Group issues privacy tips

Defense officials should hire a privacy officer, create data acquisition requirements and back data mining research, a military advisory committee said recently.

The Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee last week issued a report entitled, "Safeguarding Privacy in the Fight Against Terrorism." Among the committee recommendations:

Establish minimum technical requirements for the acquisition and use of data.

Create a policy-level privacy officer in the Defense Department.

Support research for improving data mining, including enhanced tools for privacy protection and a better understanding of legal, ethical, social and practical issues regarding data mining and the U.S. public.

"We believe it is possible to fight terrorism and to protect privacy at the same time," said the May 18 report. "We must not sacrifice one for the other, because, as Benjamin Franklin warned more than two centuries ago, 'They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.' "

The 140-page document resulted from Congress canceling the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's controversial Terrorism Information Awareness program in 2003. TAPAC officials concluded that TIA represented "a flawed effort to achieve worthwhile ends."

Last year, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created TAPAC to examine privacy issues related to TIA, which would scan public and private databases for terrorist activities. To view the report, go to: http://www.sainc.com/tapac/TAPAC_Report_Final_5-10-04.pdf

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