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When it comes to government data gathering, public trust is hard to come by

PHILADELPHIA — In the age of information sharing, the federal government has a small problem: people distrust it.

Numerous statutes limit what information agencies can ask for, and federal laws make them justify why they should use that information beyond the original purpose for gathering it, according to Michael Carleton, chief information officer at the Health and Human Services Department. Carleton was speaking on a panel at the Management of Change conference, which is hosted by the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council.

Government officials aren’t licensed to gather data on subjects that might interest them, and the public doesn’t trust those who gather the information to use it as intended, Carleton said.

He cited the information gathering limits imposed by the Paper Reduction Act, the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act, and the Federal Records Act as reflective of the distrust the public has about why the government wants this information and how it will use it.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on May 24, 2010 at 7:20 PM


Reader Comments

Thu, May 27, 2010 Beel VA

This *sounded* like the writer was surprised that we distrust our government... Is it not a lesson of history that we have to control government or it'll control us?
Just a thought...

Thu, May 27, 2010

Two words explain it all: "Big Brother." Most people want to run their own life without "Big Brother" (or as some would say, Big Government) telling them the what, when, why, where, and how of everything they do. The government wants more information in its quest to run more and more of our lives. If the government would minimize its role in trying to run society it would not be interested in in much of that information. It is that simple.

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