Short Take – OPM’s Data Security Issues Are Making Background Check Backlog Worse
July 6, 2015
By: Eric Whytsell
In the wake of the massive data breaches that recently hit the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the hacked agency took its Web-based platform for submitting background investigation forms offline until a security flaw can be fixed. The system, known as e-QIP, is expected to be down for four to six weeks while a patch is put in place.
OPM processed roughly 1.2 million background investigations last year and the agency currently receives 20,000 to 30,000 background check requests each week. The high volume has resulted in a processing backlog. Shutting down e-QIP, even temporarily, is almost certain to further exacerbate the problem.
Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who last week wrote OPM to express their concern about the likely disruption, noted that while the downtime may allow OPM to reduce its current backlog it will also mean that new submissions will pile up and flood the system once it’s brought back on-line. In other words, while the information submitted after the security fix may be more secure, it will probably take even longer to process.
Eric Whytsell is responsible for the contents of this Short Take.
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