2002 FLICC Forum on Federal Information
Introduction and Keynote Address
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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 generals 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 governments 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 practicessuch as FOIA, mail handling, privacy, public Web site management and agency physical accessthat have modified the publics ability to retrieve federal information.
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