Rep. Ward seeks assurance that public data will be protected under new law
News Release from House Minority Caucus June 27, 2013
HONOLULU – Rep. Gene Ward (R, Hawaii Kai-Kalama Valley) has requested assurance from the state’s Chief Information Officer that data housed in the state’s computer systems will not be misused by any entity that may gain access to the information under new legislation.
Senate Bill 1003 allows for periodic security audits of all Executive Branch departments and agencies to ensure that the state’s computer infrastructure and sensitive data are protected from unauthorized use, intrusions, and other security threats. It will become law on July 9 if not signed earlier by the governor.
The letter states, “Although … the bill is not intended to give State authorities a license to spy on the activities of Hawaii's people, the language on page 2 of the bill referencing the contracting of security audits to private firms might be alarming to some … Reportedly, Mr. [Edward] Snowden was authorized by his firm to conduct surveillance on whomever he felt was necessary; there may be fears that this bill will result in similar surveillance activities in our State.”
Said Rep. Ward, “Much of the world was surprised to learn recently of some of the federal government’s surveillance activities, so I think it’s a fair question to ask as our state expands its IT infrastructure and develops brand new legislation on the subject. The people of Hawaii should have the peace of mind that their right to be free from unreasonable searches, seizures, and invasions of privacy will not be infringed upon.”
The letter requests written confirmation that “no one in the State of Hawaii, including State employees and elected officials, has been, is being, or will be subjected to NSA-style surveillance or collection/storage of private information under OIMT's policies and procedures.”
In the letter, Rep. Ward also commends the newly formed Office of Information Management and Technology for its accomplishments in advancing open government and security and privacy.
Related: Hawaii Data Sharing: 2.2 Million Layers of Information on You