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DHS Public Workshop to Explore Privacy and Security

New York, Aug 16, 2005

The Privacy Office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ( will hold a public workshop on "Privacy and Technology: Government Use of Commercial Data for Homeland Security" to explore the policy, legal, and technology issues associated with the government’s use of personally identifiable commercial data in protecting the homeland from potential terrorist activities. The workshop will take place September 8-9, 2005, in Washington, DC.

The mission of the DHS Privacy Office is to “minimize the impact on the individual’s privacy, particularly the individual’s personal information and dignity, while achieving the mission of the Department of Homeland Security.” The Privacy and Technology workshop is one of a series of DHS offerings that bring together a broad range of experts and perspectives, including representatives from academia, business leaders, privacy advocates, legal experts, technologists, and policy leaders.

Workshop panels will cover how government agencies are using commercial data to aid in homeland security and the privacy and legal issues the raise. Current and developing technologies that aid government in its data analysis will also be addressed, along with the building of privacy protections into the government’s use of commercial data.

The international standardization community has recognized that technological advances have important ramifications for the protection of personal information contained in government records and systems. To this end, the theme of the May meeting of the Consumer Policy Committee (COPOLCO) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) addressed safety and security and the role of standards.

A special workshop during this meeting included presentations relating to the security and privacy aspects of international information technology standardization on biometrics, smart cards and personal identity verification. A breakout group also explored balancing public security needs and personal interests and rights such as privacy. (The workshop proceedings and the final report of the ISO Advisory Group on Security can be downloaded from ISO’s website by clicking here.)

COPOLCO recommended that it be represented on the permanent ISO Advisory Group on Security and that consumers be represented in relevant technical work on security. (Nominations for this group currently are being accepted from ISO members through the end of August.)

For attendance information on the DHS workshop, click here to download the invitation flyer.

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