Jul 102009
 July 10, 2009  Posted by  Govt, U.S., Workplace

From FCW:

Privacy advocates are puzzled and dismayed by the Homeland Security Department’s recent addition of new categories of personal information it plans to collect and store for all employees, contractors and volunteers who regularly access DHS facilities. The new categories of information include mother’s maiden name and financial history, according to a June 25 Federal Register notice.


Asking for financial history information, for example, “could be benign, depending on what information is being requested. Or is bad credit now a security risk?” asked Christopher Calabrese, counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Technology and Liberty Program. “And why does DHS need to know [someone’s] mother’s maiden name? It seems strange.”

Amy Kudwa, a DHS spokeswoman, said the “financial history” data element refers to a credit history check, which she says is standard for government employees. “We are simply moving forward with HSPD-12,” Kudwa said.

Jim Dempsey, vice president of public policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, agreed that requesting and storing data on mother’s maiden name and financial history is risky and unusual. That kind of information would seem more appropriate for a background check or security clearance than a building access identification program, he said.

“This information collection is odd, particularly financial history,” Dempsey said. “A general principle is that the [agency] collecting the information becomes responsible for protecting it. This is sensitive information, and it looks unnecessary. They have not justified why they need this information.”

Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, said the expanded data collection seems to increase the risks of possible identity theft and privacy loss for employees and contractors.

Read more on FCW.

  One Response to “New DHS requirements raise eyebrows”

  1. Terry Sweet from IntegraScan says – Checking ones credit is standard in any background check. Financial stability is a main concern among many employers. Also if DHS is allowing access to personal files of others, they need to know if a person would easily be lured to share the private information with other for profit. Criminal Background checks and background checks in general are needed when any person has access to private information not only in the GOV agencies but in the private sector as well

    T. Sweet

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