critique the discussion

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Week #1 Discussion CSIA 360

1. What is privacy? Is it a right? An expectation? Discuss differing definitions, e.g. “the average person” definition vs. a legal definition, and how these differences impact risk assessments for privacy protections (or the lack thereof).

Privacy is a fundamental right, essential to autonomy and the protection of human dignity, serving as the foundation upon which many other human rights are built. Privacy enables us to create barriers and manage boundaries to protect ourselves from unwarranted interference in our lives, which allows us to negotiate who we are and how we want to interact with the world around us. Privacy helps us establish boundaries to limit who has access to our bodies, places, and things, as well as our communications and our information (McFarland, 2012). Privacy is a way that we can protect ourselves from the abuse of power by what is known about us, and it is essential to the decisions that we make on an everyday basis. Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in many other international and regional treaties (2015). The 4th Amendment alludes to the fact that privacy is a right. The 4th Amendment states that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause”. The reasonable expectation of privacy is an element of privacy law that determines in which places and in which activities a person has a legal right to privacy. The expectation of privacy must also be reasonable. The expectation of privacy changes from the “Being left alone”, to something different when it is executed on behalf of someone who is a representative of the state and or local government agencies. The expectation of privacy changes when dealing with warrants, and searches. One of the clearest places where you can expect privacy is in your home.

  1. What are some important best practices for protecting privacy for information collected, stored, used, and transferred by the US federal government? Identify and discuss three or more best practice recommendations for reducing risk by improving or ensuring the privacy of information processed by or stored in an organization’s IT systems and databases.

According to (U.S. Department of Interior, 2014, para 4, p.2) recommendations for ensuring the privacy of information processed by or stored in an organization’s IT systems and databases follows: “(1) PIAs should be updated when changes are made to the systems that may raise new privacy risks. (2) When there is a change in information handling practices or information collection. (3) At a minimum PIAs should be updated at a minimum at least every three years”. Some of the best practices that can be used are: (1) Secure your records with limited system access. All systems should require a login with at least two unique pieces of information and provide access only to required individuals to guarantee data integrity. (2) Maintain backup and recovery procedures. A backup and recovery strategy are necessary in the unexpected event of data loss and application errors. This procedure ensures the reconstruction of data is achieved through media recovery, the restoration of both physical and logical data and creates a safeguard to protect the integrity of your database files. (3) Validate your computer systems. Software Validation provides documented evidence to deliver assurance that a specific process consistently produces a product that meets its pre-determined specifications and quality attributes. To ensure your system can be validated, it is key to work with vendors that provide validation.

  1. Explain why federal government agencies and departments required to complete PIA’s. Must a PIA be completed for every federal IT system? Why or why not?

PIA must be completed for every federal IT system Agencies while developing new technologies that collect PII, updating new systems that might results in new privacy risks and while issuing new or updated decision making that involves the collection of PII (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2017). Federal government and departments required to complete PIA’s to ensure that the information collected is used only for the intended purpose and the information is timely and accurate (U.S. General Service Administration, 2017). A PIA does not need to be completed if the following are parameters: a government-run website or IT system that doesn’t collect or maintain identifiable information, for national security reasons and when all PIA elements have been discussed in a matching or comparison agreement directed by the provisions of the Privacy Act (Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Guide, 2007).

  1. Name and briefly describe 3 benefits to citizens which result from the use of PIA’s. (Considering citizen’s needs for privacy and the protection of the privacy of individuals whose information is collected, processed, transmitted, and stored in federal government IT systems and databases.)

A PIA is a document that can help to build confidence between the public citizen and a government agency by ensuring that transparency of the Department’s systems. It can also help the citizen to comprehend what information the government is collecting, why the information is being collected, how the information can be accessed, how the information will be used and most importantly how the information will be stored. Three benefits of a PIA to citizens is as follows: A PIA helps reduce costs in management time, legal expenses, and potential media or public concern by considering privacy issues early. It helps an organization to avoid costly or embarrassing privacy mistakes. It provides a way to detect potential privacy problems, take precautions, and build tailored safeguards before, not after, the organization makes heavy investments (Wright, 2013).


Mc Farland, M. (2012, June 1). What Is Privacy? Retrieved January 15, 2019, from

Privacy & human rights-an international survey of privacy … (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2019, from

Privacy Impact Assessment (2007). Retrieved 15 January 2019, from

Sharp, T. (2013, June 12). Right to Privacy: Constitutional Rights & Privacy Laws. Retrieved January 15, 2019, from

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2017). Retrieved 15 January 2019, from

U.S. Department of Interior. (2014, September 30). Privacy Impact Assessment Guide (para 4, p.2). Retrieved from

U.S. General Service Administration (2017). Retrieved 15 January 2019, from

Wright, D. (2013). Making Privacy Impact Assessment More Effective. Retrieved from

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