Notice & Comment

DoD Proposes Privacy Policy Changes, by Shannon Allen

Privacy of the individual is a “fundamental legal right” that must be defended.  The Department of Defense (“DoD”) seeks public comment on a proposed rule to update its privacy policy.  The purpose of the DoD’s proposed rule is to balance the DoD’s statutory obligation to “collect, use, maintain, or disseminate personally identifiable information . . . about individuals” against the right of the individual to be “protected” from “unwarranted privacy invasions.”  In addition, the DoD issued this rule to further secure the information it maintains.

The proposed rule:

On August 9, 2013, the American Forces Press Service recounted President Obama’s statements about privacy during an hour-long press conference at the White House.  The President said that it was “right to ask questions about surveillance . . . .”  He explained that America “is not interested in spying on ordinary people . . .” and reiterated that, in America, “we show restraint” and find resolution “through vigorous public debate guided by our constitution . . . .”

To that end, the DOD seeks public input on any of the following major provisions of its proposed rule including, but not limited to:

  • implementing rules of conduct for DoD personnel and DoD contractors involved in the design, development, operation, or maintenance of any system of records,
  • maintaining safeguards to ensure the confidentiality of records and to protect against any anticipated threats to their security that could result in substantial harm to any individual about whom information is preserved,
  • guiding, assisting, and providing subject matter expert support to the combatant command privacy officers, and/or
  • ensuring the implementation of policies for protecting privacy rights throughout the DoD.

Comments should identify Docket ID: DOD-2013-OS-0023-0001.  Interested parties are invited to submit comments by October 21, 2013, either by:

  • Federal Rulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments; or
  • Mail: Federal Docket Management System Office, 4800 Mark Center Drive,East Tower, Suite 02G09, Alexandria VA 22350-3100.

This post was originally published on the legacy ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Notice and Comment blog, which merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation Notice and Comment blog in 2015.

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