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Risks in sharing government data

    In response to the January 17 Perspectives column by Shane Robison, "IT glitches in homeland security":

    On the surface (integrating government data) may seem to be an excellent idea. But this may make databases that are shared by government agencies unable to correct wrong data entries. Yes, sharing seems to streamline the intercommunication links, but that could easily backfire on citizens.

    One wrong data entry due to identity theft could cause an innocent citizen to be unable to function. With data sharing, this gets compounded. Or an Immigration Department error could get spread all over the shared databases. For that reason, this could not--and should not--come to pass. That is why the 10-year overhaul would be necessary. Quick fixes usually lead to disasters.

    Alan C. Maskell
    Saugerties, N.Y.