Over the past year the Obama administration has been quite public about how it values enhancing federal privacy practices, and now it is "taking it a step further," said Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, in an Oct. 19 blog post on whitehouse.gov.

Following the establishment of a Federal Privacy Council, as well as updates to guidance on developing continuous monitoring strategies and designating accountability for agency privacy programs, OMB is establishing a new privacy office and senior career position within the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

The new professional team, working closely with OMB’s senior advisor for privacy, a political appointee, will strengthen existing best practices, while increasing the capacity to identify governmentwide privacy trends and issues, advance solutions across agencies, and oversee regulatory initiatives, policies, information collection and related resources impacting the protection of personal data.

"As more and more sensitive information is collected and shared in our digital economy, President Obama has made clear that the federal government needs to ensure that its privacy practices evolve to appropriately reflect the government's use of emerging technologies," Donovan said. "That's why we've been taking a hard look at the federal government's privacy practices and are leading a groundbreaking effort to enhance how federal agencies protect the privacy of individuals and their information.

"As I have said before, if we don't invest in privacy today, the issues will only be more challenging tomorrow. The steps we are taking today demonstrate the administration's commitment to striving for the highest standards of privacy and maintaining the trust of the American people. They also complement our work to keep the federal government at the leading edge of 21st century innovation."

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