VA Secretary calls for data mismanagement penalties

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It seems as if the fallout from the recent VA (Veterans Affairs) data security debacle could reach across the entire landscape of the federal government. Last week VA Secretary R. James Nicholson stated that he believes there should be tougher penalties for Fed employees that are found to have mishandled highly sensitive information, the Washington Post reports.

Nicholson said in a meeting with the House Government Reform Committee that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) should be looked at as a guide for how to implement such penalties. HIPAA enables the government to fine individuals, doctors and hospitals that compromise patient data information security, and in the cases of intentional abuse, provides a means for criminal charges to be raised, the Washington Post reports.

Not everyone who received Nicholson’s suggestions was convinced that additional laws and policies are needed. Clay Johnson III , a deputy director at the Office of Management and Budget, for his part believes that current laws and procedures are appropriate, however “ we can and must do a much, much better job of implementing them," he said, the Post reports.