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FCW : May 15, 2014
Trending 8 May 15, 2014 FCW.COM is the deadline for FedRAMP compliance June 5 More often than not these days, the government is criticized for intruding on individuals’ privacy. The Depart- ment of Homeland Security’s recent report on how it shares and protects citizens’ personal information, howev- er, drew rare praise from the American Civil Liberties Union. In an April 18 blog post on the website of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, legislative counsel Michelle Richardson said DHS’ report on how it shares private information with other fed- eral agencies stood out for its “impressive” and candid explanations. Under a February presidential order, federal agencies were required to issue Privacy and Civil Liberties Assessment Reports explaining how they share pri- vate information and what they do to protect it. Richardson said that for the most part, the reports were discouraging and offered little to no information, but DHS was an exception. “In no uncertain terms, it says that [personally identifiable] information (PII) will not be shared unless it is ‘nec- essary’ to address a cyber threat,” she wrote. She commended the agency’s recognition that information on the victim of a cyberattack differs from information on an attacker. Furthermore, the agency realizes that the driving ques- tion “isn’t whether personal data was legally collected, but whether it is ‘material’ to an investigation,” she wrote. The public acknowledg- ment from an agency that collecting unnecessary data might not advance an investigation and could even hinder it was “refreshing,” Richardson added. She noted that other federal agencies that deal with PII, including the Jus- tice Department and Defense Depart- ment, “pulled down the shades” for their reports, with some issuing only a few pages to confirm that they were taking steps to protect the information. — Mark Rockwell ACLU praises DHS report INK TANK ACLU.ORG The Defense Department is considering sharing potential procurement require- ments with industry even if those draft requirements never take effect, Assis- tant Secretary for Acquisition Katrina McFarland said at an industry event in April. “The Joint [Chiefs of] Staff has come to visit, and they’re interested in looking at how they can allow for the exposure of information on the gen- eration of requirements early on and how would that be protected from the sense that government may never ever actually buy this requirement,” McFar- land said. Giving industry a peek at draft requirements could get government and defense contractors on the same page with their budget priorities, she added. The idea is for the government to signal procurement criteria without being obligated to follow through on those criteria. McFarland said acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Alan Shaffer already floats early procurement requirements to industry for one program in his port- folio, and sharing early requirements with industry is a major agenda item for her office. In the current lean budget times, DOD is turning to innovation in tech- nology research and development to cut costs, McFarland added. She told the audience of defense profession- als to examine their own cost-cutting measures and asked them to consider: “How do you marry that up with what our business is so that we are already prepared for the next generation of equipment?” — Sean Lyngaas DOD aims to improve procurement communications Michelle Richardson
April 30, 2014
May 30, 2014