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DHS, White House, Privacy, Secrecy

Two stories in the news describe different approaches to government secrecy and citizen privacy:

  • White House Orders New Computer Security Rules, By ERIC SCHMITT, New York Times (October 6, 2011)

    “The White House plans to issue an executive order on Friday to replace a flawed patchwork of computer security safeguards exposed by the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of classified government documents to WikiLeaks last year.

    “…In addition to these immediate measures, Mr. Obama’s order creates a task force led by the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to combat leaks from government workers, or what the White House calls an “insider threat.”

    “The directive also establishes a special government committee that must submit a report to the president within 90 days, and then at least once a year after that, assessing federal successes and failures in protecting classified information on government computer networks.

    “…[Pentagon issued cyber identity] credentials allow supervisors to track what users are working on.”

  • Data Mining: DHS Needs to Improve Executive Oversight of Systems Supporting Counterterrorism, Government Accountability Office, GAO-11-742 (September 7, 2011). The report says that, until needed reforms are put in place the Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies “may not be able to ensure that critical data mining systems used in support of counterterrorism are both effective and that they protect personal privacy.”

    “By not consistently performing necessary evaluations and reviews of these systems, DHS and its component agencies risk developing and acquiring systems that do not effectively support their agencies’ missions and do not adequately ensure the protection of privacy-related information.”

See also: GAO Report: DHS Data Mining Needs Privacy Oversight, By Grant Gross, IDG News, PC World, (Oct 7, 2011). “One of the most disturbing findings by the GAO was that ICEPIC rolled out its law enforcement sharing component before it was approved by the DHS privacy office.”

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