Agencies Look to Commercial Tech to Help Address Pandemic-Related Data Sharing, Privacy Issues

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The Census Bureau and other agencies are looking for commercial off-the-shelf systems that could help protect data computation and privacy to securely link datasets and generate predictions about the COVID-19 pandemic, FedScoop reported Wednesday.

Cavan Capps, big data lead at the Census Bureau, said industry could help ensure public trust and facilitate data sharing by providing a better platform that could help secure the environment used for data storage and analysis.

Lynne Parker, deputy chief technology officer at the White House, cited the lack of a “silver bullet” solution to data privacy protection due to weaknesses of certain techniques, including data de-identification, data aggregation and homomorphic encryption.

“Much more needs to be done to create scalable solutions that are not just a point solution for a particular data sharing goal, but an approach that can scale to more use cases,” Parker said. “So I close with a call to all of you across industry, academia and government: What we need is a better pathway forward for addressing data sharing hurdles more quickly and in the shorter term.”

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