Congress Passes Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018

Congress has passed the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018. The legislation, championed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), includes new requirements for federal agencies to establish senior leaders for program evaluation and data coordination to help agencies produce and use evidence, strengthens privacy protections for confidential data, and directs government to make secure access to data more available to generate evidence. In a statement to Congress last year, EPIC expressed support for the findings of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking — Congress established the Commission to study how data across the federal government could be combined to improve public policy while protecting privacy. EPIC filed comments with the Commission urging adoption of Privacy Enhancing Techniques, such as anonymization, that minimize or eliminate the collection of personal data. The National Academies of Sciences released a report last year that examined how disparate federal data sources can be used for policy research while protecting privacy.

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