would rather give
up the Web's convenience in return for their safety. She also said many
people are unaware of state laws prohibiting how information can be used.
States are grappling with the issue but should consider doing more,
such as appointing a CPO to help develop and oversee the implementation
of policies, she said. So far, only Florida officials have considered such
She said states also should:
* Review what information is collected by their agencies.
* Assess how data is handled and how it flows through government.
* Establish a management system or refine what a state has to do to
keep up with changes.
* Do a "privacy impact assessment" and invite public comment when considering
a new project to see how it would affect people.
* Use technology to implement policies.