Privacy, security guidance offered
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Dec 12, 2001
Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services and Government
To provide a framework for developing privacy and security policies, a group
of e-government experts has released a set of guidelines for government
leaders to use.
The report — by the Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services
and Government, which was created through a partnership with Harvard University's
John F. Kennedy School of Government and several public and private groups
— is the fifth in a series called "Eight Imperatives for Leaders in a Networked
The first four imperatives dealt with an e-services agenda covering
how information technology shaped government service delivery, said Jerry
Mechling, director of the Strategic Computing program at Harvard's Kennedy
School of Government.
The latest report, "Protect Privacy and Security," is the first of the
next four imperatives, which deal with e-governance. The entire series is
targeted to government leaders as a way to help them succeed in the Information
"The issues here are more controversial and less clear, and significant
influence flows from outside the jurisdictional boundaries of the governments
involved," the report said. "The e-governance agenda is generally less understood
than the e-government agenda, and is less likely to offer progress through
consensus-supported incremental change."
The privacy and security guidelines call for governments to:
* Adopt existing practices and standards where appropriate.
* Educate and include stakeholders in assessing privacy, security and
other information policy issues.
* Provide adequate executive-level attention to information policy issues.
* Plan for privacy and security before collecting data and/or building
* Harmonize information policy with other jurisdictions.
* Support development of new technologies and techniques.
* Use IT to enhance privacy and security, not just maintain them.
Carolyn Purcell, chief information officer for Texas, said the environment
in which governments operate has changed over time and there have been fundamental
shifts in the way business is conducted. Privacy and security issues also
have been "fractured" in recent months, with many more "different faces
and contexts" to consider, she said.
"In short, we're all making this stuff up," said Purcell, who also is
chairwoman of the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council, speaking
at the group's annual conference in Las Vegas Dec. 10, when the report was
J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio's secretary of state, said that although
a great deal of information has been written about privacy, the issue isn't
Steve Kolodney, Washington state's former CIO who now is vice president
of state and local solutions at American Management Systems Inc., said the
privacy and security document is "imperfect," adding that the Sept. 11 incidents
are creating new issues.