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Privatization of Public Information




Topic downloaded from the WELL regarding access to public records. 
Captured 1/27/92 
 
Topic 296:  Access to Public Records - Protect It or Loose It 
By: Jim Warren (jwarren) on Sun, Jan 26, '92 
     2 responses so far 
 
 The information industry is aggressively pursuing costly
privitization of 
 access to public data that was collected at great
taxpayer-expense.  They 
 have a major presence in Washington and high-powered, big-bux
lobbyists. 
 
2 responses total. 
 
Topic 296:  Access to Public Records - Protect It or Loose It 
#  1: Jim Warren (jwarren)      Sun, Jan 26, '92  (18:02)      14
lines 
 
   This concerns efforts to save public access to public records
-- and 
 special-interest lobbying to functionally-limit such access only
to those 
 who can and will pay premium, for-profit fees to access/use public

 information -- data collected and computerized at great taxpayer
expense 
 and, often, demanded by government agencies under penalty of law.

   This message was forwarded from Apple's library guru, Steve
Cisler, and is 
 posted in his absence with his permission.  (You are free to copy
and repost 
 this, far and wide.) 
--More--[Press space to continue, 'q' to quit.]  
 If we care about access to the information we've already paid for,
we need to 
 *promptly* write our federal representatives and the President,
urging 
 broad-based, *at-cost* public-access to public records -- and we
need to 
 vehemently oppose high-profit monopoly of public information. 
   Use it or loose it. 
 
Topic 296:  Access to Public Records - Protect It or Loose It 
#  2: Jim Warren (jwarren)      Sun, Jan 26, '92  (18:03)     107
lines 
 
 From sac@taurus.apple.com Fri Jan 17 14:15:18 1992 
 To: well!jwarren@taurus.apple.com 
 Subject: Owens Bill v. PRA 
  
 >Date:         Fri, 17 Jan 1992 10:07:40 CST 
 >Reply-To: Public-Access Computer Systems Forum
<PACS-L@UHUPVM1.BITNET> 
 >Sender: Public-Access Computer Systems Forum
<PACS-L@UHUPVM1.BITNET> 
 >From: James P Love <LOVE@PUCC.BITNET> 
 >Subject:      Owens Bill v. PRA 
 >To: Multiple recipients of list PACS-L <PACS-L@UHUPVM1> 
 >----------------------------Original
message---------------------------- 
 >The attached letter to Representative John Conyers describes the
Owens 
--More--[Press space to continue, 'q' to quit.] >bill (HR 3459),
including a comparison with the proposed reauthorization 
 >of the Paperwork Reduction Act. 
 > 
 >The letter was signed by Joan Claybrook, President of Public
Citizen; 
 >Marc Rotenberg, Director of the Washington Office of Computer 
 >Professionals for Social Responsiblity; and James Love, Director,

 >Taxpayer Assets Project. 
 >                                             January 14, 1992 
 >Congressman John Conyers, Jr. 
 >U.S. House of Representatives 
 >Washington, DC 20515 
 > 
 >Dear Representative Conyers: 
 >     We are writing to express our support for H.R. 3459, the 
 >Improvement of Information Access Act (IIA Act), introduced by

 >Representative Major Owens (D-NY).  This bill would greatly
broaden 
 >access to public information.  Specifically, the IIA Act would
require 
 >federal agencies to: 
 >1.   use depository libraries, national computer networks, and

 >     distribution channels that improve public access to
government 
 >     information; 
 >2.   disseminate information in useful modes and through
appropriate 
--More--[Press space to continue, 'q' to quit.] >     outlets, with
adequate documentation, software, indexes, or other 
 >     resources that will broaden public access to government 
 >     information; 
 >3.   disseminate information products and services in
standardized 
 >     record formats; 
 >4.   provide notice and comment of agency plans to discontinue

 >     information products or services; 
 >5.   issue an annual report which describes new information
products and 
 >     services, efforts of the agency to develop or implement
standards 
 >     for file and record formats, software query command
structures, and 
 >     other matters that make information easier to obtain and
use, and 
 >6.   receive annual public comment on the types of information
the 
 >     agency collects and disseminates, the methods and outlets
the 
 >     agencies uses to store and disseminate information, and the
prices 
 >     charged by agencies or its outlets for the information, as
well as 
 >     the usefulness of the information. 
 >7.   Except where specifically authorized by statute, agencies
would not 
 >     be permitted to charge more than the incremental costs of

 >     disseminating an information product or service; or charge
any 
 >     royalty or other fee for any use or redissemination of
government 
 >     information. 
 >8.   The Archivist of the United States and the National
Institute of 
--More--[Press space to continue, 'q' to quit.] >     Standards and
Technology would jointly develop and issue model 
 >     performance standards for access to public records. 
 > 
 >As you know, the Improvement of Information Access Act (IIA Act),

 >addresses some of the issues which were raised in the legislation
you 
 >sponsored in 1990 (H.R. 3695) that would have reauthorized the
Paperwork 
 >Reduction Act (PRA).  The IIA is an attempt to build upon many
of the 
 >good features of that legislation, while avoiding some areas that
have 
 >been of concern to library and data user groups.  Among the key

 >differences between the two bills: 
 >1.   The IIA Act would limit agency prices for information
products 
 >     _and_ services, while the PRA reauthorization would limit
prices 
 >     only for information products. 
 >2.   The IIA Act would require annual public notice for a wide
range of 
 >     issues of concern to data users, while the PRA legislation
would 
 >     only require public notice on issues that triggered
privatization 
 >     concerns. 
 >3.   Compared to the PRA reauthorization, the IIA Act would
broaden 
 >     agency dissemination responsibilities, by encouraging the
use of 
 >     national computer networks, and standardized file formats
and query 
 >     structures. 
 >4.   The IIA Act would restrict OMB's ability to promote
privatization 
--More--[Press space to continue, 'q' to quit.] >     through
instruments like OMB's Circular A-130, and it would not 
 >     strengthen OMB's role in federal information policy making. 
This 
 >     is an important point, since OMB is hardly an agency that
has 
 >     demonstrated a commitment to wider public access to
government 
 >     information. 
 > 
 >We see the IIA Act as a thoughtful attempt to balance the
legitimate 
 >needs of end-users, libraries, and commercial data vendors.  In
fact, 
 >the Information Industry Association (IIA) has already indicated
to its 
 >membership that the IIA Act is consistent with its information

 >principles. 
 > 
 >We urge you to support the IIA Act, which would provide every
federal 
 >agency with a carefully designed mandate to modernize information

 >dissemination programs. 
 > 
 >Sincerely 
 > 
 >Joan Claybrook                     Marc Rotenberg 
 >President,                         Director, Washington Office

 >Public Citizen                     Computer Professionals for 
 >                                   Social Responsibility 
--More--[Press space to continue, 'q' to quit.] >James Love 
 >Director, 
 >Taxpayer Assets Project 
 --------forwarded from----------- 
 Steve Cisler, Apple Library 
 10381 Bandley Dr. MS8C, Cupertino, CA 95014 
 voice: 408 974 3258   sac@apple.com 
 
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