Government must safeguard the data it holds
As technology evolves, we are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of unsecured data and the potential for misuse. The state legislature recently passed legislation to start dealing with unsecured and unaccounted for data in the hands of government entities with HB 450 (2023) by Rep. Jefferson Moss and Sen. Kirk Cullimore. This was a vital first step.
But we can’t stop there. Currently, the state is undergoing a legislative audit to determine what information they have on us, how they use it, who they share it with, who controls it, who can access it, how it’s protected, etc.
Right to privacy
The government was created by the people to serve them. They have access to massive amounts of data that is turned over for legitimate government functions, including date of birth, address, phone number, email address, confidential financial information; and where, how, and when we vote, among other things. Nowhere along the way have we given them permission to share that data with third parties, sell it, or utilize it for research or partisan political purposes.
Individuals have a right to privacy and to the expectation that their personal information is used only for the purpose for which it was shared. Further, once our data has been turned over, the entity which possesses it must be required to protect and safeguard it, It is OUR data, not the government’s. If it is ever to be accessed by, or shared with, another entity, it’s a no-brainer that explicit permission must be granted.
Basic protections are necessary
Government in a free society requires the trust of its citizens to not abuse the power they've been given. But confidence is quickly destroyed when our personal data is treated as property of the bureaucracy and used like any other information held by them. It’s time for government to be at least as diligent as private companies in this regard. Then we’ll work on more.