The Federal government’s policy on data collection and management could determine whether President-elect Donald Trump will be able to carry out his administration goal of finding and deporting illegal immigrants who’ve been convicted of crimes.

Wes Wilson, of IC and Federal Law Enforcement Business Development at IBM Federal Software Group, said that the Department of Justice is responsible for rethinking and rewriting guidance on how Federal agencies handle the data that they collect.

Trump has said that during his time in office, his administration will find and deport 2 million to 3 million illegal immigrants who’ve committed crimes in the United States.

“The government has a fair amount of data about these people but it’s not all in one place,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that Trump’s agenda will force a conversation about policy restrictions that prohibit certain data sets from being combined within the Federal government due to privacy restrictions. The DOJ, which would be led by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., pending his confirmation as attorney general, would be able to drive this process.

“It’s way past time to have that debate about the role of data in government in 2016,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that if the Federal government holds conversations about new data policy, it should be held publicly so that citizens could give their input.

“The pendulum on data swings between innovation and security,” said Kris Rowley, chief data officer for the General Services Administration.

Rowley said that whenever a data leak occurs, the government focuses on tightening data security, whereas when a leak hasn’t occurred in a while, the government focuses on innovating data policy.

Rowley said that the Trump administration will be interested in how much money is being spent on data management activities and where the money is being spent. The agencies will focus on where their spending should be in a year from now.

“These problems are not easy problems to tackle,” said Mark Krzysko, deputy director of enterprise information of the office of the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics at the Department of Defense.

Krzysko said that the new administration needs to talk about data management, hiring, and policy problems.

“We may be creating vulnerabilities that we did not originally contemplate or think about,” Krzysko said.

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Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.