The White House Office of Management and Budget issued updated guidance for the jurisdiction and duties of Senior Agency Officials for Privacy (SAOP), giving them more authority.

“We’re working to ensure that the government’s privacy practices evolve to appropriately reflect the government’s use of these ever-changing technologies, while also maintaining America’s position as a leader in innovation,” said Marc Groman, senior adviser for privacy at OMB.

The guidance includes that the agency heads should assess their privacy policies and designate or re-designate an official to serve as the SAOP by Nov. 15, and ensures that the SAOP should serve in a central leadership position and have the authority to oversee anything privacy related. The updates also say that the SAOP should take a significant role in policymaking, compliance, and risk management.

The guidance said that agencies should remember that privacy and security often intertwine but ultimately have distinct issues. Therefore, agencies should consider this when choosing a SAOP.

The last time OMB issued guidance over the agencies’ privacy policies was more than a decade ago.

“The revised guidance updates the role and responsibilities of SAOPs in light of recent innovations in technology and advancements in information analytics so that agencies are better positioned to address the new and complex challenges of the information age,” Groman said.

These updates follow other White House privacy initiatives such as the updated Circular A-130 and the creation of the Federal Privacy Council.

“As President Obama has stated, privacy has been at the heart of our democracy from its inception, and we need it now more than ever,” Groman said.

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