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    DHS Privacy Office Releases 2014 Annual Report to Congress

    The Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Office has released its annual report (3 MB pdf) to Congress. The report focuses on the following “core activities”:

    • Requiring compliance with federal privacy and disclosure laws and policies in all DHS programs, systems, and operations;
    • Centralizing Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act operations to provide policy and programmatic oversight, to support operational implementation within the DHS components, and to ensure the consistent handling of disclosure requests;
    • Providing leadership and guidance to promote a culture of privacy and adherence to the Fair Information Practice Principles across the Department;
    • Advancing privacy protections throughout the Federal Government through active participation in interagency fora;
    • Conducting outreach to the Department’s international partners to promote understanding of the U.S. privacy framework generally and the Department’s role in protecting individual privacy; and,
    • Ensuring transparency to the public through published materials, reports, formal notices, public workshops, and meetings.

    The report also detailed the Privacy Office’s five strategic goals for the year:

    • Goal 1 (Privacy and Disclosure Policy): Foster a culture of privacy and transparency, and demonstrate leadership through policy and partnerships;
    • Goal 2 (Advocacy): Provide outreach, education, training, and reports in order to promote privacy and openness in homeland security;
    • Goal 3 (Compliance): Ensure that DHS complies with federal privacy and disclosure laws and policies and adheres to the DHS Fair Information Practice Principles;
    • Goal 4 (Oversight): Conduct robust oversight on embedded privacy protections and disclosures in all DHS activities; and
    • Goal 5 (Workforce Excellence): Develop and maintain the best privacy and disclosure professionals in the Federal Government.

    The report also notes “The Future of Privacy at DHS”:

    The value of technology to identify and share indicators of potential cyber threats or to identify previously unrecognized patterns cannot be understated; but neither should the privacy risks. All of this technology can help achieve a risk-based, non- discriminatory approach to implementing the DHS missions. The Privacy Office will ensure that it is used in a manner that sustains, but does not erode privacy, by embedding privacy at the front-end of these initiatives as well as monitoring the privacy impact throughout their lifecycles.

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