@Info.Policy: To name or not to name? That is the question

Should names of federal employees be protected from public disclosure on privacy grounds? The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals recently sustained withholding, under the Freedom of Information Act, the names of IRS employees involved in an audit of a nonprofit association.

@Info.Policy: Protecting data about infrastructures could be too big a task

Sept. 11, 2001, sparked widespread re-examination of information disclosure policies. It isn't clear, however, that the response makes much sense to date.

Cybersecurity

@Info.Policy: DHS: no magic bullet for security

Last December, the Markle Foundation of New York advocated a trusted information network to improve our homeland security. The foundation brought together a balanced, high-level task force to prepare a report that's worth a look, at <a href= "http://www.markle.org">www.markle.org</a>.

Cybersecurity

@Info.Policy: An inch closer to a privacy disaster

For nearly 30 years, individuals have used the Privacy Act of 1974 to access their own records held by federal agencies. The act allows disclosure under many circumstances, including with the data subject's written consent. That sounds easy, but the consent onion has many layers.

@Info.Policy: Can FTC really can spam?

If you have an e-mail address, you are likely a spam recipient. At the end of 2003, my spam count was 150 to 200 messages per day. That's about the time Congress passed the 2003 Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act. Today's question is whether Can-Spam is likely to be enforced.

@Info.Policy: A nation of SSN junkies

All 19 hijackers in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks had Social Security numbers. They knew the importance of having an SSN to function in American society.

Cybersecurity

@Info.Policy: What's hidden in that document you posted?

How careful are you about placing agency documents on the Web? A casual posting can include unseen changes, comments or other elements not intended for public consumption. Here are a couple of embarrassing examples.

Cybersecurity

Info.Policy: Tag! Your privacy's it

Technology doesn't invade privacy. People who use and misuse technology invade privacy.

@Info.Policy: Legislate IT security? When pigs fly

One line that always gets a laugh from an audience is, 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.' Or how about, 'I'm from Congress, and I will pass legislation to improve computer security.' Bet you're rolling on the floor over that one, too.

@Info.Policy: What does FTC's Do Not Call list really protect?

The Federal Trade Commission's new National Do Not Call Registry has gotten its share of attention and praise. Will it really stop telemarketing calls? My guess is, not well enough. Plus, the FTC violated the Privacy Act of 1974 in the way it set up the list.

@Info.Policy: Red tape is threat to FOIA

Is the Freedom of Information Act as we know it near the end of its useful life?Don't get me wrong'the case for open government is just as strong as it ever was, or stronger. The question is whether the FOIA is being proceduralized to death.

@Info.Policy: NARA leaves leadership up to the marketplace

For years, the National Archives and Records Administration has been an easy target because of its lack of leadership in preserving electronic records. Until recently, it was telling agencies desperate for guidance to print out the records and toss the electronic versions.

Cybersecurity

@Info.Policy: We can balance privacy and protection in the United States

It's been a different world since Sept. 11, 2001. Events have forced constant reconsideration of the balance between privacy and security.

@Info.Policy: HSD's privacy officer has a tough job ahead

Last year's law establishing the Homeland Security Department has some intriguing privacy provisions. The most visible requires a senior official to assume primary responsibility for privacy policy'the first statutory privacy office in any federal agency.

@Info.Policy: Openness of government records benefits all

The United States is a leader when it comes to making government documents available to citizens. For all its flaws, our Freedom of Information Act was the first modern, open-records law anywhere in the world.

@Info.Policy: Scrub-a-dub isn't always smart Web policy

There are many reasons to remove information from an agency Web site. Data becomes obsolete. An office moves to a new home. Political winds blow in new directions, and an agency that was pro-gizmo is now anti-gizmo. A new view of security leads to a reassessment of disclosure policy.

@Info.Policy: Flap is brewing over federal Web privacy policies

The E-Government Act of 2002 has privacy provisions that affect agency Web sites. Let's take a closer look.

@Info.Policy: Total Info project is totally doomed

By now, you probably know something about the Defense Department's Total Information Awareness program. That's the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's data mining project headed by the infamous John Poindexter of Iran-contra fame.

@Info.Policy: Are e-gov act's privacy reviews a hollow demand?

So much legislation with information policy implications passed at the tail end of the 107th Congress that it will take a long time to digest it all. I thought I would start with the E-Government Act of 2002.

@INFO.POLICY: 'Litigation Guide' to privacy laws isn't just for lawyers

A new edition of an existing book is rarely worth much discussion, but I am very pleased to see the return of the FOIA Litigation Guide. The book, Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws 2002, is the best one-volume guide to the Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act of 1974, Government in the Sunshine Act and Federal Advisory Committee Act that I know of. The last edition was published in 1997.

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