Data Privacy Laws that Government Agencies Need to Follow

Dec 11, 2019 | Tips and Best Practices

Government organizations, whether local, state, or federal, are required to adhere to a specific set of data privacy laws based on their location and the data they collect. Because many government entities collect sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) from citizens on a regular basis, it’s important to implement data management systems that keep this data as secure as possible.

While government agencies have become targets for cyber attacks because of the sensitive nature of the data they collect, there are best practices you can follow to amp up data privacy. If you manage data at a government agency, read on to learn about the data privacy laws and best practices you should be aware of.

Understanding the data privacy laws that affect your government agency

Government agencies collect a wide range of sensitive data, from payment information to social security details to healthcare data and more. With all of this data in their possession, government agencies are subject to a wide range of data privacy and security regulations. To ensure that data privacy standards are updated accordingly, it’s crucial for employees at government agencies to have a solid understanding of the regulations that may affect them directly.

Just like private companies, government agencies are required to be compliant with applicable data privacy laws and regulations, otherwise facing major consequences. Following the GDPR in Europe, data privacy laws have ramped up worldwide, many affecting both the private sector and government entities. Within the past few years, 29 states in the U.S. including California, Texas, and New York have enacted data privacy laws that apply directly to government agencies. If working on a state or local level, make sure you’re well aware of the data security laws and data disposal laws that apply to your organization.

Why data privacy is important for government agencies

Following the highest standards of data privacy is crucial for government agencies because they deal with so much sensitive information from citizens in so many different locations. If an organization isn’t compliant with applicable regulations, the organization runs the risk of:

  • Criminal investigations
  • Massive non-compliance fines and other penalties
  • Lawsuits
  • Loss of trust from citizens
  • Stolen data

Best practices for government data privacy

Government organizations rely on data in order to carry out everyday tasks, but layers of data privacy regulations can complicate the process. Follow these best practices to make sure your data is protected, and choose data collection vendors that meet the same high standards:

  • Use administrative controls to keep sensitive data in the right hands
  • Create a data breach response plan ahead of time to use in the event of a breach
  • Choose data management tools that meet compliance standards
  • Make sure all data is encrypted in transit and at rest for an extra layer of protection
  • Ensure all employees are well-trained on data privacy laws and best practices
  • Give all citizens, and all data, the same level of privacy

Beyond Data Privacy: Are your forms compliant with 21st Century IDEA?

Federal government agencies are also held to high standards for website usability and digitization of services. The 21st Century IDEA act, which became law in 2018, includes a set of rolling deadlines for improving the usability of federal executive branch agency websites. in December 2020, agencies will need to have digital options for any public-facing processes. That means finding a flexible web form platform like FormAssembly to aid digitization. Learn more about 21st Century IDEA in our webinar.

Use FormAssembly to secure your data

FormAssembly has helped hundreds of organizations in every industry securely and effectively process sensitive data. Our all-in-one web form builder and data collection platform meets the highest standards of security and compliance. Ready to simplify data collection at your government agency once and for all? Give FormAssembly a try today—no credit card required.

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