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New Mexico Will Set Data Guidelines With ‘4 Simple Questions’

In his first few months as New Mexico CIO, Peter Mantos is looking to create templates for data governance that will help state agencies better handle the sensitive information they collect about residents.

New Mexico CIO Peter Mantos
Peter Mantos
Government Technology/David Kidd
Peter Mantos was named New Mexico secretary of information technology at the end of June, and one area he’s working on as he settles into the role is establishing data policy and guiding state agencies in how they take in and use residents’ personally identifiable information.

At the National Association of State Chief Information Officers annual conference in Louisville, Mantos told Government Technology that the state has an “issue around data governance at the project level.”

He explained that the New Mexico Department of Information Technology is a centralized entity and while they deal with tech for state agencies, they don’t always know the small details of what those agencies are doing. He envisions assisting them with setting up data governance strategies, either by offering template language or sending in a data consultant to make sure information is gathered and used properly.

Mantos pointed to the Privacy Act of 1974, which governs how data is collected and used at the federal level, as a model he’d like to work toward in New Mexico. That legislation outlines what should be included in an organization’s disclosure about its data collection, and Mantos said he wants to include something similar for state agencies. He said “four simple questions” should be asked around authority, data use and data sharing that would establish a baseline for good policy in his state.

[Transcript: Data governance has been an issue for us at a project level. “Oh OK, we’re going to be collecting this data,” as an example we have a relatively small commission called the Sentencing Commission, which deals with judicial policies, making recommendations and trying to find out which of these policies work … Well the question when collecting this information on individuals to service these individuals, but also on an aggregate level to create policies: How are we going to govern our data? With whom may we share it? And as that project tries to move forward, they’re saying, “We need these policies, we need the data governance,” and they don’t necessarily have them. So I think we need to make it a whole lot easier by sharing, you know, these are the things you need to think about, these are the things you need to state, here are some templates for example, or even just having an expert who can consult with these people, “I’ll take a stab at it, look it over, help punch it up.” … I’d like to see the state of New Mexico adopt some of the policies that we’ve had since 1974 at the federal level with the privacy act. Four simple questions in their disclosure: What authorizes you to ask for the information? How are you going to use the information? With whom are you going to share the information? And is disclosure of that information by you to us mandatory or optional? Four simple questions that we’re not asking.]
Lauren Kinkade is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.
Noelle Knell is the executive editor for e.Republic, responsible for setting the overall direction for e.Republic’s editorial platforms, including <i>Government Technology</i>, <i>Governing</i>, <i>Industry Insider, Emergency Management</i> and the Center for Digital Education. She has been with e.Republic since 2011, and has decades of writing, editing and leadership experience. A California native, Noelle has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history.