I am pleased to present the Privacy Office’s 2014 Annual Report to Congress, highlighting our achievements during the past year, from July 2013 to June 2014.
Earlier this year, the Privacy Office celebrated a decade of excellence marked by significant accomplishments, including:
- DHS’s Privacy Impact Assessment Official Guidance has become a model for other agencies and foreign countries.
- Publishing a directive on the Department’s operational use of social media, setting the standard for how other agencies embrace this technology.
At the beginning of its second decade, the Privacy Office spearheaded a briefing of the DHS Data Framework Project for the White House’s Big Data and Privacy Study, Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Value, and contributed significantly to a chapter on the DHS Data Framework, illustrating how federal agencies can use technology to protect privacy.
We know that technology and innovation will continue to drive the development of new processes, ideas, and programs that help keep our nation safe. DHS must continue to adapt and respond thoughtfully with new policies and protections, with greater speed and efficiency.
In order to stay ahead of these challenges, the Department, especially the Privacy Office, must remain focused on the following priorities:
- Renewing our emphasis on being responsible stewards for the personal data of citizens and non-citizens alike;
- Critically assessing new systems and programs while working collaboratively with the operators and system designers to develop robust privacy protections;
- Expanding our service as a consultative organization that identifies, explores, and develops best practices for privacy and transparency;
- Continuing to mature and strengthen the privacy enterprise by setting and raising the bar for transparency;
- Increasing our engagement with the privacy community; and
- Modernizing privacy protections in some of DHS’s legacy IT systems.
Our work is never done. We will continue to ensure that DHS remains committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals, and to providing the highest level of transparency and accountability.
It is my hope and expectation that in the course of decades to come, the Privacy Office and the Department as a whole will be even more widely celebrated in its efforts to preserve our values as well as we protect the homeland.