Markle: Authorized use standard needed for information

Standard would determine who should have access to information the government has lawfully collected based on the use to which they will put the information rather than its place of collection.

The tricky balancing act between security and civil liberties has so far been heavily weighted towards security. But with revelations about how far NSA and other agencies are taking information sharing, public opinion may be shifting back. In that context the Markle Foundation today released a report (PDF) advocating an "authorized use" standard for government handling of legally collected information.

"We have consistently said that public trust in a network that uses personally-identifiable information can only be achieved if government-wide guidelines for information sharing and privacy protection are established after open public debate," said Zoe Baird, co-chair of the Task Force and President of the Markle Foundation.

According to a Foundation press release, the report makes a number of recommendations.

  • An "authorized use" standard to determine who should have access to information the government has lawfully collected based on the use to which they will put the information rather than its place of collection.
  • A "risk management" approach to classification that better balances the risks of inappropriate disclosure with the risks of failing to share information.
  • Clear guidelines for sharing information while protecting civil liberties.
  • Technology that facilitates sharing while protecting security and privacy.
  • An effective dispute resolution process.
  • A new Information Sharing Institute that could make operational and professional expertise available beyond that of individuals working in any particular government agency, department, or contractor.

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