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Your Recommendations for Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities of Technology

The Declassification Policy Forum has been an unprecedented opportunity for the public to provide recommendations for revisions to Executive Order 12958, as amended, "Classified National Security Information."  We welcome your comments on all four topics (Declassification Policy, Creating a National Declassification Center, Classification Policy, and Technology Challenges and Opportunities) until Sunday, July 19, 2009.  The Public Interest Declassification Board will use your comments in formulating their recommendations to the National Security Advisor the week of July 20, 2009.  This letter will be made available on the Declassification Policy Forum.     
Admittedly, the topic of Technology Challenges and Opportunities was our most ambitious topic for the Declassification Policy Forum.  We acknowledge that participation in this topic is greatly enhanced with an understanding of the challenges of electronic records within the context of the current classification and declassification systems.  We are glad to see 15 thoughtful comments on this topic.  It is clear that this should be the beginning of an ongoing discussion if we are to leverage the full potential of the electronic environment, while mitigating the challenges.  Here are a few of your recommendations:
  • Declassifiers should embrace technology, the reviewing of electronic records, and all of the challenges posed by the electronic environment.
  • Declassifiers should be able to communicate on a classified network.  There should be a Facebook for declassifiers so referrals can be easily mitigated.
  • A National Declassification Center should be designed for the work of electronic records. 
  • A National Declassification Center and the National Archives should encourage the transfer of electronic records from agencies. 
  • The Government should leverage the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) environment, which could address many challenges, including management of the entire lifecycle of information.
  • Electronic records management must be a priority, otherwise historically significant records will be lost. 
  • Content should be the basis for evaluation of whether the electronic record is historically significant, not the format. 
  • Delaying the declassification of electronic records (and therefore public access) for an unspecified length of time because of format is unacceptable. 
  • The sharing of information can be greatly enhanced with an "underground web layer" to the Internet that would use Internet protocols that can only be read by those who have legitimate authority to access information.
Public Interest Declassification Board Support Staff