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WASHINGTON – At a Senate security hearing today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said the federal government must do a better job of protecting the sensitive information it collects every day from American citizens.

“The American public is quickly losing faith in the government’s ability to protect its sensitive information,” said Sen. Carper at the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing titled, “Protecting Personal Information: Is the Federal Government Doing Enough?”

Today’shearing featured the release of a study by the General Accountability Office (GAO) on privacy policy in the federal government. The GAO study concludes that changes must be made to the government’s privacy framework, which is outdated and insufficient.

In March, Sen. Carper’s Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security held a hearing to examine the federal government’s information security law known as the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

“At our hearing, we found that many times federal agencies don’t know what information they hold, where the information is located, who has access to the information and whether it has been compromised,” said Sen. Carper.

Sen. Carper stressed that is is not just personal identity information that agencies need to do more to protect.

“Federal agencies hold some of our nation’s most sensitive economic, corporate and military secrets,” Sen. Carper said. “Our government must find new and better ways to protect not just an individual’s identity, but all our sensitive information.”

Sen. Carper said he hopes to introduce new language to reform this critical information security law soon.

“Information breaches leave millions of Americans’ names, birthdates, social security numbers and health information at extreme risk,” said Sen. Carper. “In the wrong hands, compromised personal and sensitive information can leave an individual vulnerable to identity theft or worse.”