On September 24, I was pleased to represent Coalfire (and private-sector expertise) by attending the kickoff for the Privacy Framework at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. The event was attended by notable leaders in the industry and government: The Departments of Transportation and Commerce, the Information Technology Industry Council, Intel, Citrix, National Telecommunications, and various other notable public and private-sector leaders in the industry. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is taking steps toward pulling the various, splintered privacy initiatives in our nation together into a focused approach – and it is very exciting to see.
Recently, Coalfire posted a white paper on what the U.S. was (and was not) doing, commercially and federally, as compared to other regions of the world – notably, the EU Member States and the commendable effort being taken with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Coalfire pointed out that the U.S. had several laws and policies that were sectoral in nature or targeted certain audiences (e.g., protection of privacy for children), or capabilities (e.g., the 50 state breach notification plans).
The white paper also mentioned that these laws lacked teeth; the absence of an enforcing mechanism diluted the impact of the effort in progress. Organizations are ambivalent whether to tackle the issue of privacy now or postpone it for later. The white paper challenged us as a nation and as organizations that pride ourselves as leaders in this space to take up responsibility because they should (take a risk-based approach), and not because they must (make compliance-based decisions).
Starting with the kickoff today, NIST will be hosting a series of conferences geared toward gathering input from cybersecurity consulting firms such as Coalfire, privacy leaders, compliance officers, and legal industry leaders to develop a comprehensive, industry-agnostic framework, using a similar approach to the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. The effort will obviously take advantage of some of its forerunners (Fair Information Practice Principles [FIPPS], GDPR, etc.) but will take particular effort to make this framework sustainable, translatable, implementable, and repeatable across geographies and industries. Coalfire is honored to be part of this effort and believes that the collective effort from industry and government leaders toward developing this framework will result in the creation of executive legislations required to enforce it.
It is estimated that the development and release of the Privacy Framework will take a year. Stay tuned – I will continue to communicate progress being made as this evolves.