Group establishes new privacy credential

Government-related privacy officers soon may have their own badge. Government privacy employees, as well as the contractors and vendors that serve federal and state agencies, are invited to seek a new privacy credential under a program backed by major IT companies, including IBM Corp., Mitre Corp. and SRA International Inc.

The Certified Information Privacy Professional/Government (CIPP/G) credentialing program is the first publicly available privacy certification for government professionals, according to the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

The association launched the certification in July with a grant from IBM and with the support of privacy executives from the U.S. Postal Service, the Office of Management and Budget, the Veterans Affairs Department, the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Mitre and SRA.

IAPP began developing the credentialing standard in early 2004 with grants from Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp., and with assistance from the Ponemon Institute LLC private research group and from the CIO Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

"The CIPP/G program is instrumental in helping government employees understand the issues and obligations surrounding privacy and security today," Harriet Pearson, IBM's chief privacy officer, said in a news release. "The information and training found in the CIPP/G program are unparalleled in their breadth and depth."

Protecting privacy of government data is a goal that has received increasing scrutiny in recent years as agencies have pushed hard to implement homeland security, e-government, and health record standardization initiatives. While new technologies such as data mining and radio-frequency identification tags have allowed for greater security, they also have been criticized as intrusive and insufficiently protective of privacy.

The new credential is intended for professionals working in information management, public records or information security. Its curriculum includes an overview of relevant privacy laws, regulations and policies, including the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act and the eGovernment Act.

"There is a need going forward for agency employees at both [the] federal and state levels to be knowledgeable and confident in applying the relevant laws and best practices for balancing citizen privacy and civil liberties with the necessities of a modern-day connected world," Trevor Hughes, executive director of the IAPP, said in a news release.

The IAPP offers certification training and resources over the Internet, on CD-ROM and in on-site programs. It will sponsor a Webcast about the CIPP/G Sept. 1, an all-day training session on Sept. 7 and a certification exam on Sept. 9, both in Washington.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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