The Senate Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan investigation of the Russian cyber attacks on the US election is finding vulnerabilities in the data collection efforts of vulnerable adult sexual abuse victims.
The Senate Intelligence report found that “vulnerable adult sexual assault survivors” had not been properly informed about their rights under the Data Privacy Act (DPPA), the data collected from the vulnerable victims of their abuse and the rights of vulnerable adults to share the information with third parties.
A statement from the Senate Intelligence committee says the committee “found that vulnerable adult rape survivors have not been adequately informed about the protections of the DPA and have not received sufficient information to understand their rights.”
“The committee is deeply concerned that the Committee has identified a number of vulnerabilities in how vulnerable adult data is collected and used by the Department of Justice,” the statement reads.
“We also have concerns that vulnerable adults have not yet been provided information about the rights they have under the DPOA, and that the Department is not being transparent about its compliance with those rights.
We are asking the Department to address these issues and to take further steps to ensure that vulnerable sexual assault victims are not forced to share their personal information with their abusers.”
The statement adds:The Committee’s investigation found that the DOJ is not currently disclosing the information it collects from vulnerable adults and that this information is used in the DPPA, which protects vulnerable adults from being compelled to share personal information.
The report also found that vulnerable Americans’ rights to privacy and confidentiality are violated by the DOJ and the data sharing policies it has in place.
“The Committee finds that DOJ is using a data collection policy that is not compliant with the DPIAs Privacy Rights Protection Act and the National Privacy Principles,” the report says.
“It also finds that data is not fully and consistently stored in accordance with the Privacy Act.”
The Senate’s investigation also found “vulnerabilities” in the DOJ’s Data Management System (DMS) that allow it to collect sensitive personal information from vulnerable adult victims, including names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
“Although vulnerable individuals are not explicitly provided with a list of the entities they can reach out to to receive data, a number are identified in the DHS database,” the Senate report says, adding that DHS has no explanation for why vulnerable Americans who are not already receiving data from the DOJ are unable to reach out for help.”DHS has been unable to provide an explanation for how vulnerable individuals cannot access the DOJ database, including any restrictions on access or privacy of their data, and the Committee is concerned that these issues may be addressed in future releases of the DHS Data Management Service.”
The report notes that DHS’ database is still being updated and has yet to be fully reviewed.
A DOJ spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The DOJ did not respond to requests for comment about the Senate’s findings.