Background Investigations

How Much Data Should OPM Collect?

How much data is too much data? It depends on the government’s ability to protect it, argues one privacy advocacy organization. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) submitted comments to the Office of Personnel Management urging them to reconsider new policies to collect non-criminal court data or social media. It cited the OPM breach, a US Postal Service breach, and a GAO report citing the government’s ongoing issue with keeping data secure.

“Federal agencies are incapable of adequately protecting sensitive information from improper disclosure,” said the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), in comments filed with the OPM.

It begs a good question – as the government implements continuous evaluation and social media monitoring as a part of the security clearance process, do new questions need to be asked about data security? The government notes it has no plans to keep the data collected in social media monitoring. But as machines do more of the heavy lifting in the background investigation process, more oversight will be needed to ensure personal data stays personal – and any data included in a personnel file or background investigation is correct.

What do you think? Do you feel comfortable with OPM collecting more personal data despite recent breaches?