NASCIO puts out privacy guide

NASCIO publications

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers released a guide to help states create privacy policies that comply with the law.

The guide, "Information Privacy: A Spotlight on Key Issues," focuses on the most common information held by states, including children's information, driver's information, educational information and health information. It also highlights the issues that must be taken into consideration across the board when it comes to Web site privacy policies and government data matching and sharing.

Privacy has become a hot issue in the last few years because of the vast amount of personal information handled and stored in information systems, as well as the rise of new systems to hold and sort information for homeland security reasons. Given that environment, it is even more important for agencies to take the necessary measures to ensure trust in government, said Stuart McKee, chairman of the NASCIO Privacy Committee.

In each privacy area the committee gathered together the pertinent federal and state laws, including the numerous mandates in the federal E-Government Act of 2002, the most wide-ranging update to federal privacy regulation since the Privacy Act of 1974. Under each area, the committee outlined the top concerns, possible measures to address those concerns, and available resources and best practices.

For example, when it comes to students' education information, the primary federal law is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The guide outlines everything from what information is covered by the law and how to handle that information to what steps must be taken to provide parental access and getting consent for disclosure.

The guide also includes a history of the laws in each area over the last three years, providing additional context as officials make decisions about the sensitive information they handle.

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