OMB will set up Federal Privacy Council

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The Office of Management and Budget is setting up a Federal Privacy Council, bringing together departmental privacy officers from across the federal government to share best practices, swap ideas and craft better policies, OMB Director Shaun Donovan said Wednesday.

In remarks at the Federal Privacy Summit, Donovan said the council will be modeled after the Federal CIO Council, serving as an “ecosystem for strategic thinking on privacy implementation.”

“It is time to stop re-inventing the privacy wheel at agencies and do a better job of leveraging the success of each agency’s related efforts,” Donovan said. “It is time to shift from reactive programs to proactive strategies and it is time to professionalize the privacy profession.”

Donovan stressed the importance of crafting modern privacy policies as the government moves to harness emerging technologies, which often rely on the collection of the public’s personally identifiable information. He called on agencies to better consider privacy when it comes to PII and provide support when breaches do occur.

“As technology and threats evolve, so must our policies,” Donovan said. “In order to meet today’s complex challenges, we must continue to double down on this Administration’s broad strategy to enhance privacy practices and fundamentally overhaul information security practices, policies, and governance.”

The council will be up and running in early 2016, Donovan said, led by OMB Chief Privacy Officer Marc Groman.

The director, an administration veteran who came to OMB last May from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, also appealed for federal privacy policies to be backed up with cash, so they could keep up with the exponential changes in technology and the expanding quantities of data the U.S. government is collecting.

“As government continues to innovate for the 21st century, we must also continue to invest in the resources and capabilities to protect the information entrusted to us and carry out government’s mission,” Donovan said.

“Although it may not always be apparent or easy to articulate, it is clear that there is a significant ROI for privacy programs in the federal government,” he said. “If we do this right, our efforts will pay off down the road.”

In addition to announcing the new council, Donovan reiterated that OMB is working on revising a number of IT memorandums, including OMB Circulars A-108 and A-130, along with Memorandum M-07-16.

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Agencies, Marc Groman, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), privacy, Shaun Donovan
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