Video Presentation

2002 FLICC Forum on Federal Information Policies
Introduction and Keynote Address


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Forum Call

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many government agencies have changed Web sites, FOIA practices, physical premises access, and perhaps even their publishing practices, to improve information security. To bolster these efforts, U.S. government leaders have supported greater scrutiny in releasing government information to the public (e.g., the attorney general’s October 12, 2001 policy statement on fulfilling FOIA requests) while acknowledging that information sharing WITHIN the government, among the various agencies, is of vital importance to the national security. At the same time, Congress passed the U.S. Patriots Act which may, in the interest of national security, modify some of the privacy protections that have limited use of personal information collected by the government.

How have actions since September 11, 2001 affected the government’s information policies? Are agencies still responding to most FOIA requests in the same manner as before the terrorist attacks, or are they less likely to meet requestor demands? Is important information once available to the public, either on-site at the agency or via the Internet, no longer accessible? Has Web information removed from public Web sites been lost to internal government researchers as well? Or has the criticality of sharing government intelligence across agencies finally opened up opportunities to develop interagency systems to make this sharing practicable? How will this sharing affect the privacy rights of U.S. citizens? How should federal libraries and information centers respond to these changes? Finally, how will government mail security initiatives affect the quality of federal library collections?

The Forum began with an administration policy update from Viet Dinh, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Policy, Department of Justice. Morning panelists reviewed changes in agency policies and practices—such as FOIA, mail handling, privacy, public Web site management and agency physical access—that have modified the public’s ability to retrieve federal information.

The afternoon featured Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) on the impact of the changes resulting from enhanced “Homeland Security” on access to federal information by those both inside and outside the government. The afternoon panel further explored accomplishments in and future prospects for interagency information sharing, including what systems and standards are needed to improve security while aiding information flow among government units. They also discussed techniques agencies use to back up and secure sensitive information to ensure its integrity and persistence. The closing speaker, Visiting Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School Peter Swire, provided his perspective on changes in privacy policy and practices since September 11, 2001.

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Presented at the FLICC Forum on Federal Information Policies on March19, 2002, this video is part of a series of new FLICC/FEDLINK online educational videos. For more information, or to send comments or questions, please send email to [email protected]


Library of Congress (Updated July 2002)
Comments: Library of Congress Help Desk