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Assessing Information Sharing Programs

Testimony of Peter Swire Before the White House Privacy and Civil Liberties Board

CAP Senior Fellow outlines 10 “due diligence” questions for assessing the effectiveness of information sharing programs.

Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Peter Swire will testify tomorrow before the first public hearing of the White House Privacy and Civil Liberties Board.

Swire’s testimony will draw heavily on his recent article, “Privacy and Information Sharing in the War on Terrorism,” published in the Villanova Law Review symposium. The article outlines 10 “due diligence” questions for assessing the effectiveness of information sharing programs. The purpose of the questions is to identify potential problem areas for proposed programs. The checklist includes the following questions:

1. Will the proposed sharing tip off adversaries?

2. Does the proposal improve security? Cost effectively?

3. Is the proposal “security theater?” To what degree does it provide only the appearance of security?

4. Are there novel aspects to the proposed surveillance and sharing? What risks, if any, accompany these novel aspects?

5. Are there relevant lessons from historical instances of abuse? What checks and balances would mitigate the risks of such abuse?

6. Do fairness and anti-discrimination concerns reduce the desirability of the proposed program?

7. Are there ways that the proposed measure could make the security problems worse?

8. What are the ramifications internationally and with other stakeholders?

9. Are there additional, privacy-based harms from the proposed measure?

10. Will bad publicity undermine the program?

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