(US & Canada) | Minimizing Data Movement Will Be a Game-changer for Data-sharing — US Citizenship and Immigration Services CDO

Elizabeth Puchek, the Chief Data Officer at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, speaks with Michael Hughes, Chief Business Officer at Duality Technologies, in a video interview about leveraging privacy-enhancing tech, the challenges of collaborating on sensitive data, and adapting to emerging security threats.

Speaking about leveraging privacy-enhancing tech to share data and drive insights, Puchek says that in the absence of such technologies, the default response to data-sharing requests stands as a negative, mainly to protect data. She reveals that USCIS leverages a few privacy-enhancing technologies, VPNs, multiple homomorphic encryption capabilities, rules-based data access, and others to ensure that information can be accessed securely and on a need-to-know basis.

Speaking further on the topic, Puchek says that the executive orders on Zero Trust and privacy-enhancing technologies are playing hand-in-hand. However, data collection and validation have been centered on minimal data touchpoints to identify and approve access to sensitive information. The agency is now in the process of enabling new privacy-enhancing technologies and zero trust network access to fulfill the DHS and the White House mandates around data collection and collaboration capabilities.

When asked about the main resource limitations that USCIS faces when collaborating on sensitive data and its impact on partnerships, Puchek says that technology-wise, USCIS is in a great position to share and receive sensitive data, and it is largely due to a very forward-thinking OIT organization (Office of Information Technology).

She states that her vision is to be able to access other agencies’ data where it lives and conversely have them access USCIS’ data where it lives to avoid constantly sharing things back and forth and dealing with timeliness. However, modernized technology is a dependency to make it a reality.

As an agency, Puchek says that USCIS has been able to share its lessons with other federal components and is trying to encourage them to learn about the various possibilities.

She further maintains that secure infrastructure will continue to be a hurdle for all government agencies but USCIS is committed to supporting secure infrastructure, adapting to emerging security threats, and overcoming this constant hurdle for government data.

In the long term, Puchek hopes that her agency can be a model for other agencies who are on their modernization journey. Similarly, it and can give them a vision of what is possible with their data and how minimizing the movement of data can be a big game-changer for privacy purposes in data sharing. 

In conclusion, Puchek assures that USCIS despite being a data-rich organization that shares a lot of data with other partners, takes privacy and security seriously and that partners need not worry about anything with their data.

CDO magazine appreciates Elizabeth Puchek for sharing her insights with our global community.

Also Read
(US & Canada) | I Always Put Myself in Customers’ Shoes When it Comes to Sharing Information — US Citizenship and Immigration Services CDO
(US & Canada) | Minimizing Data Movement Will Be a Game-changer for Data-sharing — US Citizenship and Immigration Services CDO

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