inside the man

Monday, April 10, 2006

US government agencies breach privacy legislation

The Washington Post and SANS NewsBites report that a number of US government agencies are violating privacy legislation in the US$30 million business of buying data on law abiding citizens from data brokers.

"The Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security and two other agencies examined by the GAO spent about $30 million last year on companies that maintain billions of electronic files about adults' current and past addresses, family members and associates, buying habits, personal finances, listed and unlisted phone numbers, and much more. But those agencies often do not limit the collection and use of information about law-abiding citizens, as required by the Privacy Act of 1974 and other laws."

This news comes hot on the heals of US Senator Patrick Leahy questioning the FBI's US$12 million five-year deal with ChoicePoint in the wake of ChoicePoint and LexisNexis selling files on nearly 200,000 individuals to "fraud artists" last year.

I knew that there was a large market for the services of data brokers, but it had not occurred to me that the US government was a significant client. Interested readers may want to look back to my post on data brokers and the privacy of Canadian citizens.


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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Returned to working as a Management Consultant, specializing in risk, security, and regulatory compliance, with Fujitsu Canada after running the IT shop in the largest library in the South Pacific.

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