2006/04/10

Data Protection - US Government Gets A Bad Report Card

Recently Blognonymous covered the IRS's attempt to support the sale of its most sensitive data, your tax return, but now we find that it almost doesn't matter. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) reports that government departments in general, and the IRS in particular, protect sensitive data so poorly that confidentiality breaches are commonplace and almost comical in their lack of sophistication.

The 2005 Federal Computer Security Report Card, an annual assessment by the House's Government Reform Committee of adherence to federally mandated security standards, shows declines for almost every surveyed department. Only the Commerce Department improved from its previous rating of "D":
Commerce DepartmentD+
Justice DepartmentD
Nuclear Regulatory CommissionD-
Treasury DepartmentD-
Defense DepartmentF
Deptartment of Homeland SecurityF
Notice how the grade goes down as the sensitivity of the information managed increases. In fact the situation is so bad that, in one particularly egregious incident, a consultant spent months collecting information about taypayer political affiliations due largely to lack of IRS oversight.

Maybe the US government needs a crash course in how to protect personal information. Because if it had been your kid with a report card like this, she/he wouldn't just have to repeat second grade, she'd be punished with having to repeat 1st grade as well.

7 Comments:

So explain to me again how this administration has made us safer? Seems our worst enemy might be closer to us than we think.
I'm fairly sure a "crash course" is precisely what they don't need! I mean they're pretty damn good at it already! :>)
POP,

Yes. They are inside working their way out!
PoP frankly when it comes to abusing my say tax information, I'm far more worried about an outsider than a government insider.

The executive has already tossed out most of the rules for safe guarding information internally. Departments share information more or less freely, sometimes with the support of the Patriot Act. But sharing, or improperly disclosing to outside entities, now that's a problem. Look at this case of a consultant who was collating tax data with party affiliation. You can bet the that he/she's a Democrat or Republican flak with mischief on his/her mind.
I don't see the problem. Obviously commerce and making money should be the highest priority... that's what our country was fonded on: profit, profit, profit.
Hey now, how do you catch all the pedophiles int the Department of Homeland Security...if the security is to high?
No wonder I don't feel safe...it's becuase of nine eleven, isn't it?

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