After flaming out with an initial task force aimed at combating disinformation, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has asked an advisory council to provide him with recommendations on how best to deal with false information that is a threat to the homeland and at the same time be transparent and protect privacy and civil liberties.

Mayorkas on May 18 directed the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) to form a subcommittee on the Assessment of Disinformation Best Practices and Safeguards with recommendations due to the full committee by Aug. 1.

The Disinformation Governance Board lasted several weeks and was shut down last week after suffering sustained attacks from Republicans and right-wing activists and commentators over civil liberties and free speech concerns. Mayorkas announced the board in a congressional hearing nearly a month ago but the Department of Homeland Security never introduced it publicly or to Congress in a coherent, thoughtful way.

Now, Mayorkas is asking experts with broad experience across government, industry and public policy on how DHS can best proceed with efforts on disinformation.

In the last year of the Trump administration, the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency stood up Rumor Control, an effort to confront disinformation and misinformation around national elections. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also has ongoing efforts to thwart disinformation around its aid programs to disaster victims.

Mayorkas had told Congress that one of the aims the Disinformation Governance Board was to unify the department’s ongoing efforts in the disinformation space.

The secretary is seeking recommendations for effective and appropriate ways to “address disinformation that poses a threat to the homeland, while protecting free speech, civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy, including through proposed unified principles to guide the department’s disinformation-related work,” DHS says in a May 26 notice in the Federal Register. Mayorkas also wants recommendations on how the disinformation efforts can be more transparent “to increase trust with the public and other key stakeholders.”

A second tasking calls for the HSAC to establish a subcommittee on the Customer Experience and Service Delivery to seek findings and recommendations on how to improve the department’s services and related customer experiences where it interacts with the public, “including by leveraging technology and other innovations and increasing efficiency.”

DHS interacts with the public in a wide variety of settings, including at airport security and customs checkpoints, border crossings, disaster and immigration assistance, and in the area of cybersecurity.

Mayorkas wants recommendations from this subcommittee in at least three areas, including delivering services to meet customer and community needs through technology and other innovations to reduce burdens on the public, wider use of best practices to improve efficiency and the customer experience, ways to measure customer experience and service delivery effectiveness and ensure that programs and operations are equitable and protect privacy and civil liberties, and finally, how DHS can exchange best practices, knowledge and talent with the private sector in the areas of customer experience and service delivery.

Recommendations of the Customer Experience and Service Delivery subcommittee are due to the HSAC by Oct. 19.