Homeland Security Faces Privacy, Tech Hurdles
Department's construction hampered by lack of interoperability among agencies' systems and task of deciding how to consolidate, handle and secure sensitive data.NEW YORKThe federal governments effort to integrate 22 different organizations into the new Department of Homeland Security faces major technological, privacy and security hurdles, a Bush administration official said Wednesday. The construction of the new department is being slowed by a lack of interoperability among agencies systems and the complex task of deciding how the department will consolidate, handle and secure sensitive data, said Robert Shepherd, the Office of Homeland Securitys director of information integration, who gave the keynote speech at the Infosecurity show here. "We need to be very careful on how we define appropriate information and appropriate people," Shepherd said. "The privacy implications [of the integration] are enormous. We dont want to become a case study in business schools on how not to do this."
Private citizens and corporations are justified in wondering whether all of the sensitive data theyve shared with one agency will suddenly become available to other groups within Homeland Security, Shepherd said. But, officials have made the protection of such data a major priority during the integration effort.