Federal Manager's Daily Report

Federal agencies and departments reported having 199 ongoing

or planned data mining efforts, something both the government

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and private sector increasingly use to uncover hidden

patterns and subtle relationships in data, the General

Accounting Office has said in a report that could signal a

call for new regulations on the way agencies exchange

information.


Federal agencies use data mining for a number of reasons

such as statistical analysis, modeling, analyzing scientific

and research information and managing human resources, for a

variety of purposes such as improving service or performance,

detecting fraud, waste, abuse, and criminal behavior, and

analyzing and detecting terrorist patterns and activities.


GAO said 122 of those data mining efforts continue to mine

personal information such as credit card numbers, educational

loan records and Social Security numbers.


It said 52 agencies use or plan to use data mining, 54 of the

199 efforts mine data from the private sector, 36 of those

mine personal information, 77 efforts are in place to mine

data from other federal agencies and 46 of those involve

personal information, showing that government data mining of

personal information continued to grow long after the high

profile Total Information Awareness Project was discontinued

amid criticism and privacy concerns.


“We do not know the quality and accuracy of the information,

whether individuals have access to the information to correct

inaccuracies, and whether individuals gave consent for their

private information to be shared with the federal government.

There must be policies and safeguards in place to ensure

that the privacy rights of Americans are not being eroded,”

said Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), who requested the

report, also noting the multiplicity reasons and methods of

the practice.

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