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    DHS Privacy Office Highlights Two Accomplishments in Homeland Security Grants

    In a public release, the Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Office highlights two parts of the homeland security grant guidance from FEMA, “Homeland Security Grant Program: Guidance and Application Kit” (pdf). The Privacy Office considers these two portions “significant accomplishments in privacy protection.” The Office says:

    First, on page 4 of the document, in its discussion of fusion centers, the guidance states, “FY 2010 DHS grant funds may not be used to support fusion center-related initiatives unless the fusion center is able to certify that privacy and civil rights/civil liberties (CR/CL) protections are in place that are determined to be at least as comprehensive as the ISE Privacy Guidelines by the ISE Privacy Guidelines Committee (PGC) within 6 months of the award date on this FY 2010 award.  If these protections have not been submitted for review and on file with the ISE PGC, DHS grants funds may only be leveraged to support the development and/or completion of the fusion center’s privacy protections requirements.”  This provision supports the need for fusion centers to complete, for example, a privacy policy.

    Second, page 55 of the document addresses best practices for government use of CCTV.  The guidance states, “DHS recommends that grantees seeking funds to purchase and install closed circuit television (CCTV) systems, or funds to provide support for operational CCTV systems, review and utilize the guidance in Best Practices for Government Use of CCTV: Implementing the Fair Information Practice Principles available on the DHS Privacy Office website at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/privacy/privacy_rpt_cctv_2007.pdf.  As you may recall, this report identifies a series of best practices and provides a PIA template for CCTV activities, as well as a PIA for state and local agencies.  The report provides a CLIA template as well.

    The Privacy Office continues to work diligently towards raising privacy awareness throughout the Department, and the recognition of the importance of privacy in the FEMA guidance is a result of that hard work.

    The Privacy Office has a tough job and I believe they have tried to strengthen privacy protections in Homeland Security programs. However, there is always more to be done and more questions to be answered. For instance, there are still numerous open questions surrounding the fusion centers.

    For more on the Privacy Office’s activities, you can review their latest annual report.

    One Response to “DHS Privacy Office Highlights Two Accomplishments in Homeland Security Grants”

    1. Data Privacy Regulation & Management » DHS Privacy Office Highlights Two Accomplishments in Homeland Security Grants Says:

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