July 01, 2009
By Robert B. Townsend
The federal government is currently seeking information on its declassification policies, and is doing so through a blog—offering a high-level test of the value of Web 2.0. The Declassification Policy Forum was launched as part of the White House’s Open Government blog yesterday. The initiative is being run by the federal Public Interest Declassification Board, as part of an ongoing review of declassification policies by the new administration.
The Declassification Policy Forum will be used to solicit recommendations for revisions to the current policy in four topical areas: Declassification Policy (June 29 – July 1), a National Declassification Center (July 2 – July 4), Classification Policy (July 5 – July 7), and Technology Challenges and Opportunities (July 8 – July 10). The first posting asks if members of the public are satisfied with the governing declassification policy (laid out in Section 3 of Executive Order 12958), and asks for more specific assessments of what has worked, what hasn’t, and how the policy can and should be revised. Once posted, each topic will be available for comments for three days. At the conclusion of the third day, the comment function on the topic will be turned off and the next topic will begin the following day. After each topic closes, a concluding summary will be posted.
Given the importance of the issues involved, and the very short window of opportunity for making comments, members who work with federal records are strongly encouraged to actively engage participate in the blog—demonstrating our community’s concern about these issues, and support for this novel way of involving the general public in the process.