Advances in information technology make it easier than ever for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies to obtain and process information about citizens and residents in many ways and for many purposes. The demands of the war on terror also drive agencies to extract as much value as possible from the information available to them, adding to the potential for compromising privacy. Recognizing that securing the homeland and protecting the privacy rights of individuals are both important goals, the Congress has asked GAO to perform several reviews of DHS programs and their privacy implications over the past several years. For this hearing, GAO was asked to testify on key privacy challenges facing DHS. To address this issue, GAO identified and summarized issues raised in its previous reports on privacy and assessed recent governmentwide privacy guidance.
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