Information Policies

Value-Oriented, Instrumental, and Managerial Choices for Governing an Information Society

Authored by: Sharon S. Dawes

Routledge Handbook on Information Technology in Government

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  April  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138925670
eBook ISBN: 9781315683645
Adobe ISBN: 9781317406792




Most police body cam footage would be exempt under bill. Police body camera footage taken in private places would be largely exempt from Freedom of Information Act laws under legislation under consideration Tuesday in the state House of Representatives. Under the rewritten legislation, the footage wouldn’t be considered a public record, but would be available to people who are the subject of an audio or video recording, whose property has been seized or damaged by police, or the parent or legal guardian or an attorney representing an individual caught on tape by police. “One of the core functions of body worn cameras is to improve trust with the community,” said state Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, the sponsor of the bill. “But this technology must be guided by a balance between the right of oversight with an individual’s right to privacy.” Media organizations, however, called the bill bad public policy that isn’t protecting police or citizens.

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Information Policies

Most police body cam footage would be exempt under bill. Police body camera footage taken in private places would be largely exempt from Freedom of Information Act laws under legislation under consideration Tuesday in the state House of Representatives. Under the rewritten legislation, the footage wouldn’t be considered a public record, but would be available to people who are the subject of an audio or video recording, whose property has been seized or damaged by police, or the parent or legal guardian or an attorney representing an individual caught on tape by police. “One of the core functions of body worn cameras is to improve trust with the community,” said state Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, the sponsor of the bill. “But this technology must be guided by a balance between the right of oversight with an individual’s right to privacy.” Media organizations, however, called the bill bad public policy that isn’t protecting police or citizens.

—Detroit Free Press, June 2, 2015

Town of Tonawanda’s Huntley power plant is biggest polluter in Erie County. Renewable energy advocates said the 440,000 pounds of pollutants that the Huntley electric plant generated in the Town of Tonawanda in 2013 proves it doesn’t take much coal to damage the Earth. The plant’s operator said the 98-year-old facility has never run cleaner. Both arguments might be true, but it didn’t stop Huntley from recapturing its longtime perch atop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual list as Erie County’s biggest polluter. The data, according to EPA’s newly published Toxics Release Inventory, shows most of the contaminants from Huntley were collected and transferred off site, but about 56,000 pounds were released into the air, water or land. The federal inventory data shows Huntley released 34,641 pounds of hydrogen fluoride into the environment from its River Road site, along with 20,514 pounds of hydrochloric acid, 884 pounds of barium compounds as well as 83 and 17 pounds of lead and mercury compounds, respectively.

—Buffalo Evening News, October 22, 2014

GAO audit: Public records mishandled by federal agencies. An audit prompted in part by the loss of the Wright brothers’ original patent and maps for atomic bomb missions in Japan finds some of the nation’s prized historical documents are in danger of being lost for good. Nearly 80 percent of U.S. government agencies are at risk of illegally destroying public records and the National Archives is backlogged with hefty volumes of records needing preservation care, the audit by the Government Accountability Office found. The report by the watchdog arm of Congress, completed this month after a year’s work and obtained by the Associated Press, also found many U.S. agencies do not follow proper procedures for disposing of public records.

—The Washington Post, October 28, 2010

How Much Damage Can Hackers Do With a Million Fingerprints From the OPM Data Breach? The Office of Personnel Management announced last week that the personal data for 21.5 million people had been stolen. But for national security professionals and cybersecurity experts, the more troubling issue is the theft of 1.1 million fingerprints. Much of their concern rests with the permanent nature of fingerprints and the uncertainty about just how the hackers intend to use them … Part of the worry, cybersecurity experts say, is that fingerprints are part of an exploding field of biometric data, which the government is increasingly getting in the business of collecting and storing. Fingerprints today are used to run background checks, verify identities at borders, and unlock smartphones, but the technology is expected to boom in the coming decades in both the public and private sectors.

—National Journal, July 14, 2015


These diverse stories have something important in common. They all illustrate challenges for government information policy. The police video cam story from Detroit shows the potential for information collected in real time via digital technology to improve both the practice and the perception of policing—but at the same time it threatens the privacy of citizens who show up in the video. Erie County is the site of Love Canal, a notorious toxic cleanup site that has become a symbol of environmental justice. In the 1950s and 60s, no one knew how much and what kinds of chemicals were polluting the land and contributing to high rates of cancer in the community. Today, the Toxics Release Inventory, authorized by a federal right-to-know law, requires chemical manufacturers and other industries to report publicly the kinds and amounts of toxic by-products their plants release into the environment. The GAO audit report highlights one of the oldest assurances of government accountability—the Federal Records Act—which prescribes how federal government records in any form must be managed during their active lives and disposed of or preserved for their legal, historical, or cultural value. The last story raises a critical security issue with both managerial and national security implications. The hack of U.S. federal government employee records at the Office of Personnel Management not only threatens the personal identities of more than 20 million current and former federal workers and contractors, it also potentially provides a boon to espionage and terrorism. Each of these stories shows how information is deeply embedded in essential governmental functions and public policy concerns including criminal justice, environmental quality, managerial effectiveness, and national security as well as accountability, privacy, and access to information.

Information policy is relevant to virtually any activity of government and every facet of social and economic life. It frames the way government deals with crucial issues, while it also affects everyday life for ordinary people (McClure and Jaeger 2008). But what is information policy? One often-cited definition holds that information policy is “the set of all public laws, regulations, and policies that encourage, discourage, or regulate the creation, use, storage, and communication of information” (Weingarten 1989). An even broader definition of information policy comprises those “societal mechanisms used to control information, and the societal effects of applying those mechanisms” (Burger 1993). Some would add that information policies are expressed not only by what government does but also by what it chooses not to do with respect to any information issue (Galvin 1992). Others say information policy is a deceivingly unified term that masks a fragmented, overlapping, and sometimes contradictory collection of separate policies that address specific issues like education, consumer protection, or health care (Hernon and Relyea 2009). By any definition, then, information policies comprise a complex web of values, rules, and responsibilities.

This complexity is multiplied by the fact that public information policy is not solely the province of national governments. Policies are also adopted by states and municipalities, and even through international treaties. In addition, advances in information and communication technology cause governments to continually adopt and adapt information policies to better fit the technological environment (Bertot, Jaeger, and Hansen 2012). Further, information policies are often interrelated and the boundaries of policy topics are permeable, making it frequently difficult to see (or agree) where policies about one topic (such as privacy) end and policies about another topic (such as access to information) begin.

This chapter examines information policy from historical and analytical perspectives. It aims to construct a conceptual framework for classifying and examining contemporary information issues that can help both analysts and practitioners reduce ambiguity and manage their inherent complexity. We begin with a historical overview of information policy development in the United States, with particular focus on the period between 1990 and the present. We then review and briefly critique a variety of conceptual frameworks that offer ways to work through the complexity of information policy issues. This is followed by an exploration of the purposes and application of government information policies of three kinds: value-oriented policies that address the flow of information in society, instrumental policies that use information-based activities as part of a strategy to achieve other public policy goals, and managerial policies that shape how government handles its internal information resources and responsibilities. The chapter concludes with discussion of a purpose-driven framework and some thoughts on information policy research, practice, and education.

Historical Development of U.S. Information Policy

The concept of information policy can be traced far back in social and political history into at least the Middle Ages, when independent thought and inquiry were strongly discouraged and even severely punished by the religious establishment (Browne 1997a). However, formal government information policies emerged much later. In the U.S., they began in the 18th century with the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution mandates the U.S. Census, the first information collection program, requiring the government to enumerate the population every 10 years. Article 1, Section 5 may be the earliest statement of open government principles: “Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.” Article 2, Section 3 requires that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.”

Article 1, Section 8 lays the foundation for intellectual property rights by giving Congress the power to “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” The same article addresses fundamental information infrastructure by establishing post offices and post roads.

While these articles in the body of the constitution specify the powers of the government, the Bill of Rights embodied in the first 10 amendments enumerates guarantees to the people. The First Amendment, which underpins much of modern information policy formulation and debate, assures freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly to petition the government. The Fourth Amendment protects people from “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Table 3.1 below lists chronologically many of the key federal statutes and related actions that express U.S. information policies. They range from original provisions of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights to recent statutory amendments to redefine federal records in light of advancing information technologies.

The 19th century brought the earliest internally directed policies resting on the principles of recorded accountability and printed documents (Relyea 2008). In 1813, Congress created the first

Table 3.1   Selected U.S. Information Policy Statutes and Related Actions




U.S. Constitution


First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


Depository Library Program established


U.S. Government Printing Office established


Congressional Record established


Communications Act, amended by

1996 Telecommunications Act


National Archives established


Securities and Exchange Commission Act

2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act


Federal Register Act


Code of Federal Regulations established


Administrative Procedures Act


Federal Records Act

2014 Federal Records Act Amendments


National Security Agency established


Freedom of Information Act, amended by

1986 Freedom of Information Reform Act

1996 Electronic Freedom of Information Act


Truth in Lending Act (TILA)


Fair Credit Reporting Act


Federal Advisory Committee Act


Privacy Act


Government in the Sunshine Act


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


Presidential Records Act of 1978


Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, amended by

1996 Clinger-Cohen Act (Information Technology Reform Act)


Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)


Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)


Computer Security Act (CSA)


Copyright Amendments Act


Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)


Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)


§508 of The Americans with Disabilities Act


Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)


Data Quality Act


USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, amended 2015


Electronic Government Act of 2002


Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)


Homeland Security Act


Do-Not-Call Implementation Act


Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act

provisions for the creation and distribution of printed records that were successively improved, culminating with the establishment of the U.S. Government Printing Office in 1859, followed by the Depository Library Program in 1860, which together created both the responsibility and a formal mechanism for routine printing and distribution of government records. The Printing Act of 1895 clarified the roles of the Government Printing Office and Depository Library Program and included the proviso “that no … Government publication shall be copyrighted.”

No significant new policies emerged again until the New Deal beginning in 1934 with the passage of the Communications Act to regulate “interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States a rapid, efficient, nationwide, and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges…” In the same year, the National Archives was created to maintain the historically valuable records of the nation and began to prescribe policies for active records management, as well as disposition and preservation. These were followed in 1935 by the Federal Register Act and the establishment of the Code of Federal Regulations that document the key activities of executive agencies and make documents available for public inspection. The Securities and Exchange Commission Act of 1934, in reaction to the issues that brought about the Great Depression, was the first instance in which the government required private organizations to disclose information about their structure and operations.

In the post–World War II period, several additional significant policy actions emerged. The Administrative Procedures Act of 1946 required executive agencies to follow a uniform procedure for issuing regulations and required methods and places for the public to obtain information or submit comments or requests. The Federal Records Act of 1950 (amended 1964) mandated the “adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency,” setting a framework for records management in federal agencies. While the foregoing acts represent the maturation of the administrative state, the creation of the National Security Agency by Executive Order in 1956 signaled the simultaneous rise of the national security state (Relyea 2008). The NSA along with security classification schemes and additional Executive Orders give broad discretion to the president to create official secrets.

While the history presented to this point catalogs essential information policy foundations in the U.S., many scholars agree that modern information policy begins around 1960 and accelerates and expands thereafter (Browne 1997a).

Probably the best known, and arguably the most influential, of these modern policies is the Freedom of Information Act of 1966, enacted in the wake of strong public dissatisfaction with government secrecy and accountability. FOIA established a right of access for any person to unpublished existing departmental records except for those exempted from disclosure by nine specific reasons (including national security, interference with law enforcement, invasion of personal privacy, trade secrets, and internal personnel matters). FOIA also provides for administrative appeal and judicial review of disputes over disclosure requests. The Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 and the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 had similar goals—to open the policymaking deliberations of federal agencies, boards, and commissions to public scrutiny. The Presidential Records Act of 1978, for the first time, mandated public ownership and management of presidential records.

In further resistance to the power of the administrative state, especially in view of expanding computerized records systems, the Privacy Act of 1974 established a code of fair information practices to govern the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals maintained in federal government records systems. It prohibits disclosure without written consent of the individual, subject to 12 reasons for exemption. Some of these, such as “routine use,” have been the basis for numerous lawsuits. The act also provides for access to and amendment of individual records and judicial review of agency decisions. The vagueness of the language in the Privacy Act has not only led to court cases but also to a number of laws aimed at protecting personal privacy in specific situations, such as health care, education, and consumer transactions.

From the mid-1980s to the present, information policy actions multiplied along several fronts in the form of both laws and executive actions. While Congress has continued to play a substantial role, many of the recent policy decisions have been taken by executive action. Table 3.2 lists significant executive orders, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance, and other presidential instruments that convey and implement information policies. The influence of advancing information and communication technologies is clearly seen in both the number and the topics covered.

Table 3.2   Selected Executive Directives and OMB Guidance on Information Policy Topics




OMB Circular A-130 Management of Federal Information Resources


EO 12862 Setting Customer Service Standards


EO 12958 Classified National Security Information


EO 13011 Federal Information Technology


Presidential Decision Directive 63 (Protecting America’s Critical Infrastructures)


Presidential Memorandum on Privacy and Personal Information in Federal Records


Presidential Memorandum on Electronic Government


M-01–05 Guidance on Inter-Agency Sharing of Personal Data—Protecting Personal Privacy


EO 13166 (Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency)


EO Order 13228 (Establishing the Office of Homeland Security and Homeland Security Council)


EO Order 13231 (Critical Infrastructure Protection in the Information Age)


EO Order 13233 (Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act)


E-Government Strategy


President’s Management Agenda


M-05–04 Policies for Federal Agency Websites


Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD—7 Critical Infrastructure Protection Plans to Protect Federal Critical Infrastructures and Key Resources


EO 13356 (Strengthening the Sharing of Terrorism Information to Protect Americans)


M-05–08 Designation of Senior Agency Officials for Privacy


EO 13392 Improving Agency Disclosure of Information


M-07–24 Updated Principles for Risk Analysis


M-07–16 Safeguarding Against and Responding to the Breach of Personally Identifiable Information


Presidential Memorandum, Freedom of Information Act


M-10–06 Open Government Directive


Presidential Memorandum, Social Media, Web-Based Interactive Technologies, and the Paperwork Reduction Act


M-10–22 Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies


EO 13563 Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review


EO 13576 Delivering an Efficient, Effective, and Accountable Government


EO 13642 Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information


M-13–13 Open Data Policy—Managing Information as an Asset


Joint Memo to Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Principles for Federal Engagement in Standards Activities to Address National Priorities


EO 13636 Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity

Information and technology management within the government began to receive concentrated attention via a number of laws and executive orders, both encouraging the use of modern technologies and establishing new requirements for management and accountability. The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (amended 1995), the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, and the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 all focus on the management and use of information and technology to achieve better performance and greater transparency. OMB Circular A-130 has become the administrative bible for implementing these and a variety of other information management principles and requirements.

Security of government information and systems has also received significantly increased attention, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 2001. The Computer Security Act of 1987, the Government Information Security Reform Act of 2000 (GISRA), the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) of 2002, and a variety of executive actions have addressed critical infrastructure protection, sharing of terrorist information, risk analysis, surveillance, and related security concerns.

At the same time, policies have been created or updated to increase access to and usability of government information by addressing the needs of people with disabilities, the quality of federal data and federal government websites, use of social media, promotion of open data, and better FOIA performance. Significant updates to records laws and intellectual property rights have also been driven by changes in digital information formats. Nearly all of these topics have become the subject of court cases to sort out competing interests and priorities among stakeholders and principles.

Conceptual Frameworks for Understanding Information Policy

Information policy as a domain of study and action is challenging in several respects. To begin, we lack consensus on any broad conceptual framework that could rationalize and integrate our understanding of the wide range of information issues in society. This state of affairs is all the more problematic because both the variety and the importance of societal issues related to information continue to grow. In addition, no organization inside or outside government is the obvious forum to raise and debate information issues. Instead, information-related questions are treated piecemeal within different policy areas, involving different stakeholders, at every level of government (Browne 1997a). This approach means information policies are often uncoordinated and even conflict with one another. For example, in New York State, real property information is collected by municipalities that may set their own policies for information access and fees. Some post the data online for free access, some require a written request, still others require a fee for reproduction or an ongoing subscription to the data. While the state government provides real property information to requesters without charge, it has only a subset of the detailed information maintained at the local level. Therefore, someone who wants detailed information for the entire state can get it only by requesting and complying with the access policies of each local jurisdiction (Dawes and Helbig 2010). Privacy policies are another example. While there are national and state-level privacy laws that require governments to comply with certain standards for handling personal information, very few industries in the private sector are subject to specific legal requirements. Instead, these policy choices are often left to the market or to individual companies. For multinational firms, the differences in data privacy protections between the U.S. and Europe pose costly and sometimes contentious situations as companies attempt to comply with different sets of rules (Reidenberg 2000).

Several factors help explain this environment of diversity and fragmentation. First, information is relevant across the full range of public administration and policy topics. Information itself has seldom been the main focus of government policy, despite the fact that no governmental program or public decision-making process can exist without an essential information component. Instead, information policies have most often developed as ancillary to policies and practices in other domains. Unlike healthcare policy or education policy, or urban policy, information policy has traditionally been seen as a supporting consideration rather than the primary policy subject (Duff 2004).

Second, information itself is an ambiguous concept with both objective and subjective characteristics with social and economic implications (Orna 2008). In addition, the term “information” is often used as a rough synonym for data, knowledge, or know-how and can be both implicit and explicit (Nonaka 1994). Information resides in databases, records, documents, and publications, but it is also embedded in conversations, debates, expertise, products, and culture. It is often conflated with communication, and information content is increasingly confused with information technology. To address this difficulty, scholars have attempted to define information for purposes of both research and practice. Sandra Braman suggests information can be categorized in four main ways: as a resource unattached to any particular body of knowledge, as a commodity which can be bought and sold for its economic value, as perception represented by human recognition of patterns and context, and as a constitutive force in society that has its own power to shape context (Braman 2011). These different characterizations imply inevitable ambiguity and confusion across actors concerned with any particular information policy issue as they adopt, but often do not express, different meanings and interpretations of “information.”

Third, as a consequence of its ambiguousness, information policy has no clear disciplinary home (Duff 2004). It has been variously addressed by such diverse fields as computer science, information science, economics, political science, sociology, library and archival studies, public administration, and law (Galperin 2004). Scholarship has emerged mainly from the communication, information studies, and library communities. As such, the topics of interest have been predominantly those that relate to information management and access. However, experts argue that to advance the field beyond these particular topics, “information policy needs to be more integrated within the broader field of mainstream policy studies and become more interdisciplinary in its approaches”(Browne 1997b). Accordingly, several types of integrative approaches are described below.

Categorization Approaches

Categorization approaches (e.g., Chartrand 1986) identify and organize information policy issues according to certain topics or policy goals, such as information resource management; information technology, telecommunications, and broadcasting; information disclosure, confidentiality, and privacy; and intellectual property. Categorization approaches can also rest on a specific purpose. For example, the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued categorization standards regarding the risks associated with federal government information and information systems for assuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability (National Institute of Standards and Technology 2009). A different categorization approach considers information policies along hierarchical dimensions including infrastructural policies that apply across society, horizontal information policies that apply across the entire information sector, such as providing for public libraries, and vertical policies that apply to specific segments or activities within the information sector, such as the geographic information community (Rowlands 1996).

Life Cycle View

Hernon and Relyea (2009) state that information policy guides oversight and management of the information life cycle. Life cycle components include production, collection, distribution or dissemination, retrieval, and retirement of information as well as information access and use. Figure 3.1, from Library and Archives Canada, depicts one typical presentation of the information life cycle at the national level. This and similar life cycle approaches take an internal government view and focus mainly on the management of information resources within a government organization. Different guidelines or rules are pertinent at different stages of the life cycle. Policies for Stage 2, for instance, emphasize that an information asset is being created with the need for documentation, authentication, and version control. In Stage 4, for example, policies focus on internal and external sharing of complete, accurate, and timely information.

At the operational level, the Western Australia Department of Health provides a good example of the life cycle approach. It specifies policies for data collection (e.g., information is collected only for a legitimate business purpose, collected in an ethical manner, and data requirements and metadata are clearly documented); storage (storage media, records management, security measures, and classification procedures); access and disclosure (focus on data integrity and confidentiality and on providing

Records and Information Life Cycle, Library and Archives Canada

Figure 3.1   Records and Information Life Cycle, Library and Archives Canada

different levels of access for different kinds of users); use (policies to assure information is used in a responsible, ethical, and lawful manner according to business, operational, or legislative requirements); and disposal (covering records retention, transfer, disposal, and archival requirements). The overarching purpose of this life cycle management policy is to assure that data and information handled by the department meets high standards for accuracy and validity and supports the operational needs of its programs. The policy addresses not only ways to handle information but also specifies roles and responsibilities for data stewards, data custodians, and authorized users at various stages of the life cycle (Western Australia Department of Health 2014).

Information Transfer Perspective

A different approach is to consider policies that are germane to different phases of the information transfer process, which is conceptualized as a chain of processes that move information from a source to a user. This perspective emphasizes the processes and actors involved in the movement of information. It accommodates the roles played by information producers, professional intermediaries, institutions, and individual, organizational, and societal information users. It includes information management processes such as recording, collection, searching, and retrieval. In addition, it provides a means to identify and understand value-adding processes throughout the chain, such as analysis, interpretation, evaluation, and synthesis. In this view, the government is one of many stakeholders in the full process (Browne 1997a).

Rights in Conflict Typology

Galvin describes the domain of information policy as the full range of actions “taken or not taken by any branch of government… at any level… that affect the character or the quality of the information transfer process” (Galvin 1992, 1997). He offers a typology drawn from Coates’s definition of a public policy issue as a “fundamental enduring conflict” that is unlikely to be fully or permanently resolved among competing interests (Coates 1979). This emphasis on conflict underlies a three-part typology for identifying and assessing information policy issues. This “rights in conflict” view is based on three information rights and their potential to conflict with other rights and values as well as with each other. These information rights are access rights, privacy rights, and proprietary or ownership rights.

Type 1 information policy problems represent information issues about which there is broad agreement in principle but conflict over boundaries or method of implementation. In other words, the conflict is not about the principle itself but the means to achieve it. One example is the debate over how to achieve universal access to telecommunications. Among the possible means are government subsidies to certain individuals, government regulation of telecomm providers, and market-based pricing schemes. Another example is the ability of online companies to reuse customers’ personally identifiable information. One approach is to prohibit reuse unless consumers “opt-in,” putting the main responsibility on the company, the other is to require consumers to “opt-out” of such uses, thus putting the responsibility for privacy protection on the individual.

Type 2 problems represent conflicts between an information right and some other social, political, or economic value or goal. These are very common problems that show up in many different domains. Laws that ban federal funding to clinics that offer abortion counseling represent a conflict between access (an information right) and the state’s interest in protecting the unborn (a social value). Similarly, policies embedded in the USA PATRIOT Act following the terrorist acts of 9/11 represent a choice to favor national security interests over certain rights to privacy in personal communications.

In Type 3 problems, the conflict occurs between two or even all three information rights. Ongoing legal battles over music streaming on the Internet, for example, represent a fundamental conflict between the access rights of listeners and the ownership rights of artists and music producers.

In all cases, these policy choices represent a balancing act that takes place within a particular social and political context. They settle the issues temporarily, but because they do not remove the fundamental value conflicts, they are subject to continued advocacy, interpretation, and change. Thus, for example, we see the balance between personal privacy and national security tipping back toward privacy protection in the revised provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act when it was reauthorized in 2015.

Socio-Technical View

A fifth perspective places information policy within a socio-technical context that highlights the interaction between social and technical systems (Trist 1981). This view acknowledges the complexity inherent in the information policy domain from the different types of problems to the various forms of policy instruments (laws, regulations, executive actions, etc.), to traditional and emerging technologies that are used to gather, organize, and convey information. It also takes into account the multiplicity of stakeholders in information policy with their divergent views, needs, resources, and preferences. Further, it highlights the dynamic interplay between social and instrumental concerns. Social concerns encompass culture, norms, and values. Instrumental concerns focus on the work and the technologies used to gather, manage, and disseminate information. In other words, the socio-technical view considers information policy as the result of interaction among humans and various kinds of technology in a given social context (Maxwell 2003).

This view also encompasses the idea of social informatics, which addresses the consequences of the design, implementation, and use of information and communication technologies in social and organizational settings. Social informatics takes the view that social and technical factors are constantly influencing and shaping one another. In the policy arena, this mutual shaping gives rise not only to policy choices but also to new policy problems (Sawyer and Rosenbaum 2000).

Each perspective above offers useful but partial insight into the nature of the information policy domain and the ways in which different professions and disciplines understand it. The topical view underscores the variety of major topics of concern but does not assist either policy makers or implementers to understand how these topics might interact or compete in perception or in practice. The life cycle view focuses on how policies guide government professionals to handle responsibility for the different life cycle stages of information within their control, but it does not acknowledge or advise about the important aspects of information collection and use within the larger society. The information transfer view reveals the importance of dynamics, processes, and actors as information flows through a chain of processes that add value by drawing on different kinds of knowledge and expertise both within and outside the government, but again it stops short of looking at the implications of information use once it reaches the hands of external users. By emphasizing values, stakeholders, and enduring tensions, the rights in conflict typology puts a spotlight on information rights and the ways in which they present policy problems for implementation, balance, and response to changing social, political, and economic conditions. It provides a more complete way to assess and understand information issues from both internal and external perspectives. However, it gives little guidance for managerial or administrative action by government professionals. Finally, in the socio-technical view, attention focuses on the tools and technologies that embody, store, and transmit information in social and organizational settings and how technology and social factors shape one another in the context of information and technology use. This view takes full consideration of how information technologies and social trends are mutually shaping one another and thus giving rise to new kinds of policy challenges. But, like the conflict model, it offers more insight to analysts than to managers.

Policies represent choices and values, but they are also meant to guide action. Laws and executive orders are the best-known forms of policy, but they are not the only form. For government agencies, policy-related responsibilities include policy analysis and formulation to accomplish their missions or to carry out specific laws. Agencies develop rules and regulations that implement policies through a process of notice, public comment, and consultation with stakeholders. Agencies also monitor and evaluate the performance of policies to achieve their intended purposes and make recommendations for policy adjustments to improve performance. In the remainder of this chapter, we draw on these perspectives to explore information policy within the interdisciplinary field of public administration, with particular attention to the roles and practices of government professionals in developing, implementing, and assessing information policies to achieve important public purposes.

A Purpose-Driven Framework

All of the foregoing frameworks offer ways to intellectually simplify the complexity of the information environment so that key dimensions come into better focus. Moving from the categorization view through to the socio-technical view, these frameworks take increasingly broader perspectives on these dimensions. In this section, we take aspects from these ideas to create a practice-oriented framework. By practice-oriented, we mean a conceptual view that offers government professionals, managers, and policy makers a perspective that is useful in government administration and decision-making. The preceding frameworks consider information policy concerns as topics, points in a life cycle, segments of the information transfer process, conflicts among rights, and interactions between the social and technical domains. The practice-oriented view makes use of all of these ideas in considering information policy choices and their impacts according to a set of three main purposes (Figure 3.2):

  • Regulating the flow of information in society
  • Using information as an instrument to achieve other policy purposes
  • Managing information as a governmental and societal asset
Information Policy Purposes

Figure 3.2   Information Policy Purposes

Below, we consider the purposes and performance of government information policies of three kinds: value-oriented policies that regulate the flow of information in society, instrumental policies that use information-based activities as part of a strategy to achieve other policy goals, and managerial policies that shape the way in which government handles its internal information resources and responsibilities for information assets. The sections below briefly discuss these policy types and offer three examples for each.

Value-Driven Information Policies

Public policies pertaining to information flow are among the most fundamental aspects of democracy. Information policies reflect societal choices regarding how information should be produced, processed, stored, exchanged, and regulated (Benkler 1998). For example, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution embodies democratic principles of free expression, an independent press, and free exchange of information among citizens. It reflects strong value preference for diversity in information sources and content, as well as universal access to and participation in the marketplace of ideas. In expressions of this kind, government treats information as the object of policy, that is, information itself is the subject of policy making. These broad philosophically anchored laws and principles shape the creation, use, expression, and dissemination of information and knowledge by everyone in society. They place government in the position of regulator of societal information flow. Examples of these kinds of policies are laws that ensure access to information, protect personal privacy, support libraries, and provide for patents and copyrights over intellectual property (Dawes 2010).

Overman and Cahill (1990) describe several values served by U.S. information policies: access to information, freedom of expression, personal rights to privacy, openness and right to know, usefulness, cost and benefit tradeoffs, secrecy and security, and ownership of intellectual property. Different statutes address these different kinds of values. Three of them, freedom of expression, access to government information, and protection of personal privacy, are discussed below.

Freedom of Expression

Free expression is probably the most fundamental value served by information policies in a democracy. Freedom of speech, assembly, and press are guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as keystone rights of democratic societies. The First Amendment reads in part, “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Much of the policy pertaining to free speech is embodied in case law resulting from a long list of court decisions about such topics as freedom of expression, prior restraint, and freedom of the press. 1

For example, in Texas v. Johnson (1989), the Supreme Court held that laws banning flag burning violated the First Amendment right to free speech. New York Times v. United States (1971), a landmark case in which the government sought to prevent publication of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, established that pre-publication censorship is unconstitutional in almost all cases. In Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo (1974), the Supreme Court unanimously invalidated a state law requiring newspapers criticizing political candidates to publish the candidates’ responses. In Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (1997), its first major case on information distributed via the Internet, the Court struck down anti-indecency provisions of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, because while the law sought to protect children from indecent material, it also violated the free speech rights of adults.

Access to Information

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) enacted in 1966 and significantly amended in 1986 (Freedom of Information Reform Act) and 1996 (Electronic Freedom of Information Act) is a leading example of information policy driven by the value of openness and access to information. It provides a guaranteed right of access to existing government records unless the records are exempted by one of nine specific reasons, such as unwarranted invasion of personal privacy or national security. FOIA was enacted in the aftermath of the Pentagon Papers controversy as a reaction against the secrecy surrounding the government’s pursuit of the Vietnam War. It requires agencies to disclose records upon request unless one of the exemption criteria applies to the records being sought. FOIA is a foundational statement of the right of public access to government information, but it is limited in its application both by the stated exemptions and by the inclination of executive agencies to err on the side of withholding information from disclosure. During the Bush 43 administration, agencies were instructed to deny access to records whenever there was doubt as to the application of any of the exemptions. The Obama administration reversed that instruction, but despite the administration’s emphasis on open government, FOIA disclosure rates and the time it takes to comply with requests continue to garner criticism by open government advocates.

FOIA is the subject of numerous appeals and lawsuits. Cases that come before the Supreme Court typically involve disputes over agency application of one of the statutory exemptions used to deny FOIA requests, with many cases involving the personal privacy exemption. For example, in National Archives and Records Administration vs. Favish (2004), the court held that family members of a deceased person have a privacy interest that outweighs a third-party request for death scene photos. In FCC v. AT&T (2011), the Court ruled that AT&T could not claim a personal privacy exemption to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from releasing records in a law enforcement action against the company because corporations do not have a right to personal privacy.

Personal Privacy

While FOIA addresses one core democratic value, public access to government information, another set of policies respond to a different fundamental value—protection of personal privacy. The U.S. Constitution does not contain an explicit right to privacy, but the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments have been read by the courts to offer this protection in the context of individual liberties. The first statute to directly address personal privacy was not enacted until the Privacy Act of 1974, which came at the end of a long effort by the Privacy Protection Study Commission and the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to formulate “fair information practices” for an environment in which more and more personal information was being collected, stored, and used within automated data systems. The original set of fair practices included prohibition of secret systems; requirements for government organizations to assure reliability of their systems and prevent misuse of personal data; and provisions for individuals to know what data is in their records and how it is used, to correct or amend their records, and to prevent data collected for one purpose from being used for other purposes without their consent.

Today, fair information practices continue to evolve in response to the enormous changes in the scale and penetration of electronic data systems in modern life. Within the U.S., different federal agencies have adopted specific fair information principles for such topics as trusted identity (National Institutes for Standards and Technology) and consumer affairs (Federal Trade Commission). The European Commission, OECD, and other nongovernmental organizations have developed fair information principles (summarized in Table 3.3) that go beyond the U.S. concepts and are designed for international (or universal) application (Gellman 2015).

In the U.S., personal privacy protections have been embodied in a variety of domain-specific laws since the passage of the Privacy Act. For example, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) strictly limits access to student records in schools and universities that receive federal funding. It confers most rights to control release of student information to parents or to students over

Table 3.3   Basic Privacy Principles (adapted from OECD 2013)




Personal data should be obtained by lawful and fair means and, where appropriate, with the knowledge or consent of the data subject.


Personal data should be relevant to the purposes for which they are to be used, and, to the extent necessary for those purposes, should be accurate, complete and up-to-date.


The purposes for which personal data are collected should be specified and limited to the fulfillment of those purposes.


Personal data should not be disclosed or used for other purposes without the consent of the data subject or by the authority of law.


Personal data should be protected by reasonable security safeguards against such risks as loss or unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure.


Under a general policy of openness about developments, practices and policies, means should be readily available to establish the existence and nature of personal data, and the main purposes of their use, as well as the identity and location of the data controller.


An individual should have the right to reasonably obtain or confirm the existence of personal data, be given reasons if a request is denied, be able to challenge such denial and challenge data relating to him and, if the challenge is successful, to have the data erased, rectified, completed or amended.


A data controller should be accountable for complying with measures which give effect to the principles stated above.

age 18. The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) lays out strict national standards for protecting medical records and other personal health data held by insurance companies, healthcare providers, and others who conduct healthcare transactions electronically. HIPPA gives patients the right to examine and obtain copies of their healthcare records and to request corrections.

The courts have also influenced privacy policies through decisions such as Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), which was the first case to establish a constitutional right to privacy by striking down a state law prohibiting contraception as an unwarranted intrusion of government in private affairs. Information privacy is a more recent subject for the courts and presents new issues arising from the ubiquity and pervasiveness of information technology. In a 2014 decision, Wiley v. California, the Court unanimously voted to prohibit police from searching cell phones without a warrant, giving digital information the same protections from search and seizure as other forms of information. Other cases are working their way through the courts on the subject of government surveillance via citizen’s telephone records. The plaintiffs in ACLU v. Klapper and Klayman v. Obama both claim that bulk collection of metadata about private phone records by the National Security Agency is unconstitutional. Court rulings have been made at the District and Appeals Court levels both for and against the government. Further appeals (and more cases on this and other electronic data privacy topics) are likely.

Instrumental Information Policies

Beyond its role as regulator of information flow in society, government plays a second significant role with respect to information. As an information collector, producer, provider, and user, government treats information as an instrument of policy. When government plays this role, it decides whether and how to collect, develop, disseminate, analyze, and preserve information in the service of some other policy principle (such as transparency, accountability, or social equity), or to achieve certain goals in domains such as public health, environmental quality, or economic development. These instrumental information policies are generally carried out in three ways: by directly collecting data for the express purpose of publication or public access, by requiring private entities to report or publish certain kinds of information for public consumption, and by the release of information collected in the course of government programs and regulatory activities.

Environmental Quality

One of the news stories that opened this chapter highlighted the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (US Environmental Protection Agency 2015). The TRI is a government database that comprises mandated annual reports from thousands of companies that manufacture or produce any of 650 chemicals that can pollute water, air, and ground. Created by the Emergency Preparedness and Community Right to Know Act of 1986, the TRI is partly a policy response to chemical disasters in other parts of the world, such as the Union Carbide explosion in Bhopal, India in 1984. It is also a way to address growing concerns of public health and provide environmental advocates with information about local conditions that can cause adverse community health effects, such as high rates of childhood cancer. The TRI is an instrumental information policy whose goal is not information collection or dissemination for general good government purposes—its aim is to require polluting industries to report the release of specific toxic chemicals in specific locations so that local communities can know and act on the health threats they may face as a result. Its second aim is to use the public reporting requirement to encourage and incentivize companies to improve their processes and reduce pollution at its source (Khanna, Quimio, and Bojilova 1998).

Health Care

Information and technology have become centerpieces of government efforts to improve health care in the United States. A leading example is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act enacted in 2009 to promote the adoption and “meaningful use” of health information technology (National Coordinator for Health Information Technology 2015). This policy establishes requirements for the design, adoption, and use of electronic health records and health information exchange systems as a condition of federal funding for hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers. The ultimate goal of this policy is better-informed health care and better health outcomes for Americans. The electronic records and information exchange requirements, along with incentives and penalties for adoption and performance, are highly detailed instruments for achieving those ends.

Consumer Protection

Information policies that serve the goal of consumer protection generally rest on the concept of information disclosure. For consumers and borrowers, the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (amended by the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996) allows consumers to obtain free credit reports once a year from each of the three main credit-reporting agencies. It also addresses processes for correcting credit reports and for protecting against identity theft (US Federal Trade Commission 2013). For investors, the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and its amendments mandate that publicly traded companies file required disclosure statements about their structures, governance, financial management practices, and other required topics. The disclosures, with some exceptions, are made available to the public through the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system (EDGAR). This collection of information policies is intended to increase the efficiency and fairness of the securities market (US Securities and Exchange Commission 2015).

Managerial Information Policies

A third category of information policies is directed toward the government itself. These internal policies address the management and performance of government’s own information resources as assets of value to both government and society. They focus on such topics as IT procurement, information and records management, system and data security, and data dissemination. These policies also specify the key internal managerial roles and responsibilities vested in positions like chief information officers. Technological developments have spurred many of these policies in the past three decades as government organizations seek to stay abreast of changes in the way technologies are influencing the economy, society, and political activities, such as advocacy and voting. Managerial policies are often linked to value-oriented or instrumental policies in that they prescribe certain operational standards or internal requirements that are necessary for compliance or implementation of those policies.

Transparency and Accountability

The rulemaking authority of federal agencies is a potent form of executive power. Long-standing policies stemming from the Administrative Procedures Act and the Federal Register Act mandate a notice and comment process for issuing rules. However, access to the full rulemaking docket (the entire record of proposals and comments) has been a continuing point of controversy regarding transparency and accountability for agency decisions. Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” adds new requirements to ensure these processes are more open and accessible to the public and the decision-making process is subject to public scrutiny (Executive Office of the President 2011). The Order requires agencies to afford commenters the opportunity to participate in the regulatory process through the Internet and to have access to “all pertinent parts of the rulemaking docket, including relevant scientific and technical findings” in a format that is easily searchable on the central federal rulemaking website, Transparency and accountability also lie at the heart of the Open Government Directive (M-10–06; Office of Management and Budget 2009), which directs agencies to publish government information online (thus launching and the open data movement in the U.S.) and to improve the quality of federal government data to enhance its usability and usefulness both inside and beyond the government.


The Information Security Management Act of 2002 directs all federal agencies to develop and deploy agency-wide programs to secure information and information systems, whether those systems are operated by that agency, by another agency, or by contractors. The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) of 2002 requires an inventory of information systems, assignment of systems to risk categories, compliance with minimum mandatory security controls, ongoing risk assessment, and continuous monitoring. As cybersecurity has grown in importance with the emergence of worldwide networks and cybercrime, additional policies have been adopted, including a 2004 Presidential Homeland Security Directive on protecting critical infrastructure and, in 2015, Executive Order 13636 (“Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity”) that directed the National Institute of Standards and Technology to create a cybersecurity framework with guidelines and recommendations for voluntary adoption by private sector critical infrastructure organizations.

Management and Performance

Together, the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (amended by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995) and the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 lay out the information resource management objectives and requirements of the federal government. The PRA created the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within OMB to develop comprehensive policies to implement these laws, and the polices are spelled out in OMB Circular A-130, Management of Federal Information Resources (Office of Management and Budget 2000). This set of policies promotes responsible acquisition and use of IT by requiring information resource planning, redesigned business processes, and creation of information architectures to guide system development designs and decisions. Later, in 2001, the White House issued the President’s Management Agenda (Executive Office of the President 2001), which included expansion of e-government among five managerial goals. The Agenda directed agencies to create more customer-centered systems and internally automated processes and promised to create a single government e-procurement portal, Public Key Infrastructure, for online identity management and other technology-supported performance improvements. The management agenda also included annual reviews and public reporting of progress on each management goal. Although the detailed review and reporting process has since been eliminated, technology continues to be featured in subsequent presidential management agendas.

The Framework in Action

While each example above pertains to one of the three main purposes of information policy, in practice these policies intersect in both planned and unplanned ways. The transparency and performance examples in the managerial policy type follow a relatively straightforward progression from statute to executive implementation measures to tools for compliance. These policies have also experienced improvement and reform cycles that play out in relatively clear steps and relationships. However, because value-driven and instrumental policies are fundamentally choices about how to balance competing interests, other situations occur in which a policy adopted for one purpose (such as the failed Computer Decency Act’s attempt at protecting children from inappropriate online content) conflicts with a policy adopted for another (such as protecting the free speech rights of adults and the commercial interests of Internet providers). In addition, over time policies can swing back and forth between different dominant values, as has happened with instructions for presumptions about handling requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The purpose-driven framework does not solve these problems, but it makes it easier to identify and understand them and perhaps to devise strategies or better policies to address them.

The purpose-driven information policy framework has several benefits. It can be used to diagnose a policy problem or a policy alternative to identify the information-related purpose or purposes it is intended to serve. With a clear understanding of purpose, government professionals are more likely to identify all the salient stakeholders and to consider a wider range of actions to achieve the purpose. For example, a policy to protect the privacy rights of students (a value-oriented policy) needs to take into account the positions, resources, and capabilities of not only students, but also different kinds of educational institutions, parents, teachers, administrators, and so on. Thus, it also requires instrumental and managerial policies for its full implementation. A policy on this topic might comprise rules to restrict who can access student records, prohibit the collection of certain kinds of information, or prescribe rules for managing student records.

Second, the purpose-driven framework can help those involved in designing or implementing domain-specific policies—such as improving health care—to understand the ways in which related instrumental or managerial information policies could assist or detract from achieving those policies. A current example involves requirements for the content and “meaningful use” of electronic health records, which mandate certain kinds of data collection, management, and sharing in order for physicians, clinics, and hospitals to receive enhanced federal funds to improve the processes and outcomes of health care. These instrumental information policies are intended to standardize information in ways that improve clinical practice and information sharing among medical personnel, so that patients experience better health outcomes.

The framework can also help identify mismatches between policy expectations and performance. Open data policies, for example, are generally implemented only as managerial policies that pertain to requirements to publish government data. However, the stated aim of these policies often emphasizes enhancements to democracy, but little progress has been made toward that goal—to do so, complementary value-oriented policies are also needed to further open government’s deliberation and decision-making processes.

While a purpose-driven framework offers benefits to practitioners, it is limited by the extent to which government practice actually allows for or encourages analysis of the information dimension of the policies and programs of other domains. It is also limited by the training and awareness of government professionals about information as both a policy focus of its own and as a lever to assist or impose barriers in other policy domains. In addition, today’s strong emphasis on technology in the public sector has increased the importance of these issues, but it has also tended to divert attention away from the importance of information content and flow and more toward information technology management. Thus, the problem of having no obvious home for addressing information policy issues continues to limit thinking and action.

Going Forward

Information policies are essential to governing an information society. These policies can be approached in a variety of ways, including by categorizing them into topics or dimensions, or by associating them with information life cycle stages or segments of the information transfer process. Information policies can also be understood as efforts to balance conflicting rights or to accommodate social and technical factors of modern society. This chapter has offered a purpose-driven framework to help government professionals sort and understand information policy goals and methods for achieving them. Most of the material is drawn from the U.S. federal government in order be both comprehensive and coherent within a given context. However, the kinds of policy problems discussed here occur in every society with its own examples and models for consideration.

Drawing from American experience, several conclusions seem evident:

  • Information-related values are deeply embedded in social and political culture. Consequently, they are enduring concerns which can be subject to disagreement as to scale, scope, application, and priority. The value-oriented policies discussed here are the ones most likely to be contested in everyday life and in the courts.
  • Information is a powerful instrument for pursuing policy goals of all kinds. For this reason, information is frequently a component of policies that aim to achieve a wide variety of social, economic, and political goals. Thus, instrumental information policies are likely to be a permanent fixture of the policymaking and policy implementation processes.
  • Good operational performance and public accountability for government decisions are universal concerns that benefit from information policies that address the managerial and fiduciary responsibilities of government organizations. Better data quality, information and technology management, and openness and transparency all depend on sound managerial information policies.

Everywhere in the world, information policies are being tested, stretched, and challenged by advances in information and communication technologies. Ubiquitous devices, local and global networks, social media, wearable devices, and sensors are just a few of the technological innovations that are joining more traditional records management programs, information systems, and databases in shaping the public information context. Government policies typically lag behind this kind of change and innovation, generally responding when these changes disrupt conventional processes and relationships. For these reasons, investments are need in policy research and in professional and public education to improve our ability to identify, analyze, and understand information policy problems and to make reasonable policy choices in the years ahead.

In terms of policy analysis and policy research, a variety of scholars have suggested ways to approach information policy as a topic in its own right worthy of concentrated development. Among these are calls for better understanding of the interrelatedness of information policies (McClure and Jaeger 2008) and for studies of historical development, original intent, implementation and impact, reaction, criticism, and explicit attention to the role of values (Relyea 2008). Case studies, process-oriented studies, and other methods can all be appropriate (Rowlands 1996). The purpose-driven framework offered here should be tested and explored with further research. Case studies would be especially useful ways to understand how information policies of each kind affect the achievement of specific public policy goals. In addition, comparative studies of different policy developments or of similar developments in different contexts could explore and identify the factors in government practice that are associated with better policy outcomes.

Finally public management education needs to more fully recognize information policy as an integral part of government management and administration, policy development, and program implementation. Education programs for government professionals should cover information policy issues, challenges, and analytical tools as a routine part of degree programs to assure awareness and understanding of the important role that information plays in all aspects of government and governance.


There are scores of relevant Supreme Court decisions pertaining to the First Amendment and other topics covered in this chapter. Only a few of the more important ones are cited in the text to illustrate the issues discussed. Readers who are interested in a more complete understanding of the role of the Court in information policy can find a great deal of information, references, and source material in several online resources listed at the end of this chapter.

Additional Recommended Reading

Browne, Mairead. 1997. “The Field of Information Policy: 1. Fundamental Concepts.” Journal of Information Science 23 (4): 261–275. doi: 10.1177/016555159702300401.
Galperin, Hernan. 2004. “Beyond Interests, Ideas, and Technology: An Institutional Approach to Communication and Information Policy.” Information Society 20 (3): 159–168.
McClure, Charles R. , and Paul T. Jaeger. 2008. “Government Information Policy Research: Importance, Approaches, and Realities.” Library & Information Science Research 30 (4): 257–264. doi: 10.1016/j.lisr.2008.05.004.
Relyea, Harold C. 2008. “Federal Government Information Policy and Public Policy Analysis: A Brief Overview.” Library & Information Science Research 30 (1): 2–21. doi: 10.1016/j.lisr.2007.11.004.


Legal Information Institute, Cornell University (
Stanford Libraries Freedom of Information Act Archive (
THOMAS, Library of Congress (


Benkler, Yochai. 1998. ‘The Commons as a Neglected Factor of Information Policy’. In 26th Annual Telecommunications Research Conference .
Bertot, John Carlo , Paul T. Jaeger , and Derek Hansen . 2012. ‘The Impact of Polices on Government Social Media Usage: Issues, Challenges, and Recommendations’. Government Information Quarterly 29 (1): 30–40. doi: 10.1016/j.giq.2011.04.004.
Braman, Sandra . 2011. ‘Defining Information Policy’. Journal of Information Policy 1 (January): 1–5. doi: 10.5325/jinfopoli.1.2011.0001.
Browne, Mairead. 1997a. ‘The Field of Information Policy: 1. Fundamental Concepts’. Journal of Information Science 23 (4): 261–275. doi: 10.1177/016555159702300401.
Browne, Mairead. 1997b. ‘The Field of Information Policy: 2. Redefining the Boundaries and Methodologies’. Journal of Information Science 23 (5): 339–351. doi: 10.1177/016555159702300501.
Burger, R.H. 1993. Information Policy: A Framework for Evaluation and Policy Research. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.
Chartrand, Robert. 1986. ‘Legislating Information Policy’. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science 12 (5): 10.
Coates, Joseph F. 1979. ‘What Is a Public Policy Issue? An Advisory Essay’. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 4 (1): 27 –44. doi: 10.1179/0308018797898017591.
Dawes, Sharon S. 2010. ‘Stewardship and Usefulness: Policy Principles for Information-Based Transparency’. Government Information Quarterly 27 (4): 377–383. doi: 10.1016/j.giq.2010.07.001.
Dawes, Sharon S. , and Natalie Helbig . 2010. ‘Information Strategies for Open Government: Challenges and Prospects for Deriving Public Value from Government Transparency’. In Proceedings of the 9th IFIP WG 8.5 International Conference on Electronic Government, 50–60. EGOV’10. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.
Duff, Alistair S. 2004. ‘The Past, Present, and Future of Information Policy: Towards a Normative Theory of the Information Society’. Information, Communication & Society 7 (1): 69–87. doi: 10.1080/1369118042000208906.
Executive Office of the President. 2011. ‘Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review’.
Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget. 2001. ‘The President’s Management Agenda, Fiscal Year 2002’.
Galperin, Hernan. 2004. ‘Beyond Interests, Ideas, and Technology: An Institutional Approach to Communication and Information Policy’. Information Society 20 (3): 159–168.
Galvin, Thomas J. 1992. ‘Rights in Conflict: Public Policy in an Information Age’. In Proceedings of the 46th FID Conference and Congress. The Hague, Netherlands.
Galvin, Thomas J. 1997. ‘Rights in Conflict: An Introduction to Public Information Policy’.
Gellman, Robert. 2015. ‘Fair Information Practices: A Basic History’.
Hernon, Paul T. , and Harold C. Relyea . 2009. “Information Policy: United States.” In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences , Third ed, edited by Marcia J. Bates and Mary Niles Maack . New York: Dekker.
Khanna, Madhu , Wilma Rose H. Quimio , and Dora Bojilova . 1998. ‘Toxics Release Information: A Policy Tool for Environmental Protection’. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 36 (3): 243–266. doi: 10.1006/jeem.1998.1048.
Maxwell, Terry. 2003. ‘Toward a Model of Information Policy Analysis: Speech as an Illustrative Example’. First Monday 8 (6). doi: 10.5210/fm.v8i6.1060.
McClure, Charles R. , and Paul T. Jaeger . 2008. ‘Government Information Policy Research: Importance, Approaches, and Realities’. Library & Information Science Research 30 (4): 257–264. doi: 10.1016/j.lisr.2008.05.004.
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. 2015. ‘Select Portions of the HITECH Act and Relationship to ONC Work’. Accessed July 27 .
National Institute of Standards and Technology. 2009. ‘Standards for Security Categorization of Federal Information and Information Systems, FIPS PUB 199’.
Nonaka, I. 1994. ‘A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation’. Organization Science 5 (1): 14–37. doi: 10.1287/orsc.5.1.14.
Office of Management and Budget. 2000. ‘CIRCULAR NO. A-130 Revised, Management of Federal Information Resources’.
Office of Management and Budget, Patrice. 2009. ‘Open Government Directive’.
Orna, E. 2008. ‘Information Policies: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’. Journal of Information Science 34 (4): 547–565. doi: 10.1177/0165551508092256.
Overman, E. Sam , and Anthony G. Cahill . 1990. ‘Information Policy: A Study of Values in the Policy Process’. Policy Studies Review 9 (4): 803–818.
Reidenberg, Joel R. 2000. ‘Resolving Conflicting International Data Privacy Rules in Cyberspace’. Stanford Law Review 52 (5): 1315. doi: 10.2307/1229516.
Relyea, Harold C. 2008. ‘Federal Government Information Policy and Public Policy Analysis: A Brief Overview’. Library & Information Science Research 30 (1): 2–21. doi: 10.1016/j.lisr.2007.11.004.
Rowlands, I. 1996. ‘Understanding Information Policy: Concepts, Frameworks and Research Tools’. Journal of Information Science 22 (1): 13–25. doi: 10.1177/016555159602200102.
Sawyer, Steve , and Howard Rosenbaum . 2000. ‘Social Informatics in the Information Sciences: Current Activities and Emerging Directions’. Informing Science 3 (2): 89–89.
Trist, Eric L. 1981. ‘The Sociotechnical Perspective’. In Perspectives in Organizational Design and Behavior , edited by Andrew H. Van de Ven and William F. Joyce . New York: Wiley.
US Environmental Protection Agency. 2015. ‘Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program’. Accessed July 27 .
US Federal Trade Commission. 2013. ‘Credit and Your Consumer Rights’.
US Securities and Exchange Commission. 2015. ‘Researching Public Companies Through EDGAR: A Guide for Investors’. Accessed July 27 .
Weingarten, Fred W. 1989. ‘Federal Information Policy Development: The Congressional Perspective’. In United States Government Information Policies: Views and Perspectives , edited by Charles R. McClure , Peter C. Hernon , and Harold C. Relyea , 77–99. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing.
Western Australia Department of Health. 2014. ‘Information Lifecycle Management Policy’.
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