"Apps.Gov": Assessing Privacy in the Cloud Computing Era

November 21, 2012

An information technology project “Apps.Gov” was announced by the Federal Government on September 15th, 2009. Google, Inc. is the principal contractor and is building a special data center facility for the project. In December, Google discovered a breach at another one of it data centers, which led to public concerns about cyber security and even cyber war. Privacy concerns, however, have received comparatively less attention. Given the extraordinary degree to which government data may be aggregated and placed within a technology infrastructure that is still evolving, an outdated system of privacy laws may further widen the gap between technology and privacy policy. It is especially unclear whether agency privacy officers will be able to police privacy and interpret the Privacy Act of 1974 in the context of cloud computing. This Recent Development looks at privacy issues arising from Apps.Gov and the use of privacy impact assessments as a way of dealing with them.