Lawmakers seek agency policies on email surveillance

Shutterstock.com

Top congressional Republicans are pushing the Office of Management and Budget to investigate electronic monitoring policies across all federal agencies.

In a March 5 letter to OMB acting Director Jeffrey Zients, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Oversight Committee chairman and Judiciary Committee ranking member, respectively, called for the Obama administration to look into electronic surveillance in the federal workforce.

“We request that OMB conduct a comprehensive survey of all federal agencies to determine agencies’ policies with respect to monitoring federal employees’ personal email accounts,” Issa and Grassley wrote.

They are seeking information regarding whether every agency has an official policy for monitoring employee email, whether the policy allows for employees to access personal accounts on government computers without fear of being monitored, and how the policy defines disclosures to Congress and the Office of Special Counsel.

The letter was prompted by details that recently surfaced regarding Food and Drug Administration whistleblowers who sent warnings concerning agency approval of faulty medical devices to OSC and congressional representatives, including Grassley’s office.

FDA employees sent the emails from their personal accounts using government computers. A government probe suggested FDA officials had monitored the correspondence to later harass or fire the employees.

OMB is reviewing the letter, according to spokeswoman Moira Mack.

“The Obama administration strongly supports whistleblower protections and has sought to deliver a more open and transparent government to make it more accountable to the American people,” Mack said.

(Image via Yellowj/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.