Reading between the lines

The comment period recently closed on the proposed revisions to the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A130 the central rule for federal information system management to bring it into accord with the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Electronic Freedom of Information Act amendments and the ClingerCohen Act. It is clearly the intent of Congress to ensure public access to information about agency activities.

The comment period recently closed on the proposed revisions to the Office

of Management and Budget's Circular A-130 — the central rule for federal

information system management — to bring it into accord with the Paperwork

Reduction Act, the Electronic Freedom of Information Act amendments and

the Clinger-Cohen Act. It is clearly the intent of Congress to ensure public

access to information about agency activities.

Revisions to Circular A-130 are long overdue, as they incorporate statutory

changes or requirements dating back to 1995 and 1996. However, there are

some odd commissions and omissions in the proposed revisions.

In a section intended to bring Circular A-130 into accord with the PRA's

and EFOIA's requirements for creating inventories of agency systems, OMB

added the language, "an inventory of the agency's other information systems,

such as personnel and funding (at the level of detail that the agency determines

is most appropriate for its use in managing the agency's information resources)."

Section 3506 of the PRA requires agencies to "maintain a current and

complete inventory of the agency's information resources, including directories

necessary to fulfill the requirements of [the Government Information Locator

Service] section 3511 of this chapter." Is OMB intending to signal agencies

that they can very narrowly limit these requirements?

The language becomes more disturbing when it is read together with Section

8a(5), the proposed revision outlining agency compliance with the EFOIA

amendments' requirements that "an agency must place its index and description

of major information systems and record locator systems in its reference

material or guide."

OMB states that this index and description would include "any...major

information and record locator systems the agency has identified." Does

this mean that if any agency has not bothered to "identify" an information

or record locator system, it does not have to include them?

This language, taken with the revisions above, may encourage agencies

to continue failing to comply with the requirements of the PRA, the EFOIA

amendments and the Clinger-Cohen Act.

OMB has conspicuously failed to include Section 5403 of the Clinger-Cohen

Act, which requires that "if in designing an information technology system

pursuant to this division, the head of an executive agency determines that

a purpose of the system is to disseminate information to the public, then

the head of such executive agency shall reasonably ensure that an index

of information disseminated by such system is included in the directory

created pursuant to section 4101 of title 44, United States Code."

The code requires the superintendent of documents, under the direction

of the public printer, to "maintain an electronic directory of federal

electronic information."

Complying with these requirements isn't easy, but the seeming intent

of OMB to encourage partial or full noncompliance with the law is unacceptable.

—McDermott is an information policy analyst with OMB Watch, a government

watchdog group in Washington, D.C.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.