The data collected, saved, utilized, and disseminated from the public is an essential part of government’s backbone. But at the same time, the government must be good stewards of the data. It’s their job to secure constituents’ data. But with great data collection comes even greater responsibility. In the 21st century, American citizens are demanding security around their data, but with a side of transparency. It’s a lot for government to manage, but essential.
“Consumer data protection should be at the heart government; the crown jewels of government are citizens’ data,” Tom Greiner, Director of Technology at Accenture Federal Services (AFS), stated.
Greiner sat down with Christopher Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER to discuss AFS’ recent cyber survey findings and what it tells us government needs to be focusing on when dealing with the cyber world.
“People are losing data and sometimes that loss is resulting in financial implications for them or security implications for the nation,” Greiner said. “Cybersecurity should be top of mind for everyone.” However, aside from the discussions around the security of citizens’ data, there are other factors government needs to consider when dealing with 21st technology.
Discussions around what the role of government needs to be in the realm of cyber is necessary. “Cybersecurity matters as far as how and where we prioritize our government spending, what are the things we need to spend money on, how do we secure, how do we prioritize what to secure first; all that factors into it now,” Greiner commented. Nonetheless, government needs to also adhere to the desires of its constituents.
AFS’ survey helped highlight some of these desires. According to the survey, there is “a greater desire for transparency of what the government is doing with our data and both what its intended use and right to be shared is” Greiner said. He went on to discuss that the commercial space is already working on transparency in their capacities. They are working on creating “an acceptance of terms of why we’re gathering your data, with whom we might share it, and the possibility to opt out of sharing if you want” Greiner said.
So the real question is: why isn’t government working on this as well?
“I think these findings are a little call to action that in the government space it’s important to offer these same sorts of transparency around data privacy and expectations of what will be done with the data,” Greiner stated. “It’s a message to the government to be sensitive to the necessary balance of both a secure interaction with the citizen and also a convenient one. Government, recognizing they have limited dollars to spend on security, need to prioritize the crown jewels and they need to be very thoughtful about what those various concentric circles of security are: think through the risks, what data am I sitting on, and how might it be used if it got into the open.”
Knowing constituents’ desires around cyber is an important first step. Now, government needs to figure out how it will move forward in the cyber world while maintaining security and transparency-at the same