THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
CLINTON ADMINISTRATION AIMS FOR OPEN INFORMATION POLICY
The Clinton Administration has taken a major step to improve the Federal government's policies and capabilities for making information available to the American people.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Leon E. Panetta issued new policies on June 25 for managing government information that encourage agencies to utilize new technologies to improve public access.
Sally Katzen, Administrator of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which is charged with developing and implementing the government's information policies, said that the revisions of OMB Circular A-130 "will help bring the Federal government into the information age. This is a major step toward realizing the vision of a government that uses technology better to communicate with the American people."
OMB Circular A-130, entitled "Management of Federal Information Resources," establishes policy that Federal agencies will follow when acquiring, using, and distributing government information.
"These long-awaited revisions to Circular A-130 are an integral part of the President and Vice-President's technology initiative, announced February 22, 1993," said Katzen. "We will use information technology to make government information available to the public in a timely and equitable manner, via a diverse array of sources, both public and private. We will also ensure that privacy and security interests are protected."
The new circular emphasizes integrated management of information dissemination products. Agency electronic information products, whether computer tapes, CD-ROMs, or on-line services, will fall under the same policy umbrella as printed publications or audiovisual materials. The circular asks agencies to develop and maintain indexes and other tools to make it easier for the public to locate government information.
The circular provides that, generally, the Federal government should recoup only those costs associated with the dissemination of information, and not those associated with its creation or collection. Similarly, it provides that agencies should not attempt to restrict the secondary uses of their information products.
"These policies build on the tradition of open information flow reflected in the Freedom of Information Act," Katzen observed.
"This revision of Circular A-130 marks the beginning, not the end, of our efforts to improve access by and service to the citizen," she added.
She noted that OMB will take other steps to improve the management of information, as part of the Administration's efforts to "reinvent government" and the National Performance Review's mandate to improve all areas of Federal management. In cooperation with the other agencies in the Information Infrastructure Task Force called for in the President's technology initiative, OMB will:
In addition, the Administration will work with Congress to update the Freedom of Information Act with respect to electronic records.
OMB first issued Circular A-130 in 1985. OMB is revising the Circular in two phases. The first phase, issued today, focuses on information policy. An earlier version was the subject of extensive public comment, and the final document reflects those comments. The second phase, to be proposed shortly, will revise the way the government manages its information technology resources.
The revised Circular will be published in the Federal Register on July 2. It is available from the OMB Publications Office (202-395-7332).
The Circular is also available in electronic form. On the Internet use anonymous File Transfer Protocol (FTP) from nis.nsf.net as /omb/omb.a130.rev2 (do not use any capital letters in the file name). For those who do not have FTP capability, the document can be retrieved via mail query by sending an electronic mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org with no subject, and with send omb.a130.rev2 as the first line of the body of the message. It is also available on the Commerce Department's FEDWORLD bulletin board. (Dial 703-321-8020 (N-8-1). New users should register as "NEW".)
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