NIST Wants Public Input on Protecting Personal Privacy

sarayut_sy/shutterstock

The latest version of its privacy framework is meant to help organizations address the risks of holding sensitive data on their customers.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is looking for feedback on the latest version of a privacy framework meant to help both government and industry manage the risks of holding customers’ personal data.

The draft framework, which NIST released on Friday, offers organizations a roadmap for both preventing the data they gather from falling into the wrong hands and ensuring customers don’t experience any negative consequences from that collection. NIST left the framework intentionally open-ended, officials said, allowing organizations across sectors to adapt it to meet their specific needs. 

“Deriving benefits from data while simultaneously managing risks to individuals’ privacy is not well-suited to one-size-fits-all solutions,” NIST officials wrote in the draft. “The Privacy Framework … is flexible enough to address diverse privacy needs, enable more innovative and effective solutions that can lead to better outcomes for individuals and enterprises, and stay current with technology trends.”

The ultimate goal is to standardize the language around privacy and let leaders in government and industry clearly communicate potential risks and solutions, officials said. The updated framework is based on feedback from numerous government and industry stakeholders, they said.

The public can submit their input on the latest version through Oct. 24.

In the document, NIST recommended organizations divide their approach to privacy into three parts: defining a core set of privacy-related policies and activities, outlining how current privacy practices relate to desired outcomes, and implementing new practices to close any gaps in the group’s risk management strategy. The structure closely mirrors NIST’s popular cybersecurity framework, which numerous organizations use today to secure their digital ecosystems.

In the draft, officials highlighted the overlap between cybersecurity and privacy risks, but also noted their differences. Weak cybersecurity can threaten privacy—poorly defended systems might leave personal data vulnerable to breaches—but even the most secure organizations can still infringe on their customers’ privacy simply by processing their data, NIST said.

Companies frequently collect enough data on individuals to build an intimate picture of their lives, and that could lead to negative outcomes regardless of how well the information is defended, according to NIST Senior Privacy Advisor Naomi Lefkovitz.

“Having more security is not going to change that feeling that you’re being surveilled,” she said in a conversation with Nextgov. “[Privacy] is more personal. That intersection between technology and autonomy and human dignity, that’s where this privacy framework sits.”

However, others don’t think NIST needed to create a standalone privacy framework to address those issues. 

Rick Tracy, the chief security officer at the Telos Corporation, said the agency could’ve helped organizations manage data collection risks by updating its existing cybersecurity framework with privacy-related guidance. While Tracy acknowledged that privacy issues require their own unique set of policies and practices, “they’re not so unique that you can’t address them with an existing framework,” he told Nextgov.

“In this world of managing risk and compliance, there’s this fear of too many standards and the inefficiency [that] causes,” he said. “It’s hard enough to communicate risk up the food chain within an organization. Now I’ve got … this other framework that just adds another level of complexity.”

But despite the intersection between privacy and cybersecurity issues, Lefkovitz said it’s critical companies don’t lump them together in the same bucket. 

“Yes, there is an overlap between the disciplines, but they are also independent, separate disciplines with different outcomes and different types of risks to manage,” she said. “I don’t think it would work to merely consider privacy as an adjunct to cybersecurity.”

Still, she added, NIST is thinking about ways to make its various frameworks easier for organizations to follow.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.