Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why a military site for HUD data training?

OK, I don't know if this should bother me, but it does.

I subscribe to a HUD listserv (announcement feed, really) called the "Multifamily RHIIP Tips" that's intended for managers of subsidized housing. A lot of the "tips" are about logistics and breakdowns in the Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system. This is a cross-check database allowing managers to compare what tenants and applicants tell them about employment and benefits income with data from sources like Social Security and the HHS National Directory of New Hires.

Obviously a system like EIV invades privacy. Obviously it's good for people who look up data on this system to be trained in its responsible use. Training is good, OK.

But it's kind of strange that, in RHIIP Tip No. 250 (not posted on the HUD site's RHIIP Tips page yet), people who use EIV are directed to a military Web site to get their annual training in "security awareness".

This only bugs me a little. It's not like they're treating military data ethics as one-size-fits-all. Within the site, EIV users are supposed to take a civilian-oriented training called "Federal ISS Awareness." Also, this is only a training program -- it looks like the EIV data itself is staying on the civilian side of the line. Still, I wonder if this could be a symptom of the line between military and civilian getting just a little too thin.

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