US CIO Speaks Out About Data Security

Vivek Kundra, the current US government CIO and a major player in the US’s open data initiatives, recently shared his concerns regarding data security. The article states, “In a wide ranging discussion Friday with President Barack Obama's top science advisers, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra warned of the dangers of open data access and complained of "an IT cartel" of vendors. He also believes the US can operate with just a few data centres. Kundra, who is leaving his job in mid-August, offered a kaleidoscopic view of his concerns about federal IT in an appearance before President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.”

“In particular,” the article adds, “Kundra is worried about the ‘mosaic effect,’ the unintended consequence of government data sharing, where data sets are combined and layered in ways that can strip away privacy and pose security threats. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, where a lot of personal data is already available, government data that may have been ‘innocuous in the past’ can be used to ‘identify people that may not want to be identified,’ Kundra said.”

It continues, “At this meeting, he was sharply critical of government IT contracting and told the committee ‘that we almost have an IT cartel within federal IT’ that's made up of ‘very few companies’ that benefit from government spending ‘because they understand the procurement process better than anyone else.’ Vendors are not winning contracts because they offer the best technology, Kundra claimed. As federal CIO, Kundra has been an advocate for data sharing, a critic of big government vendor contracts and a believer in new technologies, particularly the cloud. He is leaving his job to take a fellowship at Harvard.”

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Image: Courtesy ComputerWorldUK