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OMB teaches privacy pros about tech

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Why can't privacy and security live together in perfect harmony? They might, with more talking and training.

"There is no tension between the principles of privacy and the principles of security," said Marc Groman, senior privacy adviser in the Office of Management and Budget, at the (ISC)² CyberSecureGov leadership event on May 19. The two fields can work "perfectly in concert" if privacy and security professionals are involved from the inception of a project, he added.

Groman has previously noted that privacy needs to be a separate consideration from security, but many of the questions that privacy pros raise -- for instance, "Could we achieve the same mission with less data?" -- complement security.

To help privacy professionals have a meaningful role in discussions, OMB has begun offering them technical training.

"It is my personal belief that you cannot be a privacy professional in 2016 and not understand tech," Groman said. "And so we are building a technology curriculum for federal government privacy professionals so that when they sit across the table from all of you, as you're building a new system or discussing enterprise architecture, they have a baseline understanding of tech, just like I hope you all will have a baseline understanding of privacy."

Groman told FCW the training sessions have been offered about twice a month since January and have covered such topics as encryption and online tracking. The sessions will continue as long as someone needs training. That will probably be forever, he added.

He also urged technology and security experts to embrace their privacy-focused colleagues.

"As soon as you start an initiative...bring in the privacy people immediately," Groman advised. "It is far easier to bake in privacy by design" than try to tack it on afterward.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a former FCW staff writer.

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