The City of Seattle continues to lead the nation in protecting citizens’ privacy. Last fall, the Mayor and City Council launched the City’s new Privacy Initiative. In February 2015, Seattle’s Privacy Principle’s were announced.
The next phase, the toolkit for Seattle’s Privacy Initiative, is now being implemented. The toolkit will guide City departments on how to incorporate these principles into daily operations.
“Seattle is leading the nation to implement a comprehensive privacy program across all City departments,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Our privacy principles are designed to protect individual privacy while still providing government transparency.”
The Privacy Toolkit will provide guidelines for how each department will implement a privacy assessment. Departments will also identify a privacy champion who will work with a privacy manager at the Department of Information Technology.
“This is a game changer in how we operate and do business to ensure we uphold the highest standard for your privacy,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee. “We have come up with the right balance of transparency, accountability and flexibility.”
The privacy principles and the toolkit were created by an interdepartmental team comprised of more than 10 departments and an external Privacy Advisory Committee comprised of community members and privacy experts from private industry, law firms, privacy advocates and academia. The mayor’s budget for 2016 includes funding for a Chief Privacy Officer for the City who will be charged with implementing the principles.
“This is the first time any city in the country has taken steps to protect the public’s private information whenever possible,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “This groundbreaking toolkit will help city employees think proactively about potential privacy implications with regards to any data or personal information we collect in the course of regular City business or when evaluating a new policy or program,”
In November 2014, the City launched its Privacy Initiative, led by the Seattle Police Department and Department of Information Technology. The initiative defined how the City collects, uses, and disposes of data in a manner that balances the needs of the City to conduct its business with individual privacy. For more information on the City’s Privacy Initiative, visit http://www.seattle.gov/information-technology/initiatives/privacy-initiative
Seattle is one of the first cities in the nation to establish its own privacy principles to protect personal information. City partners and vendors are instructed to follow the same guidelines.