A federal commission is calling for increased “evidence-based policymaking” through potentially controversial use of data gathered from confidential information.
“Traditionally, increasing access to confidential data presumed significantly increasing privacy risk,” says the commission’s report released Thursday. “The Commission rejects that idea.”
The Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking was created through legislation enacted last year. The 15 members were appointed by President Barack Obama and the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate.
“Policymakers must have good information on which to base their decisions about improving the viability and effectiveness of government programs and policies,” the report, presented to President Trump and Congress, begins. “Today, too little evidence is produced to meet this need.”
To get the needed information, the commission members recommended revising “laws authorizing Federal data collection and use … but only under strict privacy controls.”
The reports urges the adoption of “modern privacy-enhancing technologies for confidential data used for evidence building.”
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who worked with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) to create the commission, praised the panel’s work.
“Because no matter what any of us think about government in general — and no matter what we may think about programs or investments in particular — surely we should be able to agree that we should all do everything we can to make them work as well as possible,” she said in a statement. “Not just by wishing for it, and not just letting blind ideology or partisanship guide the way or undermine policies that help people — but by using evidence … facts … science — making sure our policies are aligned with what we know works — and what we know doesn’t.”