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Privacy Is Key to Modernizing the Citizen Experience

Maryland CIO Michael Leahy said that while updating the way citizens interact with government is a high priority, issues around keeping personal data secure must also be addressed to make any system truly efficient.

Maryland CIO Michael Leahy
Maryland CIO Michael Leahy
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. — While cybersecurity has long been at the top of the list of CIO priorities at all levels of government, increasing concerns around privacy have also come to the fore. As the public sector works to make citizen services more customer-focused, the data that agencies gather inherently becomes more vulnerable.

At the National Association of State Chief Information Officers' Midyear Conference, Maryland CIO Michael Leahy discussed the privacy risks that arrive alongside efforts to modernize public-sector services to meet citizen expectations.

As to whether the U.S. should take a cue from Europe’s GDPR regulations and take a federal approach to privacy, Leahy said that while that would likely be most efficient, he is a “believer in the experimentation of democracy.” Fifty states mean 50 opportunities to innovate in different ways and find answers to questions that government may not even have asked yet.

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.