Privacy Impact Assessment Guide and Template Now Available

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SEARCH is pleased to announce the publication of Guide to Conducting Privacy Impact Assessments for State, Local, and Tribal Information Sharing Initiatives.

The Guide includes resources and tools to help justice, public safety and related entities design and implement policies to protect the privacy of the information they collect in their systems and information sharing collaborations. They do this by undertaking a privacy impact assessment (PIA), which helps identify privacy vulnerabilities when personally identifiable information (PII) is collected, used, retained and shared by state, local and tribal agencies.

The Guide and a companion PIA template were prepared under the leadership, guidance and funding of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), in collaboration with DOJ's Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Global serves as a Federal Advisory Committee, advising the Attorney General on justice information sharing and integration initiatives.

The PIA Guide effort received valuable assistance from SEARCH Member Diane Sherman, Michigan State Police, which helped field test an early version of the PIA. In addition, the SEARCH Membership provided review and input in early 2008. Also providing valuable insight were the Global Privacy and Information Quality Working Group, the DOJ Privacy Office, and the DHS Privacy Office and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Office.

"The PIA template presents a series of questions that evaluate the processes through which PII is collected, stored, protected, shared, and managed by an electronic information system or online collection application," noted Mr. Owen Greenspan, SEARCH's Director of Law and Policy. "By analyzing their risks related to ensuring the privacy of the data they collect, jurisdictions undertake the crucial first step in successful privacy policy development."

The Guide is available on the Global website at globalJustice&page=1238, and is also available on SEARCH's website at Accompanying the Guide on SEARCH's website is a PIA Template in Microsoft Word, which jurisdictions can use to complete their own assessments.

The SEARCH project directors overseeing the Guide's preparation were Ms. Kelly Peters Harbitter, Deputy Executive Director; and Mr. Greenspan. Ms. Peters Harbitter and Mr. Eric C. Johnson, Justice Information Services Specialist, prepared the Guide, and Consultant Laurie Beyer-Kropuenske contributed to it.

For questions on the PIA Guide and Template, email