Privacy Policy Development and Implementation

A critical component of integrated justice information sharing systems and strategies is the development or expansion of policies that protect the privacy of the information maintained within those systems. Recent high-profile events involving the theft or inappropriate use or disclosure of private and confidential information have prompted many organizations, including justice agencies, to reexamine their privacy policies and to update them if necessary, or to create such policies if none exist.

The primary objective of a privacy policy is to demonstrate how an agency intends to abide by existing laws and public expectations for handling personally identifiable information, PII for short, which can be used to uniquely identify an individual. Privacy policies should address how a justice entity intends to deal with gaps or vulnerabilities in existing laws that govern PII management.

For years, SEARCH has assisted States and supported national efforts to develop such policies by conducting conferences and workshops; convening task forces; developing reports and guides; participating in privacy initiatives of national working groups; and providing expert technical assistance. Check out the Privacy page in the Law and Policy section of our website for more information and resource links.

The provisions of a privacy policy are of little use without effective implementation. It is crucial to put in place appropriate organizational structures and business processes to ensure that policies are enforced at the proper time. The recent maturation of key industry and justice-community standards efforts, such as XACML and the Global Technical Privacy Framework, provides justice and public safety practitioners with powerful tools for automating the enforcement of many policy provisions. SEARCH participated in the development of the Global framework and is available to assist agencies with implementing it; in addition, in 2009-2010, SEARCH is adding support for the framework to the JIEM® tool.

Need advice on privacy policy development for your agency's or jurisdiction's effort? Want resource materials? SEARCH is here to help through the following tools, resources and publications:

  • In 2009, SEARCH developed a privacy impact assessment guide and tool  with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to assist jurisdictions with their privacy policy development.

    The guide allows State, local and Tribal justice practitioners to examine the privacy implications of their information systems and information-sharing collaborations so they can design and implement policies to address vulnerabilities identified through the assessment process. It also includes a privacy impact assessment template that jurisdictions can use to conduct their own assessments.

  • In August 2009, SEARCH staff served as faculty and technical assistance providers at a two-day Policy Academy on Privacy Policy Development for Justice Information Sharing Programs. Staff discussed the SEARCH-developed Justice Information Exchange Model (JIEM®), which can be used to map an integrated IT system's information exchange points, including those involving the transmission and sharing of PII. (Such information, including name, address, identifying numbers, educational or medical history, physical characteristics and other data elements, can be used to uniquely identify an individual. The use of JIEM® to identify key points in an integrated information system during which PII is exchanged can greatly inform the privacy policy development process.)

  • View or download this SEARCH Technical Brief on the benefits of using JIEM® to capture privacy requirements

  • View or download presentations on "Privacy: Understanding the Needs, Policy and Approach" from BJA Regional Justice Information Sharing Conferences organized by SEARCH. They emphasize the importance of privacy policy to the information sharing system, discuss strategies for developing privacy policies, and explore reference tools that facilitate making privacy an inherent guiding principle of information sharing system planning and operation:
    - Robert Boehmer/Alan Carlson presentation 
    - Owen Greenspan presentation 

  • Take a look at these other SEARCH-developed documents on privacy

  • Have a question about privacy policy development? Contact one of our experts now!

  • Want to schedule technical assistance on privacy policy development?