OMB urges agencies to find data sharing solutions that protect privacy

////OMB urges agencies to find data sharing solutions that protect privacy

OMB urges agencies to find data sharing solutions that protect privacy

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told agencies to coordinate their efforts to share high-value data, but to do so in ways that fully protect individual privacy.  In a joint memo to agency heads, OMB’s Deputy Director for Management Jeffrey Zeints and Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass Sunstein encouraged agencies to find new approaches for identifying and sharing accurate and reliable high-value data in a responsible and appropriate manner.  The memo describes the benefits of greater data sharing as:  1) timely and improved access to reliable and high-quality data by decisionmakers; 2) increased transparency, better service, and reduced risk of waste, fraud, and abuse; 3) more informed research on public policy; and 4) improved government efficiency and reduced paperwork.  The “Do Not Pay List” and the Partnership for 'Program Integrity Innovation” were cited as examples of where data sharing can play an important role.  However, the memo cautions that “participants must comply with applicable privacy laws, regulations, and policies” when carrying out data sharing activities.  Agencies are urged to consult OMB guidance to ensure that they operating appropriately.  Agencies are also reminded that data sharing activities cannot “threaten national security, breach confidentiality, or damage other genuinely compelling interests.”  OMB may require agencies to perform evaluations or submit written reports on authorized data sharing options.

About the Author: