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Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative
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Ethical and legal obligations compel every professional in the justice system to protect privacy and civil liberties interests when sharing justice information. Today, increased security needs not only dictate enhanced justice information sharing but also highlight the need to balance privacy protection and justice information access. The ease of digital access now makes analysis of privacy obligations a more complex process. Nonetheless, the underlying foundations for privacy policy exist in our current laws and customs. Constitutions, statutes, regulations, policies, procedures, and common-law requirements still control justice entity collection and sharing of information. What is new is the need for justice practitioners to articulate the rules that control their information gathering and sharing activities in a manner that both supports information sharing and protects constitutional privacy rights.

The U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global) serves as a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) and advises the U.S. Attorney General on justice information sharing and integration initiatives. The DOJ's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) created Global to support broadscale exchange of pertinent justice and public safety information. Global promotes standards-based electronic information exchange to provide the justice community with timely, accurate, complete, and accessible information in a secure and trusted environment. Global is a "group of groups," representing more than 30 independent organizations, spanning the spectrum of law enforcement, judicial, correctional, and related bodies. Member organizations participate in Global with a shared responsibility and shared belief that, together, they can bring about positive change by making recommendations and supporting the initiatives of OJP and DOJ.

The Global Privacy and Information Quality Working Group (GPIQWG) is a cross-functional, multidisciplinary working group of Global and is composed of private and local, state, tribal, and federal justice agency representatives. The GPIQWG assists governmental and nongovernmental agencies and institutions involved in the justice system in ensuring that personally identifiable information is appropriately collected, maintained, used, and disseminated within evolving integrated justice information systems.

The Global privacy and civil liberties vision calls for individual agencies to identify their privacy and civil liberties policy requirements within the context of the myriad of legal and societal constraints. Global recognizes the indispensable and primary role of local, state, and tribal justice leadership in enhanced information sharing. Each justice entity must actively define privacy and civil liberties protections and information quality requirements for collecting, sharing, and managing the personally identifiable information that it controls in order to enhance sharing while protecting privacy and civil liberties.

Recognizing the need for tiered privacy policy-related material, GPIQWG members produced two related resources that can be used in tandem or separately, depending on the audience:

1) Privacy, Civil Liberties, and Information Quality Policy Development for the Justice Decision Maker
Geared toward the justice executive to engender awareness about the topic, this high-level, easy-to-read booklet makes the case for privacy and civil liberties policy development and underscores the imperativeness of leadership in promoting privacy and civil liberties issues within justice agencies. This privacy executive overview is an excellent primer and educational tool that applies settled privacy principles to justice information sharing systems, addresses applicable legal mandates, and makes recommendations on best practices to ensure privacy, civil liberties, and information quality protection.

2) Privacy and Civil Liberties Policy Development Guide and Implementation Templates
Geared toward justice practitioners charged with developing or revising an agency’s privacy and civil liberties policy, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Policy Development Guide and Implementation Templates is a practical, hands-on resource. Using this Guide is the next logical step for those justice entities that are ready to move beyond awareness into the actual policy development process. It assists agencies in articulating privacy and civil liberties obligations in a manner that protects the justice agency, the individual, and the public and makes it easier to do what is necessary—share critical justice information.

Included in this Guide is an essential tool for justice system practitioners to use when drafting comprehensive policies, entitled Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Policy Templates for Justice Information Systems, contained in Appendix A. The templates are relevant to the administration of justice, strategic and tactical operations, and national security responsibilities and are intended to address all types of public safety and public protection risks and threats, whether criminal or from natural disasters.

GPIQWG is in the process of developing additional resources for the field, focusing on the issues surrounding "information quality" and all of the complexities that term connotes.