Survey says: Privacy needs outreach

Privacy Practices that Work:Eight Federal and Non-Federal Examples

Related Links

A successful privacy program depends on outreach to everyone involved, privacy officials said today.

Cross-agency councils, training programs and ongoing communication are some cornerstones of so-called gold standard privacy programs, according to officials and a survey released today by the Industry Advisory Council E-government Shared Interested Group.

"We reached out to find who we could partner with internally, so we could get the buy-in," said Barbara Symonds, director of the privacy service in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Symonds spoke on a panel this morning discussing the findings of the survey and agency experiences.

The study is based on in-depth interviews with officials at eight federal, private sector and international privacy programs to present the best practices of differing organizations. The report includes case studies on the VA, U.S. Postal Service, Interior Department, Census Bureau, Internal Revenue Service, Homeland Security Department, IBM Corp. and the government of Ontario, Canada.

Despite many differences in implementing privacy programs and their stages of maturity, several common themes emerged, the survey shows. Most organizations used privacy councils with diverse representatives from legal, human resources, technology and policy areas. Also, most organizations have a plan for outreach programs to communicate policies and offer training, the survey shows.

For example, VA officials launched an educational campaign that included a Privacy Day, with buttons and banners, to highlight the issues, Symonds said. VA officials also have a Web-based training program that more than 200,000 employees have completed, she said.

The survey found that senior management support was necessary. Although the structure of the eight privacy programs differed, with some housed in the office of the chief information officer and others in operations, officials expressed the need to have privacy programs operating independently.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.