In June 2011, the General Accountability Office (GAO) released a
report on the
use of social media in 23 federal agencies. The GAO produced the
report in response to queries on how federal agencies are currently
using social media and the extent to which these agencies have
developed and implemented policies and procedures for managing and
protecting information associated with its use.
The GAO found a mixed-bag of results. Some agencies had
recordkeeping policies and some didn't. Some had updated
privacy policies and even fewer still had conducted privacy impact
assessments. Finally, only seven agencies had identified and
documented the security risks associated with the use of social
media. Ultimately, the GAO recommended that all the agencies
should have appropriate recordkeeping, privacy, and security
measures in place.
Take, for instance, the Department of Defense (DoD). It
Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 09-026, which allows DoD
agencies to access social networking sites, as long as they meet
minimum requirements regarding controlled access and protection
against malware. Similarly, the Center for Disease Control
(CDC) published a handbook,
detailing best practices of social media use, and even the US Army
created a comprehensive handbook focused on
The objective is to provide opportunities for agencies to
facilitate the flow of information between themselves and the
public as well as ensure the adequate protection of both personal
and government information.
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