Privacy, security guidance offered

Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services and Government

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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

World."

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

Age.

"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

systems.

* 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

unveiled.

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

"well-traveled."

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.

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