Firestorm of Privacy ActivityEx-Senate Counsel Tom Oscherwitz on Commerce, FTC Initiatives
Nearly daily revelations of breaches that expose personal identifiable information such as Social Security numbers coupled with events such as last month's WikiLeaks unauthorized release of sensitive government documents have created a nexus of privacy rights and IT security in which the government seeks new ways to protect individuals conducting their personal and business affairs online.
"We will not share information if they don't have confidence that their information will be protected from a confidential perspective but also from a security perspective," says Thomas Oscherwitz, chief privacy officer and vice president of governmental affairs at ID Analytics, a provider of identity risk management services.
"There's been a firestorm of activity in this area in the last year," Oscherwitz says in an interview with Information Security Media Group. "Literally, in my entire time working in the privacy field, I've never seen such profound and aggressive activity by the government in the privacy space."
Oscherwitz should know, having spent that past dozen years in Washington dealing with privacy and identity management issues, including 5Â½ years as counsel on the Senate Judiciary Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security Subcommittee. He recently served on a presidential task force on identity management and chairs the identity management committee at TechAmerica, an IT industry and lobbying group.
"There really is an acceleration of activity going on in terms of commercialization in our commercial, personal lives," he says. "In social networking, there's incredible amount of information; there's more activity in terms of online participation. What's clear is that if this Internet economy is going to work, we're going to have to get two things right. One is security, and the other is privacy."
Otherwise, Oscherwitz says, our economy is at risk.
In the interview, conducted by GovInfoSecurity.com's Eric Chabrow, Oscherwitz discusses:
- Differences between the FTC and Commerce Department's online privacy protection initiatives,
- National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, a federal initiative known as NSTIC to create an online identity ecosystem, and
- Why privacy has become a hot issue, now.