City of Seattle Hires Ginger Armbruster as Chief Privacy Officer

Chief Privacy Officer Ginger Armbruster

The City of Seattle selected Ginger Armbruster as the City’s Chief Privacy Officer. The Chief Privacy Officer will help the City implement and enforce practices that manage data in accordance with the City’s Privacy Principles, which were established by Mayor Edward Murray and City Council. In 2015 the City of Seattle launched its Privacy Program led by the Seattle Information Technology Department (Seattle IT). The Program defined how the City collects, uses and disposes of data. Seattle is one of the first cities in the nation to establish a Privacy Program and Chief Privacy Officer.

“The City has an obligation to earn the public’s trust in how it collects and uses their data,” said City of Seattle Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller. “Ginger’s knowledge and experience working with our community will drive improved privacy practices across City departments and increased public engagement. We are fortunate to have Ginger join our talented workforce.”

“The privacy program we launched in 2015 with input from privacy thought leaders from across the country, our community, industry and City departments is important for our community,” said Armbruster. “I’m excited to get back to building this ground-breaking program.”

“In our digital age where we seem to be losing control of our personal information, its protection is more important than ever,” said Council President Bruce Harrell. “We want the public to feel assured that information that should remain private is managed with a high level of security.”

“Ginger brings her considerable privacy expertise to Seattle at a time when we need to be ever-vigilant to protect citizen privacy,” said State of Washington Chief Privacy Officer Alex Alben. “My office will look forward to working with her to champion privacy for our state!”

“The City of Seattle is a leader in the technology sector, and as such our great city should be at the forefront of protecting the private information of our community members. We at the Community Technology Advisory Board look forward to learning from and collaborating with Ginger to continue leading the discussion on best practices and strategies to better serve our many diverse communities,” said Jose Manuel Vasquez, Community Technology Advisory Board Chairman.

“As a privacy professional and a long-time resident of Seattle that cares deeply about individual privacy rights, I applaud the selection,” said Susan Lyon-Hintze.  “Armbruster has the experience, collaborative skills, and passion needed to lead our city’s efforts to protect privacy in an inclusive yet pragmatic manner,” she added. Lyon-Hintze served on the City’s Privacy Advisory Committee and helped develop the City’s Privacy Principles.

Armbruster previously worked for City, serving as the privacy program manager. She led an interdepartmental effort to establish a principles-based privacy program. She most recently served as a senior privacy manager for Microsoft where she developed and ran the privacy program for Office Marketing.

“I want to ensure the program is robust and mature enough to manage the data collected by the technologies we are currently using to meet the needs of the public we service. Looking long term, I hope to establish a world-class privacy program for the City of Seattle and set an example for others to follow,” said Armbruster.

“Ginger made the Privacy Program happen. She knows what works like a charm and where every hitch and sticking point is. If anyone can ensure its effective and impartial application across the city, she’s the one,” said Jan Bultmann Chair, Board of Directors, Seattle Privacy Coalition.

“Seattle became a national leader with the initiation of its privacy program in 2015. This visionary program was the product of innovative and thoughtful policy-making on the part of Mayor Murray, Michael Mattmiller, and Ginger Armbruster, along with a host of talented individuals currently serving the City of Seattle. With Ginger’s return to the City, we can expect Seattle to once again raise the profile of possibilities for protecting public interests in municipal data, setting an example for cities across the nation to follow,” said Dr. Jan Whittington, Associate Professor of the Department of Urban Design and Planning, at the University of Washington.

Armbruster has an undergraduate degree in political science from Columbia University. In 2013, she received her master’s degree in infrastructure planning and management from the University of Washington as a National Science Foundation grant recipient through the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program. The program is designed to increase the number of professionals that protect the government’s critical information infrastructure. Students then work in tribal, local or federal government in a relevant role for two years to fulfill the service requirement of the program. Armbruster completed her service time at the City of Seattle.

Cloud Computing: Essential but challenging

An expert panel on the challenges and opportunities of public sector cloud computing featured Seattle IT Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller. The panel was part of the Amazon Web Services Public Sector Innovation Summit June 13 in Washington D.C. To seize the opportunity presented by data analytics and data-driven governing, cities need to be in the cloud, according to panelists. One key opportunity in cloud computing is maximizing value and resources. Major challenges include security and privacy.

“Privacy is one of the areas that has made transitioning to the cloud challenging,” Mattmiller said. “It goes back to ‘what’s the problem we’re trying to solve?’ This idea of creating a data store where we put all kinds of different data, that is where our public gets concerned and where, as government, we see potential issues.”

In Washington state – which Mattmiller says has ‘one of the most progressive public disclosure laws in the nation’ – Seattle has taken care of making sure that the ‘full picture’ of a citizen’s data is never housed in one place to ensure that privacy remains intact. In May, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray also supported the creation of a new statute called the Seattle IT rule, which requires private companies to obtain permission before selling personal information or browsing data.

In addition, to prepare the City for more migration to the cloud and other digital services going forward, Seattle has hired its first smart city coordinator who starts in late July. This position will work with City agencies and citizens to evangelize the value of smart cities and the work that can be done.

Read the full article about the panel in State Scoop

Mayor Murray to strengthen broadband privacy rules in Seattle

Today, Mayor Ed Murray took steps to protect the privacy of Seattle’s internet users. Mayor Murray directed the implementation of a Seattle IT rule, which requires the City’s key internet service providers to obtain permission from their customers before selling web browsing history and personally identifiable information at a detailed or aggregate level. This rule reinstates a key consumer privacy protection eliminated by the U.S. Congress and the Trump administration last month.

“Where the Trump administration continues to roll back critical consumer protections, Seattle will act,” said Mayor Murray. “I believe protecting the privacy of internet users is essential and this policy allows the City to do just that. Because of regulation repeals at the national level, we must use all of the powers at our disposal to protect the rights of our residents.”

Mayor Murray is directing the City to issue this rule under its authority to issue and oversee cable television franchises. Seattle Municipal Code (SMC 21.60) grants the City of Seattle authority to issue rules related to the privacy practices of cable operators. These rules govern not only cable television services but also non-cable services, such as internet service. The new rule states cable operators must obtain opt-in consent before sharing a customer’s web browsing history or otherwise using such information for a purpose other than providing a customer with their requested service.

Comcast, CenturyLink, and Wave have cable franchise agreements with the City of Seattle and will be subject to the new rule. Under the terms of the rule, these cable operators must report their compliance by Sept. 30, 2017 and annually thereafter. The rule also stipulates that any aggrieved person may begin a civil action for damages for invasion of privacy against any grantee.

Background
Since 1999, the City of Seattle’s “Cable Customer Bill of Rights” has provided the public with strong protections to ensure competent, responsive service from cable operators. The Rights were modified in 2002 and 2015 to add privacy protections to address concerns that advances in technology would greatly increase the capabilities of cable operators to collect, use and disclose their customers’ information without customers’ permission. Learn more about the Rights and how to issue a comment or complaint by visiting http://www.seattle.gov/cable.

The post Mayor Murray to strengthen broadband privacy rules in Seattle appeared first on Mayor Murray.

Seattle IT Broadband Privacy Directors Rule Q&A

Today, the City of Seattle issued Seattle IT rule 2017-01 requiring the City’s key internet service providers to obtain permission from their customers before selling web browsing history and personally identifiable information at a detailed or aggregate level. This rule reinstates a key consumer privacy protection eliminated by the U.S. Congress and the Trump administration last month.

What does this rule do?

The City of Seattle Information Technology Department (ITD) Director’s Rule 2017-01 requires cable companies that offer an internet service to obtain permission before sharing a customer’s web browsing activity or other internet usage history. Cable operators must attest to compliance with this rule by September 30, 2017, and annually thereafter.

Why is the City of Seattle issuing this rule?

Mayor Murray believes protecting the privacy of internet users is essential to a free and open society. In April 2017 the Trump administration repealed rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would have would have banned internet service providers from sharing or selling certain types of customer information without user consent. Because of this repeal at the national level, the City is using powers at its disposal to implement a similar rule and protect the rights of our public.

Does the City have the authority to regulate the privacy of broadband internet service customers?

Seattle Municipal Code SMC 21.60 (“Cable Code”) provides the regulatory framework under which cable operators may operate in the City of Seattle. In 2002, the City enacted privacy protections codified at SMC 21.60.825 to address concerns that advances in technology would greatly increase the capabilities of Cable Operators to collect, use and disclose their customer’s personally identifiable information without the customer’s permission. These privacy protections prohibit cable operators from collecting or disclosing any information regarding a customer’s use of a non-cable service, such as internet use, without the prior affirmative consent of the customer.

The City’s privacy law is in all respects consistent with 47 U.S.C. § 551 and designed to ensure cable operator compliance with local and Federal law.

Which internet service providers are subject to this rule?

Cable operators franchised by the City of Seattle who provide an internet service are subject to this rule. As of May 3, 2017, this includes Comcast, CenturyLink, and Wave Broadband.

What internet service providers are not covered by this rule?

Internet service providers operating in the City of Seattle that do not have a cable franchise agreement are not subject to this rule. Wireless internet providers, such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are not subject to this rule.

While this rule limits how internet service providers may use a customer’s web browsing activity or other internet usage history, it does not limit the ability of websites or other companies offering online services from tracking a user’s activity.

What protections does the City provide to cable customers?

Since 1999, the City of Seattle’s “Cable Customer Bill of Rights” has provided the public with strong protections to ensure competent, responsive service from cable operators. The Rights were modified in 2002 and 2015 to add privacy protections to address concerns that advances in technology would greatly increase the capabilities of cable operators to collect, use and disclose their customer’s information without the customer’s permission. Learn more about the Rights and how to report a comment or complaint by visiting http://www.seattle.gov/cable.

 

 

 

Seattle issues rule to strengthen broadband privacy for consumers

Notice of City of Seattle Information Technology Department Director’s Rule 2017-01.

Seattle Information Technology Department (ITD) is establishing ITD Director’s Rule 2017-01. This Rule applies to cable operators franchised to provide cable service in the City of Seattle.

ITD Director’s Rule 2017-01 provides procedures that Seattle Information Technology Department’s Office of Cable Communications (OCC) will implement to determine whether a franchised cable operator is in compliance with the privacy requirements of SMC 21.60.825. The Rule requires Cable Operators to obtain opt-in consent before sharing a customer’s web browsing history or otherwise use such information unless it is necessary to render a service ordered by the customer or pursuant to a subpoena or valid court order authorizing disclosure, or to a governmental entity. Cable operators must attest to compliance with this rule by September 30, 2017, and annually thereafter. Read ITD Director’s Rule 2017-01 at http://www.seattle.gov/tech/about/policies-and-directors-rules.

Any persons interested in presenting data, views, or arguments regarding this proposed new Director’s Rule may submit information or contact the Office of Cable Communications by email cableoffice@seattle.gov or call 206-684-5957.