On October 31st, several members of the IJIS Institute attended the District of Columbia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council’s Third Annual Information Sharing Forum. The theme of the Forum was Criminal Justice System Information Sharing: Pathways and Challenges. Mannone A. Butler, Esq., the executive director of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, opened the Forum describing the goals of the event and noted that CJCC is an independent District agency that identifies issues and their solutions, proposes actions, and facilitates cooperation to improve public safety in the District of Columbia.
I kicked off the Forum with a session titled The Justice Information Sharing Landscape: National and District Perspectives. I was joined by Imran Chaudhry, CJCC’s CIO. In this session, I discussed the overall objective for sharing information among partners within the criminal justice system, provided an overview of national and local landscapes among the criminal justice community, and highlighted some of the challenges faced when sharing criminal justice information. The challenges discussed were primarily policy, legal, and regulatory issues such as HIPAA, The Privacy Act, and FISMA as well as technology standards (NIST, NIEM) and, of course, cyber security. I highlighted the work IJIS has done to stand up Information Sharing Environments (ISE) and stressed the importance that the sharing provide operational value to the parties sharing. I also discussed the importance of true interoperability and the consistent application of principles and standards to address specific mission problems. I also talked about scalability – a challenge we are working on in the justice community – and stressed that interoperability is about automation and mapping to business processes, organizational mission, and goals.
IJIS arranged for Verne Rinker, a health information privacy specialist with the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), to present about HIPAA and how it applies to law enforcement. Verne leads OCR’s administration and enforcement for the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 in addition to various policy aspects of the HIPAA rules. He also serves as the OCR representative to the HHS Privacy Incident Response Team. Verne reviewed the Act, its purpose, common myths, and permitted disclosures for law enforcement such as court orders, specific administrative subpoena, specific information to identify a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person, specific imminent threat, and much more. He also provided a link for an FAQs regarding disclosures for law enforcement
The Forum concluded with a Breakout Session – Case Study where attendees divided into small groups to address a case study based upon the information covered in the first two sessions.