Governmental Transparency, Information Access, and Information Privacy

Governmental Transparency, Information Access, and Information Privacy

Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3003-1.ch002
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Abstract

This chapter explores the tensions that exist among government transparency, information access, and information privacy. Computer technology has the capability to offer much to today’s public organizations. It has the potential to bring about transparency in the way government conducts its business, but information transparency has two countervailing sides and numerous obstacles. The debate over an individual’s right to privacy and the public’s right to information has a long and checkered past, and at no time before has the debate become more critical. The chapter closes with a discussion of the tangential obstacles that often impede government transparency and offers guidelines on how to navigate this thicket of competing demands.
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Governmental Transparency: The Value Of Government Data

Records are the organizational memory that underpins all agency efforts. In addition to effectiveness benefits, record keeping can save costs. Records are defined in the Federal Records Act as “all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government or because of the informational value of the data in them.”

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