Privacy Advisor

DHS Needs Your Help; Application Deadline Monday

October 30, 2013

By Sam Pfeifle
Publications Director

When we reported the appointment of IAPP member Karen Neuman as the new CPO at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we noted she’d get help from the Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee.

Well, that could be you.

DHS posted in the Federal Register on Monday that it is on the hunt for committee members and that interested parties should submit their applications—basically, a cover letter and a resume—by Monday, November 4.

Why the short notice?

“We usually get pretty good responses to our announcement of openings,” said Shannon Ballard, director, International Privacy Programs, in the DHS Privacy Office, “but because the opening came up during the two-and-a-half-week furlough, our response rate was pretty low, so we put out a one-week extension to get some more applications in.”

The committee, chaired by Hunton & Williams Partner Lisa Sotto, CIPP/US, CIPM, has 25 members, with each member serving a three-year term. It is tasked with making recommendations to the Privacy Office on a wide range of policy, operational, administrative and tech issues that may confront the department.

There are requirements, as well, that the committee be diverse.

“We’re required,” said Ballard, “to find a balance of expertise. It can come from the private sector, educators, advocacy … And we can’t have all huge company CPOs. We want some from smaller businesses, nonprofits. They just have to let me know what their expertise is and where they fall in our balance plan.”

How much work are we talking about here, though?

“We’re required to meet once a year,” said Ballard, “and in the two years I’ve been doing it, we’ve met twice a year. Once appointed, members are assigned to one of three subcommittees—policy, technology or cybersecurity—and the subcommittees will do conference calls, too. We don’t have the funding anymore to fly people to Washington, so it’s usually calls and virtual meetings.

“So, the burden on the members hasn’t been too onerous,” she said, “and now that we finally have a chief privacy officer, I know she’ll be interested in getting the membership back together and assigning them tasks.”

Just this September, for example, the committee issued a 19-page recommendation, which is public, on the use of “live data in research, testing or training, and for specific privacy protections DHS can consider when that live data includes personally identifiable information.” Other reports have covered cybersecurity pilots, the use of biometrics and general information-sharing between departments.

Interested? Find the application details here.

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