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To Lock Down PII, Privacy and Security Must Work Side by Side

North Carolina Chief Privacy Officer Cherie Givens talks about what she learned from building privacy programs at federal agencies and what common pitfalls states should avoid when establishing their own policies.

North Carolina Chief Privacy Officer Cherie Givens
Government Technology/David Kidd
When Cherie Givens was appointed North Carolina’s first chief privacy officer in December 2021, she brought more than a decade of experience building and maturing privacy programs at federal agencies including the Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.

At the NASCIO Midyear conference last week, Givens told GovTech about how that background makes her well-suited for the role of state CPO. “I can take what I know works well at the federal level, customize it for North Carolina so that it is what we need and then sidestep those pitfalls that I saw,” she said.

And as the number of states creating CPO positions and establishing formal privacy policies grows, they can learn from the mistakes of those that have come before them. Givens said she saw the same problems over and over when it came to standing up privacy programs at federal agencies.

Chief among those common pitfalls Givens encountered was the fact that cybersecurity and privacy teams often don’t work as closely together as they should. Agencies make the mistake of seeing privacy as a “one off,” she said, when really it’s really an “enormous area” that encompasses policy, training and human behavior. Privacy should be therefore be embedded at the outset of government projects.

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.