The president said the burden should be on the administration to prove why documents must be secret.
Citizens and journalists seeking information from the federal government will likely have an easier time of it, thanks to an order from U.S. President Barack Obama.
Obama told government agencies Wednesday to err on the side of releasing information whenever possible, instead of withholding it. Obama said that when agencies respond to Freedom of Information Act requests, they should lean toward openness rather than secrecy. He said that if an agency finds legal justification to withhold information, the agency is not necessarily obligated to withhold the information.
Obama promised that, when his administration believes there is reason to withhold information, it would consult with lawyers to make sure there is good reason to keep the information out of the public's view.
"Information will not be withheld just because I said so," Obama said during a press conference Wednesday. "It will be withheld because a separate authority believes it is well-founded in the Constitution."
The National Security Archive at George Washington University was among several organizations to criticize the federal government for its secrecy over the last several years. Archive reports stated that just one in five federal agencies complied with 10-year-old legislation to supply information online.
A report from the University of Michigan last year found that more citizens were dissatisfied with the federal government's Web sites in 2008 than they had been in 2007. The American Customer Satisfaction Index on E-Government Satisfaction did say that some dissatisfaction could have been a result of delays as government agencies waited for signals on whether the next president would promote expanded access to government records online.
Time to Reconsider Enterprise Email StrategyCost, time, and risk. It's the demand trifecta vying for the attention of both technology professionals and attorneys charged with balancing the expectations of their clients and business units with the hard reality of the current financial and regulatory climate. Sometimes, organizations assume high levels of risk as a result of their inability to meet the costs involved in data protection. In other instances, it's time that's of the essence, as with a data breach.
5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.