June 22, 2024


Epicurean Science & Tech

DHS privacy main aims to promote ‘privacy enhancing technologies’

4 min read

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The Division of Homeland Security’s chief privacy officer wishes to make privacy considerably less of an afterthought by designing programs with technologies to shield the confidentiality and integrity of information in the 1st area.

Lynn Parker Dupree explained DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas “has been pretty clear about the importance of addressing privacy up front, and has been very deliberate on including the privacy business early and usually in policy discussions.”

The privateness business office has been at the center of discussions around how to secure the wellbeing of the DHS workforce throughout COVID-19, initiatives to fight domestic violent extremism and the use of emerging technologies like biometrics, Dupree explained.

Dupree was appointed DHS main privateness officer in March 2021 immediately after a temporary stint as director of governance and controls in the Knowledge Ethics and Privateness Business office at Funds One particular. Between 2014 and 2020, she held quite a few positions at the Privateness and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which includes as its Executive Director. She formerly labored at the DHS privacy office through the Obama administration.

“One of the points I would like to do is really start to contain privateness in specialized types,” Dupree claimed in an interview. “A ton of our privacy mitigations transpire right after a technologies is formulated. But I have been genuinely functioning with academia and technologists to determine out how we can develop applications that really enrich privacy.”

The privateness business will host a workshop this June to existing privacy researchers with specific DHS use instances “that could be solved with privateness enhancing approaches,” according to Dupree. She especially described cryptographic methods and other “secure computing methodologies” as prospective enhancements.

The DHS privacy office environment and privacy officers at DHS subcomponents evaluation contracts for privateness needs. She said her workforce is working with the DHS chief information and facts officer, the agency’s science and know-how arm, and the procurement directorate on incorporating new privateness enhancements.

She acknowledged the “unique” considerations around the use of biometrics, particularly checks that have shown facial recognition is a lot less correct at pinpointing persons of coloration. The business office publishes Privacy Impact Assessments to offer notice of how DHS is figuring out and mitigating privateness challenges.

“We will make sure that there are mechanisms in place to mitigate all those hazards,” Dupree said relating to potential inaccuracies and biases in biometrics systems.

But lawmakers continue to be worried about agencies’ use of facial recognition. In a Feb. 10 letter to Mayorkas, 5 Democrats from the House and Senate asked for that DHS parts conclude their use of facial recognition solutions, which includes people supply by Clearview AI.

“Use of significantly potent systems like Clearview AI’s have the concerning prospective to violate Americans’ privacy rights and exacerbate present injustices,” the letter states.

The Top secret Assistance, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Defense have made use of Clearview AI’s products and solutions, according to an August 2021 Govt Accountability Workplace report.

“I think the department is always striving to be responsive to the desires of the Congress and the office will reply back again by our Business office of Legislative Affairs,” Dupree explained when requested about the letter.

Dupree also said she’s centered on bettering DHS’s engagement with external privateness stakeholders, together with advocates in academia and civil modern society. Last year, she arranged a meeting between Mayorkas and privacy advocates.

“While the advocacy community and the department may perhaps not often be aligned, these engagements definitely do bring a diversity of views into the discussion that finally serve to strengthen our final decision making procedures,” she stated.

Dupree claimed she’s also hunting to “reinvigorate” the DHS Info Privateness and Integrity Advisory Committee, which advises the company on privacy and technological innovation.

The committee is set to fulfill on Tuesday, Feb. 22, where it will provide “written steerage on ideal tactics to make sure the productive implementation of privacy requirements for data sharing throughout the DHS enterprise,” according to a Federal Register detect. 

FOIA development

DHS also created a big dent in its Liberty of Info Act requests backlog final calendar year. Dupree reported the company ended fiscal yr 2021 with a backlog of 25,102 requests, a 10-year reduced for an agency that gets the most FOIA requests across federal government.

“We’re utilizing some automation to support process routine requests so that we can emphasis our real manpower on the sophisticated requests,” claimed Dupree, who is also DHS’s Main FOIA Officer.

DHS gained an average of about 250,000 requests annually due to the fact 2009, in accordance to a DHS FOIA Backlog reduction plan produced in March 2020.

The the vast majority of the backlog has been linked to immigration data, with requests to CBP, ICE, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Office of Biometric Id Management accounting for 92 % of the backlog in FY-18, according to the reduction strategy.

For the duration of the pandemic, Dupree said her business has offered assistance to components like CBP, ICE and USCIS to assistance them approach FOIA requests.

“We just tried using to maximize efficiency as much as feasible, and that shifting of means genuinely compensated off,” Dupree stated.

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