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Government Information

  1. 1. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 1 IST 618—Summer 2008 Issue 1: Government InformationIntroductionIn the post-9/11 world of 2002, 51% of Americans visited government-sponsored websites atsome time, 52% reported they would prefer using an online government service thancommunicating directly with a government facility, and 79% surveyed responded that inter-agency communication resulting from e-government would make the world and the U.S. a saferplace (Hart Teeter, 2002)i.Indeed, President Bush signed the E-Government Act (P.L. 107-347, 44 U.S.C. § 101) into lawon December 17, 2002. Section 2 of the Act specifies one of its purposes "to promote use of theInternet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizenparticipation in government; to promote the use of the Internet and emerging informationtechnologies within and across government agencies to provide citizen-centric governmentinformation and services; and to promote access to high-quality government information andservices across multiple channels."The Act also states, "Electronic government means the use by the government of Web-basedInternet applications and other technologies, combined with processes to implement thesetechnologies to (A) enhance access to and delivery of government information and services tothe public, other agencies, and other government entities; or (B) bring about improvements ingovernment operations that may include effectiveness, efficiency, service quality, ortransformation."Issue QuestionsThe issues to be addressed in this paper are: 1. When should government provide access to documents, and when should it be left to the private sector? 2. Should data quality regulations be used to keep agencies unbiased in their postings? 3. Does making documents accessible over the web eliminate the need for printing documents?Also, across the paper we will address the following question: 4. What should the priorities be regarding e-Government for the next administration?First, we will address it generally, but also specifically based on the recommendations madewithin each of the first three questions.
  2. 2. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 2 IST 618—Summer 2008BackgroundThe creation of the Federal Register in 1935, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA, 5U.S.C., 1966) that came of out itii, served to hold government agencies transparent in theirdecision-making by requiring agencies to publish their documents making them available to thepublic. There were nine discretionary exemptions to withhold information, however, andsuccessive administrations have either sought to expand the use of these exemptions to legitimizewithholding information (e.g., the current Bush Administration) or frame the act as what JanetReno called a “presumption of disclosure” under the Clinton Administration. The administrationunder Clinton required legal basis not to distribute information, whereas the Bush Administrationbroadened the “sensitive but un-classified” (SBU) exemption to withhold records unless therewas legal basis not to. This was buttressed by assurances the Department of Justice would defenddecisions of withholding based on its “values” and “homeland security,” whose definition wasleft to the discretion of individual cases and agencies (Feinberg, 2004). Amongst many otherdiscrepancies with the intentions of FOIA, it now justified withholding SBU information whoseeffects merely “could” instead of “would” cause harmiii and no longer based withholdingdocuments merely upon their content, but also on what it perceived the individuals “intent” inusing the information might beiv.Documents classified by executive order have processes of declassification, are subject tooversight and internal/judicial appeals. The rules were clear, and even with SBU information,they were applied sparsely and consistentlyv. Now, the arbitrary use of “For official use only”(FOUO), amongst other new mantras for SBU, is creating information havoc and extremebacklogging. Different agencies apply arbitrary standards to withhold; records traditionallyavailable are now more difficult to access, just disappear, or are retroactively classified as secret;and new categories of information are now being sub-contracted out to private companies notunder legal FOIA obligations, and are charging citizens for the information services legally partof their rights as taxpayers funding the information creation process.Thus, the initial intention of Bush’s signing the E-Government Act has been undermined fromwithin. As one observer writesvi, “Public perception and use of e-government services has shiftedfrom viewing it as a tool to hold government more accountable in favor of a mechanism to aid inprotecting the U.S. from further terrorist attacks.” Other advocacy groups for open governmenthave issued similar low marksvii. For example, reported that between1977 and 2000 SBU (or “state secrets privelege”) was invoked 59 times, and 38 times since2001; that is a rate of 2.46 times a year compared to the Bush Administration’s 5.85viii. Theadministration itself has recently recognized that the proliferation of SBU labels ad hoc hashindered information sharing in its fight against terrorism across agencies down through the stateand local levels, and in response has narrowed SBU from hundreds to only three labels (called“Controlled Unclassified Information” or CUI)ix. While a good step in damage control,expiration dates need be applied to these new categories and NARA (National Archives andRecords Administration)—the agency in charge of the changes—needs appropriate funding toimplement the new directive as part of the agencies’ information handling processes, somethingthat could take five years according to the directive.
  3. 3. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 3 IST 618—Summer 2008The Electronic Communications Preservation Act (H.R. 5811, 2008) places NARA in charge ofstandardizing and certifying the up-to-now discretionary preservation practices of federalagencies in communicating federal decision-making. Some estimate millions of emails “lost”during the Bush Administrationx. Also, the Open Government Act (5 U.S.C. Sec. 552) speeds upFOIA request processing times to 20 days (in response to requests often taking months or beingignored outright), assigns tracking numbers to requests, and nullifies research/copying costs ifdeadlines are not met. This, however, does nothing to restore the presumption of disclosurexi.Even so, most recently the current administration seeks to repeal part of the OPEN GovernmentAct and place NARA, the agency now responsible for both electronic preservation and CUIoversight, under the auspices of the Department of Justice, the very agency that defends otheragencies attempts at keeping information hiddenxii.PerspectiveThis paper is written from the perspective of first a U.S. taxpayer, and second an informationprofessional. I defend the Principles of Public Information outlined by the National Commissionon Libraries and Information Science in 1990 which state “Government agencies shouldguarantee open, timely and uninhibited access to public information except where restricted bylaw. People should be able to access public information, regardless of its format, without anyspecial training or expertise.”xiii My perspective is also a reflection of my priorities for the nextadministration. I begin here with three fundamental priorities I consider essential.What should the general priorities be regarding e-Government for the nextadministration?The first and most fundamental priority of the new administration should be to re-establish clearguidelines adjudicating the exemptions (e.g., SBU) under which kinds of information are to bewithheld from the public. That is, a presumption of disclosure should be the norm. The burden ofproof should not fall on the public to defend why information should not be withheld (i.e., todefend their right to access), as it is under the current administration. It was Jefferson who notedthe importance of an informed citizenry for a functioning democracy. This includes the “right toknow,” to know even the conditions under which information will be withheld, without requiringfrom citizens justification for their “need to know”xiv. It also assumes government operates “forthe people by the people.” Without a presumption of unfettered access, citizens cannot performtheir democratic function as “watchers,” and nor will they want to if they have to justifythemselves watching. In such cases, “national security” becomes not only an issue of externalthreat, but also one of internal threat. At the very least, we cannot be enemies of ourselvesxv.Under a presumption of disclosure, government agencies at every level can stop pro- or retro-active “web-scrubbing” for SBU information or information that is ideologically unsavory tothose in chargexvi, a micro-management process mired in communication inefficiencies regardingboth what to publish and what not to publish when and to which groups and with what “intent”.Coursey & Norris (2008), for example, show evidence of more e-government growth in
  4. 4. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 4 IST 618—Summer 2008sophistication (e.g., online transactional capacity) at the local level between 2000 and 2002, thanbetween 2002 and 2004, attributing it to the trickling down effects of higher-level agenciestinkering with content, and with the lack of revenue and technical staffxvii . When resources aredevoted to what the Washington non-profit group OMB-Watch calls the “constant attack onaccess”, more money, time and human resources are spent discovering ways to hide informationinstead of improving security, infrastructure, and inter-agency communicationxviii. Indeed, soonafter e-Government’s initiation, the United States General Accounting Office (GAO) reportedthat the 24 initiatives initially set up by OMB to execute the Act, many failed to address the BushAdministration’s stated goals, specifically that of inter-agency collaboration and customer focus,and mechanisms for monitoring agency progress (GAO, 2002)xix.When these resources are freed up, we can focus on other priorities. A second priority is inter-agency communication, horizontal and vertical. A governing body such as the National Archivesand Records Administration (NARA) should be funded for overseeing the continuingdevelopment of government directories such as or, in order to firstlyincorporate all federal agencies and their information portals, but also the information noworganized by the both the private and non-profit sectors, as we will discuss. This will havesecondary effects, important to our first priority. As I’ve already reported: in a survey, HartTeeter (2002) found that 79% of people thought that inter-agency communication resulting frome-government would make the world and the U.S. a safer place, and 52% would definitely use itsservices, were they freexx. Is the government serving its people? In another article, West (2004)argues that a proper execution of e-government would indeed do the opposite of what it hasdone: “enhance democratic responsiveness and boost beliefs that government is effectivexxi,”which are the fundamental tenets of the act itself. Inter-agency communication must focus itsefforts both on security (see next priority) during information transfer, but also on non-redundancy. It must be clearly established which agency is responsible for which source ofdata/information. This is not always intuitive, and redundancy cannot always be avoided. Hence,more importantly, NARA must establish guidelines for the structure and format of governmentdata, to ensure ease in transfer and storage, as well as ease in creating mash-ups shouldrequesters be interested in comparing two sources of data from distinct agencies. This would alsoease the forward migration of data when technology changes.Coursey & Norris (2008) find that local governments lack technological resources due “to thelack of financial resources, as local governments find it hard to compete with the private sectorfor skilled information technology staff” (p. 9). Firstly, local governments should have verticalaccess to information above, in order that they are not using unnecessary resources oninformation that already exists. Also, government at the state and local levels can begin utilizinga common architecture for information. A good example is, for whichxxxxx is equivalent to the zip code for that community. While the content will obviously differ,states and local governments need depend less on formal architecture and security, but insteadcan focus their limited budgets on content.A third priority must be security. It is this author’s opinion that the security of U.S. Governmentinformation become a priority of the Government itself, and not be relegated to the private sectorper se, where FOIA obligations are non-binding and other interests than informing citizenry areoperative. As I discuss in the next section, the private sector’s current control over some
  5. 5. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 5 IST 618—Summer 2008government data must be a temporary step towards reducing the current backlog created throughproblems I noted in the first priority. Again, instead of figuring out how to hide information, wecan improve security. Despite security measures being federally mandated, Americans still worryabout the protection of their data and about hackers breaking into government computers. In2002 only 34% of government websites had visible security policies (Hart-Teeter, 2002).However, this should not imply customer payment for entry, as has been the trend (West, 2002),and nor should it imply securing down a separate non-ISP inter-agency network intranetbackbone (i.e., GOVnet) inaccessible to citizens as proposed by Richard Clark of the U.S.National Security Council. Instead, NARA should be in charge of overseeing each agency’sdevelopment of a systems-architecture that takes security measures commensurate with thelevels of security each agency requires. This will restore user-confidence that requests are secure,that the data they submit is secure, and that government data/information release follow pre-established rules of classification and secrecy, and hence respects each citizen’s rights to accessand make informed decisions regarding the information, regardless of intent.When should government provide access to documents, and when should it be left to theprivate sector?Due to the huge inefficiencies exacerbated by government secrecy, and literally thousands ofcomplaints regarding extreme delays in processing FOIA requests, a the private sector has takenresponsibility for publishing government or government-funded information in a few differentways.First, private companies whose owners are retired FOIA officers, some with extant securityclearances, are being subcontracted to handle all aspects of the request process, includingretrieval, review, and redaction. The Departments of Defense, State, Energy, Transportation allsub-contract data processing. While experts have lauded their successxxii, they are criticized forbasing procurement rates on “market value”. Also, as one company spokesperson for a companysubcontracted for work with the Federal Data Procurement System said: “We like to meet withfolks and find out how they are using the data to provide a real-time access to the databasexxiii.”Thus again, withholding, not disclosure, is the norm. We suggest that policy be directed atmaking requesters self-sufficient in their requests. In other words, classification and SBUlabeling should happen prior to requests, in theory and practice, so that eventually requesters canseek their own data, and in doing so see reasons why data was denied them or anybody, and thatsuch decisions were made prior to their request. While filling the huge backlog of requests willtake time, if outsourcing is to be used, its goal should be not only to catch up, but also tostreamline the process with a goal of requester self-sufficiency in mind. Also, private companieswhose goal is to profit off the venture, especially if profiting off of the requester, will beavoided; instead, the group will be compensated through government funding for their work atorganization and structuring, with the intention of handing over the administration of thedatabase to the agency initially in charge of its creation/procurement.Additionally, Jerry Brito published an article in the Columbia Science and Technology LawReview detailing how agencies exacerbate and even discourage access to data due tocumbersome and non-structured formats. The House and Senate offices in Washington, for
  6. 6. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 6 IST 618—Summer 2008instance, grudgingly allow online-access to their database of financial disclosures of members ofCongress, pushing requesters to the paper recordxxiv. Thus, again, the first and second priorities Ilist are fundamental. The database is there, but unused, as requesters are presumable required tolegitimize their need for the electronic versions. In response, some third-party groups have takenit upon themselves to achieve what their government has failed, and initiated open-sourceformats for easy searching, retrieval, and even information mash-up., forexample, one of many projects, has digitized the paper records of the financial disclosures ofmembers of Congress, in a free searchable database. OMB Watch also publishes a website,, that allows access to federal contract spending and financial was developed by a graduate student to track legislation information; is a database of voting records and campaign finance records which offers aunique perspective into money-politics interactions. Another trend is “crowdsourcing,” whichemploys online user communities to digest large amounts of information in short periods of, for example, provided overnight commentary on 3,000 pages ofdocuments surrounding the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys, and published it for usersxxv. We agreewith Brito, and suggest that as an alternative to outsourcing to private interests, government takeadvantage of the open-source work we cite here. They can do so by first releasing publicinformation in a structured, and open format, so that more non-profit bodies can re-structurethem for public use. Government should also keep track of these websites, and incorporate theminto their fledgling directories, or We again urge that an independentgovernment agency such as NARA be funded and held responsible for oversight andimplementation of such systems.Oversight must also be established to draws lines between the creeping influence private sectorhas over research funded by the public. According to the Federal Research Public Access Act(FRPAA)(S.2695, 2006), any research funded by taxpayer money will be made freely availableto the public no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed periodical. This is thelegislative response to the case of PubScience, an open database of over 1,400 scientificperiodicals made available by the Department of Energy. Private interests claimed thegovernment was in competitive conflict with business-interests, and it was shut downxxvi. Weapplaud the Department of Energy for making the database available as a peer-reviewedalternative to literature in the scientific and technical fields, and cite it as an example of thecooperative kinds of ventures we propose. While the private sector claims many arguments todefend the move, many people, including universitiesxxvii, are beginning to publicly confront theonline-database publishing industry’s stronghold over access to taxpayer funded researcharticles. There is evidence that illustrates journals would not be affected at all. In the case ofphysics, where articles have been freely available online for over 10 years, journal subscriptionshave not taken a hitxxviii. The question becomes how both forms of the database can cooperate toform an alliance, or whether Acts like FRPAA and initiatives such as Harvard’s open repositorywill slowly force private sector controlled databases to open, or at least charge less money forpublic accessxxix.Should data quality regulations be used to keep agencies unbiased in their postings?
  7. 7. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 7 IST 618—Summer 2008The Data Quality Act (DQA) is also known as the Information Quality Act. The law (P.L. 106-554) amends the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501). It requires the Office ofManagement and Budget to oversee the federal government in guidelines regarding the creationof quality data. According to the Act, agencies are first required to issue their own data qualityguidelinesxxx, and then establish “administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons to seekand obtain correction of information” if they find the quality of data disseminated by federalagencies does not meet standards that maximize “quality, objectivity, utility and integrity ofinformation…disseminated.” It also allows for an appeals process for those who disagree with anagency’s verdict on any suits filed.Many report that the purpose of the act was for Congress to prevent harm that may result shouldthe new proliferation of government websites disseminate inaccurate information. However,many others, including the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy (SKAPP)xxxi andOMB Watchxxxii, say the bill was inserted last-second as a rider to the Treasury and GeneralGovernment Appropriations Act by the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness, an industry-sponsored group, and hence had no hearings nor recorded debate. Proponents of the law includethe US Chamber of commerce, which claims the law “regulates the regulators”, while the criticsmaintain the rider “builds on an industry lobbying effort to put roadblocks in the regulatoryprocessxxxiii.”We agree with OMB Watch, and believe the DQA should be submitted to a full review andannulled. In 2004 the group reported that OMB undercounted by a factor of three the number ofrequests for correction, and that at least 72% of the challenges came from the private-sector. Weargue the directive is misguided and self-defeating in its intention to ensure the “objectivity,”“integrity,” and “utility” of scientific research as part of the process of creating public policy.This once again is a reiteration of a tendency towards government disruption of a presumption ofdisclosure, replacing it with a presumption of “uncertainty,” twisting the way science has beenconceived since Francis Baconxxxiv. Take atrazine, a very profitable weedkiller that has repeatedlybeen shown to disrupt the hormone cycles of certain creatures (e.g., frogs) in wildlife. A higherincidence of prostate cancer was also found amongst males in Louisiana, where Syngentaproduces the chemical. A petition was filed under DQA and concluded that hormone disruption“is not an acceptable reason to restrict a chemical’s use—because the government had not settledon an officially accepted test for measuring such disruption,” but also because other Syngenta-funded researchers reported they could not reproduce the results. Many scientists, nevertheless,have called atrazine’s effects conclusive and “one of the best studied chemicals.” But due to theindustry-funded process of “manufacturing uncertaintyxxxv,” and now with DQA, policy-makerscannot say that it “conclusively” causes these health problems.Air bags, second-hand smoke, condom use, breast-cancer, the health benefits of marijuana, andmany other environmental and health issues are being subjected to a litany of unnecessarylegislation. The legislation is not coming from individuals, but from industry attempting to usethe legislative process in the name of “regulation” and “objectivity” to stymie scientific resultsthat render their interests less profitable. It also comes from groups with ideological interests atheart, attempting to use public policy to sway the public’s opinion on particular issues (e.g.,
  8. 8. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 8 IST 618—Summer 2008condom and marijuana use) regardless of science, instead of allowing individuals to make theirown decisions after a review of the “facts” science attempts to accumulate and present.Industry and public interest groups have every right to submit scientific research, but science hasbeen conceptualized to regulate itself through processes such as double-blind peer-reviews andtest-retest reproducibility. Science is falsifiable, whose object is to arrive at theories that are “lessbad” than others, the others of which become null or untenablexxxvi. You cannot “prove”scientific theories, but this regulation is written such that if problems are found, the public mustbear the risk until science can “prove” that there is no risk. This is strikingly similar to what wediscussed as a “presumption of disclosure.” We strongly urge this bill to be repealed, and requesta judicial review of all the cases that have gone before the OMBxxxvii. We suggest no alternative,but instead suggest that lawmakers begin adopting legislation to protect science from thecreeping intervention of the interests of the private sector. And we suggest that governmentagencies reflect the ongoing “debate” in science regarding the questions at issue, so thatconsumers of can make informed choices regarding its content and origin. This can be done notby making definitive statements based on a non-existent “objectivity/non-objectivity”dualismxxxviii , but instead by educating the public about the complexity of the issues involved, thedifferent points of view, and basic recommendations based current scientific consensus, or themost up-to-date theory that does the least harm and is the “less bad.”Does making documents accessible over the web eliminate the need for printingdocuments?The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) serves to reduce the amount ofpaperwork burden imposed on the public, while insuring the utility and quality of federalinformation. The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (P.L. 105-277) amends PRA toinclude promoting the advancement of information technology to replace the use of paper withelectronic processes. It allows the public to submit, transact, and maintain records electronicallywith federal government agencies, as well as enforces the legal validity of an individual’selectronic signature in representing him or herself. While we fully support the initiatives of thisact, we would pressure government to repeal the requirement that the act remain “technology-neutral.” While it does permit an agency to use a technology commensurate with its needs, itdisallows inter-agency transmission of information both horizontally and vertically. OMB, whooversees the act, should constrain the use of technologies that both respect the digital-divide intheir backward compatibility, but also avoid technologies that do not allow inter-agency datamigration due to proprietary or technological incompatibilities.For instance, XML has become the standard of the IRS as part of the IRS Restructuring andReform Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-206, 112 Stat. 685). When data is coded with XML, the tags allowdata recognition across server-, system-, and application-types. Amongst other benefits in speed,efficiency, and cost, it also “will reduce the redundancy of multiple state and federal filings facedby employers” and by individuals, and “provide a valuable link between tax and financialreporting” to “increase the transparency of tax-exempt organizations” as it “serves as both a taxreturn and a financial statementxxxix.”
  9. 9. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 9 IST 618—Summer 2008With an e-signature, it is no longer necessary that the IRS maintain paper-based copies ofindividual’s tax returns. In such cases, however, legislation is required that establishesregulations for how this electronic data is to be maintained and secured in multiple locations,such that it is neither at the mercy of natural disaster nor cyber-crime. XML, in this case, securesforward-migration issues, and thus open-source data-structuring formats allow for agencies toshare data, reduce redundancies between agencies.The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP, P.L. 106-554) is a program initially funded by Congress. They established goals to define the kinds ofinformation worthy of preservation, the types of management systems and infrastructure requiredfor its preservation, how this will be financed, and the sticky issues of creating incentives fordoing soxl. Their mission reads: “Develop a national strategy to collect, archive and preserve theburgeoning amounts of digital content, especially materials that are created only in digitalcontents, for current and future generations.” Thus, it is clear that digital content needs to bepreserved as digital content, and we fully support the continued funding of this initiative andothers like it. For example, with web pages having an alarmingly short-life span, groups like theWayback Machine ( are beginning to archive their content andstructure, a medium completely unsuitable for printing. This archive already contains 85 billionweb pages, with almost 2 petabytes of data “growing at a rate of 20 terabytes per month,” moretext than contained in the Library of Congress.We propose that the U.S. government also begin to archive the month-by-month evolution of itsown websites, as well as the forms and transactions it undertakes, as a “running digital record” ofe-government. We argue that NARA should again be funded to undertake this initiative, whichwill both serve as a glimpse into the history of the United States, but will also allow for thegovernment to be held accountable for what it publishes, distributes, and promotes to the public.Data and transactions, however, are the responsibility (as previously suggested) of the individualagencies. We argue that if a record was initiated and completed electronically, it need only bepreserved electronically. Exceptional cases may warrant printing, however, but rules andguidelines need be established for such cases (e.g., a future document like the Declaration ofIndependence would certainly warrant the preservation of a paper version). NDIIPP should alsoperhaps work in coordination with NARA in order to establish and outline the rules that willserve to discriminate those digitally produced resources requiring simultaneous print-preservation, and those which are to remain “merely” digital.Other groups like Google are spending huge amounts of resources digitizing analog collectionsfor future usexli. This is contentious for reasons of copyright infringement. However, it alsobrings into question whether it will dilute standards of preservation for analog materials such asunique books, photographs, cultural artifacts, and original historical documents. The currentALA , AAM (American Association of Museums), and SAA (Society of American Archivist)rules should remain in effect.Conclusion
  10. 10. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 10 IST 618—Summer 2008Cyber-optimism is the belief that technological change will take care of itselfxlii. Whilephilosophically up for debate, as human actors it behooves us to form policy that foresees thehuman, national and international consequences of an ungoverned Internet. U.S. Policy mustwork to respect the rights of it citizens to unlimited access to information unless that informationfit pre-established forms of classification or “sensitivity.” The government must justify why itcannot release information, and reverse the trend that requires citizens to justify their need. Thisis at odds with our Constitution, and until a presumption of disclosure is re-established, theimportant business of inter-agency communication and Internet security will be stifled, and thegovernment will continue neglecting its responsibility to its people of making the country and theworld a safer and better place to live and do business.      Notes:i Hart-Teeter. (2002). E-Government: To Connect, Protect, and Serve Us. The Council forExcellence in Government.ii The Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 (5 U.S.C. 1001-1011) became the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)of 1966 (5 U.S.C. 552), was expanded again in 1974 (P.L. 93-502), then amended in both 1986 tightening controls(FOI Reform Act, P.L. 99-570), and was loosened again in 1996 and encompassed electronic records in E-FOIA(P.L. 104-231).iii Department of Homeland Security, Management Directive System, C, Information Designated as FUOU, (e), (f),(j).iv See Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2003 at 5 U.S.C. 5(a)(3)(A) and (E), which prohibits release ofinformation from 5 agencies to specific types of people.v Typically, reports Feinberg (2004), to three types of information: atomic energy, patents, and technical informationrelated to arms control/space/satellites and dual-use (military-civilian) Matthews, William. (February 27, 2002). Perception of E-Gov Shifting. Federal Computer Week. Olsen, Florence. (September 7, 2007). Government earns low marks for openness. Federal Computer Week. See Brain, Ben (May 19, 2008). President orders agencies to simplify data labeling. Federal Computer Week. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (April, 16, 2008). Legislation introduced to improve federalrecordkeeping. Federation of American Scientists (January 02, 2008). New FOIA law does not “restore presumption ofopenness.” Secrecy News. Mitchell, Kirsten B. (February 6, 2008). Bush seeks to reverse open records move. Principles of Public Information, U.S. National Commission of Libraries and Information Science GAO, August 2002, 55–57.xv See Miriam Drake (June 3, 2008). Government doublethink: Protection or suppression of This has been documented from sites divergent as ABC Nightline interviews the Agency for InternationalDevelopment director, to statements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention removing information on
  11. 11. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 11 IST 618—Summer 2008condom use for STD prevention, to statements form the National Cancer Institute removing statements regarding thenon-relationship between abortion and breast cancer. We’ll discuss this in the Data Quality Act section.xvii See Coursey & Norris (2008). Models of e-government: Are they correct? An empirical assessment. PublicAdministration Review, 68(3), and also Norris & Moon (2005). Advancing e-government at the grassroots: Tortoiseor hare? Public Administration Review, 65(1).xviii See United States General Accounting Office: Report to the Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate(November, 2002). Electronic government: Selection and implementation of the Office of Management andBudget’s 24 initiatives. Hart-Teeter. (2002). E-Government: To Connect, Protect, and Serve Us. The Council forExcellence in Government.xxi West, D (2004). E-government and the transformation of service delivery and customer attitudes. PublicAdministration Review, 64(1).xxii Lee, Christopher (June 8, 2004). On FOIA front, more agencies contract out: Private firms have growing role inhandling backlogs of requests for government records. Washington Post. Cited in Feinberg, L. (2004). FOIA, federal information policy, and information availability in a post-9/11 world.Government Information Quarterly, 21(4).xxiv Brito, J. (2008). Hack, Mash, & Peer: Crowdsourcing Government Transparency. Columbia Science andTechnology Review, 119. ibid., but also see: OMB Watch (May 28, 2008). A failure of access, a shortcoming of technology. Olsen, Stefanie (Novemer 21, 2002). Government agency pulls Web site. Cnet Harvard University is the first university to establish its own repository of scientific articles by its faculty, withaccess open to all. See Cohen, Patricia (February 12, 2008). At Harvard, a proposal to publish free on web. The NewYork Times. For many other articles,see Ibid.xxix Salem, J.A. (2003). Public  and  private  sector  interests  in  e-­‐‑government:  a  look  at  the  DOEʹs  PubSCIENCE.  Government  Information  Quarterly,  20(15).xxx The Guidelines can be found at OMB’s website: Information quality act: History and guidelines. OMB Watch (May 28, 2002). Background on Data Quality Guidelines. ibid.xxxiv Herrick, C.N. (2004). Objectivity versus narrative coherence: science, environmental policy, and the US DataQuality Act. Environmental Science & Policy, 7(5).xxxv Weiss, Rick (August 16, 2004). ‘Data Quality’ law is nemesis of regulation. The Washington Post., acquired from the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness.xxxvi Popper, K (1934). The Logic of Scientific Discovery. Routledge.xxxvii The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness maintains a list of “Definitive Data Quality Articles,” and works tooverturn DQA. See Herrick, C.N. (2004). Objectivity versus narrative coherence: science, environmental policy, and the US DataQuality Act. Environmental Science & Policy, 7(5).xxxix Gara, S.C., Karim, K.E., & Pinsker, R.E. (December, 2005). The benefits of XML implementation for taxfiling and compliance. The CPA Journal. The program is led by the Library of Congress, and can be found at:
  12. 12. Stephen J. Stose Government Information 12 IST 618—Summer 2008xli Walker, Leslie (May 18, 2006). Google’s goal: A worldwide web of books. The Washington Post. Norris, Pippa (2001). Digital Divide: Civic Engagement, Information Poverty, and the Internet Worldwide.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.