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Access to Public Records
The Internet is a wonderful tool for providing quick and easy access to information in the public domain. As the public sector furthers the use of the Internet as a means to disseminate information, public officials will be asked increasingly to consider how accessible certain public information should be.
For example, in the wake of September 11, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission scrambled to remove detailed information on nuclear power plant design and security from publicly accessible websites, challenging the notion that public information should be readily available.
Closer to home, many public agencies collect personal information routinely on documents that are considered public information by law. This does not necessarily mean that agencies should not collect this information, or that the documents should be made confidential by law. Indeed there are often compelling purposes for keeping this information open to public scrutiny. However, public administrators must exercise discretion in determining how easily accessible this information should be. Some information may be better kept off-line and remain public via in-person or written requests.
In determining what information to offer in an eGovernment service or on your website, give careful consideration to maintaining an appropriate balance between freedom of access and citizens' desire for privacy.
InforME is always cautious about privacy and security and can provide assistance as you make decisions about public information in an eGovernment application. We can offer various technical solutions to increase the privacy and security of information.
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