GSA seeks comment on procurement data privacy

As the General Services Administration continues work on improvements to the Federal Procurement Data System—Next Generation, the agency will accept comments on the system's privacy standards through June 2, according to a notice published in today’s Federal Register.

The primary purpose of the notice was to identify FPDS-NG as a records system subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 and outline the privacy policy.

FPDS-NG gives GSA a broad way to organize and present data on government contract procurement. The information is used to create reports for agencies and the public. The system maintains official statistical data on federal contracting, including information on unclassified contracts that the government considers sensitive.

The system safeguards records as required by privacy legislation and the system’s security plan, the Federal Register notice states. Electronic records are protected by passwords and other appropriate security measures, and only authorized users can enter the data.

FPDS-NG, run by a contractor called Global Computer Enterprises since 2003, has earned criticism from some quarters. A 2005 Government Accountability Office letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua Bolten outlined some of those criticisms, including the incompleteness of the data and the difficulty some users experience in trying to locate information in the system.


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