When I hear information accountability, I consider two concepts: clean data and data security. Information accountability entails data to be consistent, accurate, reliable and valid. An example of dirty data would be a demographic record of an employee where in one system he is called William, another lists him as Bill, and yet another has him as Will. Yes, the systems are technically correct, but they are not consistent. The lack of consistency could cause search issues and merging data issues. Also, the data needs to be kept up to date. An old phone number or address does not provide much usefulness.
Of course the more publicized issue of information accountability involves data security. Breaches make huge headlines and gains more response from readers. Tomorrow is even National Data Privacy Day (January 28th). Marsan (2012) just finished an article on the 15 worst Internet privacy scandals. Number 6, the "webcamgate," actually happened to a school district close to ours.
During one of regional district technology coordinator meetings, we invited that particular tech coordinator to speak about the event. The event happened during his first month of employment at the district. The district participates in a 1 to 1 program (ie every student receives a district issued laptop). This specific student had lost two previous laptops. His third laptop was reported stolen, so the technician turned on the webcam to see if they could locate the reported stolen laptop. The laptop even though reported stolen was not stolen. The pictures were of the student taking an unidentified substance. These pictures started the press releases and the trouble for the district. The article says that the district had thousands of images, but these images were taken from the security software on the laptops and were really never viewed by anyone. The district did not have policies for their procedures, so the district struggled to defend their actions. After hearing the coordinator take, many of us reviewed our current policies and updated them.Marsan, C. (2012). 15 worst Internet privacy scandals of all time. Network World. Retrieved January 27, 2012 from http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/012612-privacy-scandals-255357.html?page=1.