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    Federal Computer Week: DHS sets privacy policies for selected social media tools

    Federal Computer Week reports on a new privacy impact assessment (DHS pdf; archive pdf) from the Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Office concerning some social-networking and social-media programs:

    The Homeland Security Department has trained its employees not to collect personal data from individuals with whom they interact via social media tools such as widgets, mobile applications, text messages and Real Simple Syndication feeds, according to a report from the department’s Office of the Chief Privacy Officer.

    Given the nature of such tools, some personal data — such as user ZIP codes — may be collected and displayed by the systems during sign-on or may be published in a public profile of the user, states the March 8 report, titled “Privacy Impact Assessment for the Use of Unidirectional Social Media Applications Communications and Outreach.”

    To protect privacy, DHS officials are not collecting or storing such personal information, the report said.

    The 19-page report gives an overview of DHS’s strategy for one-way social media communications, also including podcasts and video streams, in which it primarily pushes out messages to subscribers who request such services. […]

    The report does not appear to cover policies for social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, which are not mentioned by name. An Appendix A that is supposed to include a list of all covered social media applications is blank.

    The assessment also “does not cover users sending content to the department,” the report states.

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