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Governments store and gather a *lot* of private information about everyday citizens, in order to provide you with services such as health, transportation, safety, education, taxation, and much more. How much of this will be handed over to private IT companies such as Google in the rush to the "cloud"? What will happen to it from there? Absent regulation and routine inspections, it's hard to tell.
Here are examples of the private information that state and local governments collect:
Motor Vehicle Services:
|"We conduct routine inspections of restaurant kitchens for public safety, and the public is entitled to see inspection certificates. Shouldn't management of our public data be held to the same standards?"|
Government Employee records
- Driver personal info:
- Eye correction
- Social Security Number
- Payment information
- Violations (see p.3 for a list of info typically included in citations)
- Locations, dates, times
- Description and details
- Images (photographs, videos)
- Red-light camera images
- License-plate tracking
- Social Security numbers
- Employee reviews
- Health insurance information
We conduct routine inspections of restaurant kitchens for public safety, and the public is entitled to see inspection certificates. Shouldn't management of our public data be held to the same standards?
The public deserves to have input regarding what data is put into the hands of companies which are not controlled by the public. We deserve regulations which protect our private information from abuse, and which specify what types of information can or cannot be hosted by foreign companies and private companies.
Most importantly, we deserve assurance. Our government must routinely verify through inspection and public reports that confidential information is not being misused by private companies, and that only appropriate types of information are being shipped off-site. If private companies are to hold public information, the public deserves independent verification and reassurance that our data is well-managed.
For information about the specific data used by your state, check out your state's web site and look at the services it offers. (Here's a nice example from the State of New Mexico.) Then think about all the private information that your government needs to collect and process in order to support those services. You might be surprised.
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