A report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says new laws are needed to protect individual's personal information. The government does not have proper privacy safeguards for the information it collects, shares and stores as part of the effort to fight terrorism, the U.S. watchdog agency reports.
Some laws are several decades old and no longer cover the "increasingly sophisticated" ways that the government collects information, including biometric fingerprint scans, according to the report. Personal information is sifted through data-mining systems that search for patterns - and that method is not covered by the Privacy Act of 1974.
In testimony prepared for a hearing today by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, the GAO's Linda Koontz says that in today's "highly interconnected environment, information can be gathered from many different sources, analyzed and redistributed in very dynamic, unstructured ways."
The GAO report suggests that Congress update the Privacy Act to reflect the changing times and technologies.