Privacy

OMB director announces new privacy panel

Shaun Donovan

OMB Director Shaun Donovan announced the creation of a new Federal Privacy Council, which will be formed in 2016.

A new Federal Privacy Council will be formed in early 2016 to tackle privacy issues, the White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan announced Wednesday.

"It's time to stop reinventing the privacy wheel at agencies and do a better job of leveraging the success of each agencies related efforts," Donovan said at a packed summit at the Washington headquarters of the Department of Transportation.

The overarching goal is the protection of data the government collects on citizens. The new council is looking to develop policy to prevent data breaches, mitigate their effects when they do occur, improving the productivity and eliminating duplication of effort in privacy protection, while building and retaining trust in government, Donovan said.

"If we don't invest in privacy today, these issues will only become more challenging tomorrow," he said.

The formation of the council, modeled on other federal communities of practice such as the CIO Council, will begin at the beginning of 2016. It builds  on the the work of a privacy committee and eight working groups that are up and running. A top priority for the council will be to "professionalize the privacy profession,"  Donovan said. A big impetus for the new body is to shift from a reactive to proactive posture when it comes to data breaches and other failures that put privacy at risks.

Priorities for the Privacy Council include expanding education, training professional development for privacy professionals, and building a community within the privacy government professionals.

"The Privacy Council will serve as an ecosystem for strategic thinking on privacy implementation, bringing together the best minds we have to tackle the cutting edge privacy issues of the digital era," Donovan added.

OMB Chief Privacy Officer Marc Groman spoke to reporters after the panel about the council.

"We will be looking at issues around the talent pool in the federal government, making sure we can attract the right talent and we are able to hire and bring in more qualified privacy professionals," he said.

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


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