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Have No Fear, Federal Government Issues Data Leak Prevention Guidelines

from the see,-it-looks-like-we're-doing-something dept

Following a spate of data leaks and breaches at federal agencies, the Office of Management and Budget has now issued a set of guidelines for agencies to reduce the chances of data losses, while giving them 120 days to come up with breach-notification policies. The guidelines sound useful, particularly the advice that agencies should reduce the amount of information they collect and store to a minimum. However, it's hardly surprising to see that overall, the document is pretty toothless. What happens if agencies don't meet the 120-day deadline? Nothing, apparently, but maybe they'll be sent another memo. Furthermore, the "Rules and Consequences Policy" doesn't actually spell out any consequences should an agency lose data, rather it just says agency heads need to come up with a policy outlining behavior standards and the repercussions of breaking them. It's this sort of hands-off attitude that's the real problem here: nobody is ever forced to accept any sort of personal responsibility for these breaches, so there's little motivation -- beyond acting out of selflessness -- for government employees or businesses to take the situation seriously. Memos directing people to take some action, with no real followthrough, isn't the same thing as actually taking action. Until that happens, expect the data leaks to continue at the federal government, and elsewhere.

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  1. identicon
    discojohnson, 24 May 2007 @ 12:15pm

    you want to stop it real quick?

    $1000 fine per suspected identity charged directly to the company and if not paid within 90 days then they freeze the companies assets and take it out of hide. oh, and $1000 to the person affected. doesn't sound like much, but when most of these are like 40k lost at a swat that's 80mil. do that once or twice and the bottom line is hit pretty hard. oh, and they'll drop the CIO into a vat of boiling oil..sponsored by crisco no less.

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