CYBERSECURITY AT THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEVEL: BALANCING DEMANDS FOR TRANSPARENCY AND PRIVACY RIGHTS

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ABSTRACT

Cybersecurity demands are forcing public officials across the globe to focus on two core values that often conflict—transparency (the public good) and privacy (citizen and private sector confidentiality). An e-survey of Florida county government officials measures how cross-pressured they are, identifies the types of information about individuals and government employees that are the most difficult to protect, examines the interest groups (public, private, and nonprofit) that act as watchdogs, and delineates the actions administrators see as critical to promoting balance. The results show intense cross-pressures and greater difficulty in protecting citizens’ bioinformation, medical records, and financial data than in securing employee information. Information technology professionals and their associations are the most active in tracking privacy protection. The media and citizen activists monitor transparency the closest. More funding, personnel, equipment, and training, better software, more rigorous enforcement, and clearer standards and procedures are needed to balance privacy protection and transparency in cybersecurity policy making.

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