Sean D. Carberry reports:
The Department of Commerce has long granted confidentiality to people who submit sensitive survey data about international investments or foreign transactions. But Commerce is now revising its confidentiality agreements because of Einstein.
Einstein, the Department of Homeland Security’s comprehensive system of preventing and mitigating cyber threats to federal civilian networks, scans electronic traffic in and out of agencies like the Commerce Department. As a result, it could capture a survey email sent to Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis if that email contains malware or other threat indicators.
“Because it is possible that such packets entering or leaving BEA’s information system may contain a small portion of confidential statistical data, it can no longer promise its respondents that their responses will be seen only by BEA personnel or its sworn agents,” states the Federal Register announcement that Commerce is revising its confidentiality language.
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