Information systems at the Postal Service were recently compromised, potentially allowing access to employees' personally identifiable information. Breach data may include names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, beginning and end dates of employment and emergency contact information, said USPS in a Nov. 10 statement (pdf).
In an effort to be more transparent and participatory governments are making more data publicly available in machine-readable formats and under open licenses, but such noble aims are not immune to privacy issues, says a paper published June 18 in Future Internet, a Switzerland-based scholarly journal.
Three information technology officials from the Health and Human Services Department vouched for the security of healthcare.gov at a sometimes contentious House Oversight Committee hearing Jan. 16. No attacks on the site have been successful, said Kevin Charest, HHS's chief information security officer. He also called the code behind one widely reported denial-of-service attack attempt "rudimentary."
A House Homeland Security subcommittee approved by unchallenged voice vote a critical infrastructure cybersecurity bill, adding in the process several amendments – one of which could generate opposition to an otherwise bipartisan bill.
"OMB staff said that they were unaware of the rationale for the 1-hour time frame, other than a general concern that agencies report PII incidents promptly," says the recently released report, dated Dec. 9. After just an hour, agencies often have little to report to US-CERT, the cyber incident response unit at DHS, but must do so under Office of Management and Budget guidance.
Some major Internet companies say the proposed privacy approach of the cybersecurity framework under development by the National Institute of Standards and Technology would be potentially burdensome, something that could discourage organizations from adopting it.
The same weakness that exposed the personal data of tens of thousands of Energy Department employees in July persists in many of the department's desktop computers. DOE's office of inspector general scanned more than 2,300 desktop systems at 17 different locations, finding that 41 percent lacked security patches for known vulnerabilities.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should launch a project to address the removal of Social Security numbers from Medicare beneficiaries' cards as a core component of its information technology modernization efforts, says the Government Accountability Office.
Many agencies are using social media like Twitter and Facebook, and should be aware of the privacy implications of posting photos and collecting comments, writes Tim Lowden, a digital communications specialist in the General Services Administration's Center for Excellence in Digital Government. Some of that content contains personally identifiable information.
Beyond simply broadcasting information or promoting their mission, agencies can use social media for situational awareness and for mission operations, but there are privacy issues agencies must consider, says the Federal Chief Information Officers Council.