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Re: PII SSN question
From: levinson_k () securityadmin info
Date: 15 Aug 2007 22:00:57 -0000

Requirements for whom?  I assume you're talking federal government.  If you're anyone else, I'm not sure there are any 
requirements at all, because who would levy the requirements?  OMB sent out a memo about PII protection but I believe 
that applies primarily to federal government uses only.

RE: federal government handling of PII, the only thing I know of is here:


I don't believe there are any government-wide requirements yet for storage of PII.  PII protection is a fairly new 
topic for OMB / Congress / NIST, and requirements have yet to be drafted, vetted and published.  The only requirements 
I've seen are requirements for PII that is transported externally or accessed remotely, e.g. via web site, VPN, RAS, 
etc.  For PII that is entirely housed on one agency's internal network, policies do not exist as far as I know.

Other than that, all you have are the regular NIST / FISMA requirements for storage of all sensitive but unclassified 
federal government systems.

Yes, you are permitted to store PII.  You wouldn't be able to do your job without PII.  What you are not allowed to do 
is intentionally or negligently allow improper disclosure of PII.  Since there are no requirements beyond the normal 
requirements already levied for all of your data, I would recommend following normal best practices, e.g. securely 
encrypting your data at rest and in transmission, physical security, authentication, patch management, etc. etc. and 
you should be OK.

Penalties and governance for storage of privacy information is codified in the USC Privacy Act, but I seriously doubt 
that gives you any specifics.  In the US, I think you're generally safe from legal action and penalties from that or 
any other infosec-related criminal or civil prosecution, as long as you are able to show that you exercised "due 
diligence" / "due care," e.g. that your security posture was not seriously negligent/culpable and was generally 
comparable to what other similar organizations to yours normally perform.


kind regards,
Karl Levinson, CISSP

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